In Theology


The Right Relationship Between Faith and Works (James 2:14-26)

*(The following was originally a research paper of mine from October of 2018 which has been adapted for this blog post)

Understanding the relationship between faith and works is an important study as it influences how we view the anatomy of faith. What is the right relationship between saving faith and works? To make this more specific, our focus will pertain primarily to the perspective of James in the pericope of James 2:14-26. The idea will be defended that the right relationship between faith and works is that saving faith will prove itself to be true by producing works of obedience and compassion; showing an inseparable bond between the two. To successfully accomplish this task, this article will include a definition of terms; an exegetical interaction with James 2:14-26; reframing Paul as complementarian to James; and a contemporary application of this research.

Defining Terms

It will be demonstrated that James’s contribution provides clarity to the lexical definitions behind terms such as “faith” and “works.” Especially when the two terms are attempting to be reconciled (or when they are unfortunately pitted against each other). Regrettably, most of the conversation has been overly simplified due to a lack of clarity on the terms. James’ terminology and handling of “faith” and “works” prove that the two concepts are in conjunction based on their immediate and even biblical usage. By representing the accurate, biblical, definitions of the keywords in the argument, we have a better foundation to frame the rest of the case. We start where all treatise seeking clarity should start, defining (or redefining) the primary terms involved in the conversation.

“Faith” and “works” are the most significant terms needing clarity for this discussion to move forward. Defining the central words at play is the fundamental foundation to having a mutual understanding of their intended usage. The evidence will follow after giving the brief definition of the words, which will be my own words in summarizing the research. It is a helpful reminder that these definitions are tailored towards James’ usage of them. Within the semantic range of the words, we are most concerned with how they are expended within the letter of James.[1]

Faith (Greek: pistis) is an allegiant trust that wholly leans on God but lives through our responsiveness to God’s revealed character.[2] Said simpler:

True faith is affectionate allegiance.

Using allegiance as part of my definition of faith may be foreign to some, so to provide more clarity, the English word allegiance is defined as “devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause.”[3] In this case, “devotion or loyalty to a person” is explicitly applied to a Christian’s devotion to King Jesus. This robust definition confronts the invalid definition of faith as some sort of mere intellectual acknowledgment and assent. This fits James’s immediate context but also the broader meaning of faith in terms of a Christian’s loyal trust. “Pistis… implies complete loyalty,” states Spicq and Ernest.[4] James’ audience claimed to have faith, but their definition was incorrect and needed to be revised by a more accurate explanation of faith. Faith as a loyal, allegiant trust is not only intellectual, it is relational—it binds the person possessing faith to the object of their faith (in the Christian’s case, to Christ). The definition (above) is a summary of what James goes on to describe—particularly in his case studies of Abraham and Rahab.

The second word needing defined clarity is works. Works (Greek: ergon) in James, are primarily acts of mercy that reflect God’s impartial heart to act compassionately toward the needy, dejected, and lower-class citizens of society. This type of works is not like Paul’s view of works—usually consisting of strict adherence to mosaic customs and law (which will be addressed further below). It is worth noting that James’ audience is a mixture of believing and non-believing Jews who all hold the Torah in high-esteem. The Old Testament’s perspective shows us that “works of mercy play a great role in Judaism.”[5] So, as it stands alone, “works,” according to James, is a godly person’s natural response to heed the word in obedience through action.

The Point of James 2:14-26 in Context

Within James’ letter, there is one passage that demands the utmost attention for our discussion, James 2:14-26. “Demonstrating the authenticity of faith is the primary focus of this section.”[6] This pericope confronts false claims of faith that are nothing more than empty words. James is criticizing those whose confession of faith is empty because it is empty in terms of compassion and empty in terms of conviction. And in this section, it will be argued that, according to James, saving faith and works are visible together and inseparable; as they cannot stand on their own. There is an intrinsic connection in which saving faith yields works of mercy and obedience.

The front-ended question in verse fourteen is held together in a compact inclusio, since verse sixteen also ends with a similar question. The two-fold question of verse fourteen is simple, what benefit or advantage (Greek: ophelos) is it for someone that claims to have “faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” As there is a two-fold question, there also seems to be a two-fold benefit to true, saving faith. True faith involves actions that are beneficial because they promote the flourishing of fellow brothers and sisters. This kind of faith is saving faith. It is not that the works are earning merit in salvation, but they are vindictive in our claim of possessing saving faith. Another way of asking this would be something like, “can that claim of faith stand to be true on the day of judgment when all is exposed?”

The inclusio of verses fourteen and sixteen are then summarized by the point in verse seventeen: “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”[7] Here James calls this kind of faith for what it is—counterfeit; useless; dead; lifeless.[8] At the end of James’ argument in this section he closes with a similar summary statement in verse 26: “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

To try to defend workless faith would be like someone pointing to a corpse in a casket and trying to defend that the corpse is a living person.

It is not that activity makes a human body come alive, rather, because the body is alive (animated by the person’s spirit) it is active. Just as activity affirms life, so also works affirm our profession of faith. The chronology is imperative: saving faith always precedes works; and saving faith always produces works. Chronology is also important in considering how James uses his historic example of Abraham.

James uses Abraham as a case study in demonstrating the exegetical argument of the right relationship between saving faith and works. Abraham is also the perfect candidate as he is widely recognized as the father of the Jewish people. So, whether the hearer was a Messianic Jew or not, their Jewish roots would be stimulated by the example of Abraham. Abraham comes onto the scene after James makes an abrupt, but potent, comment about the faith of demons. “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder” (2:19). All Jews held to a form of monotheism.[9] This was basic to the faith—there was only one true God. Regardless of there being other spiritual powers who try to charade themselves to be “god” they do not actually rival Yahweh in any real respect. But as James points out, even the demons believe this fundamental truth. Implicit in this assertion is this shocking realization.

Demons intellectually acknowledge correct truths about God, without allegiant trust in God.

Demons have accurate doctrine, void of all devotion to God. The point in this brief assertion is that it is indeed possible to have faith (the kind that is correct in its intellectual assent), without possessing true saving faith (the kind that relationally trusts—and is devoted to—God). This is where Abraham makes his way into James’ argument, as an alternative to the debunked forms of faith—the dead and demonic kinds of belief. Again, the evangelistic overtones are ostensible:

“Which kind of faith do you have: Dead faith, Demonic faith, or Dynamic faith?”

Dead faith is lip service without life service. Demonic faith is doctrinal acknowledgment without heart devotion. Dynamic faith has a living pulse that is passionate and responsive to God. It would be like the kind of faith that enlivens the “new heart” and “new spirit” referenced in Ezekiel 36:26 (and undoubtedly foreshadowing the new covenant).

In verses 21 – 23 James makes a few comments about Abraham, which serves to cement his point. By calling Abraham “our father” (2:21) James is connecting with his audience, Messianic Jews or not, that this is the one they chase after in imitating and in following in the footsteps of what was promised to him. Interestingly, James reverse-engineers the completion of faith to its point of origin. James harkens back to the highlight of Abraham’s life in terms of obedience. In the narrative of Genesis 22, Abraham is to lay his only legitimate son (through whom would come all his offspring) on the altar in sacrifice to God. Abraham does everything from taking the journey, to lifting the knife, ready to slaughter the very child that possessed his hope, dreams, promises, and paternal affection. At that moment, the Lord stopped Abraham and told him he had passed the test. James’s commentary on this well-known passage in the Hebrew Bible reveals that this was the moment Abraham’s faith was completely validated. Abraham proved that his faith was not superficial when he showed God that he trusted Him even when it went against everything he had hoped for. This is dynamic faith, the kind that saves because it trusts God with no reservations.

In essence, dynamic faith is the kind that (metaphorically) signs the waiver that God can have His way in our heart as He does the heart surgery needed to forge godly immortality into us, restoring us to our calling as image-bearers and our relationship with Him.

James goes from the pinnacle demonstration of faith to the point of origin of faith when Abraham was first declared righteous because of his trust in God. James 2:23b (a paraphrase of Genesis 15:6) states: “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” James uses the latter part of Abraham’s life (the willingness to sacrifice Isaac) first to communicate the completion, or, “intended end,” of Abraham’s faith.[10] It was because of Genesis 22 that the initial declaration of faith in Genesis 15 proved to be valid and come to a higher form of maturity.

The word for “believed” in James 2:23 is the aorist active indicative of the Greek word pisteuō, which is the verbal form of the word “faith” (Greek: pistis). It is presented as a snapshot of Abraham’s life-changing moment when he gave God what is sacred to us—his total trust. Although the word itself can be used for more shallow meanings of trust (such as intellectual acknowledgment), the context reveals that it is much more than that. Abraham’s belief credited him as “righteous” in God’s eyes. The chronology is key. Abraham was already “saved” back in Genesis 15:6 when he “believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.” He was “justified” by trusting in God and His promise! However, James quotes Abraham later in life (10+ years later!). There was over a decade gap between Abraham’s proclamation of faith (Genesis 15) and his demonstration of faith (Genesis 22). The point? Often our faith has to grow and mature to a time when it really blossoms into that “dynamic faith” that James praises. As earlier defined, “faith” conveys total trust and has notes of allegiance. One of the world’s premiere Greek-English lexicons gives one of the definitions of pisteuō as “to entrust oneself to an entity in complete confidence… [with the] implication of total commitment to the one who is trusted.”[11] 

As God revealed Himself to Abraham, he responded with genuine trust, a handing over of his heart. And then God declared him to be righteous and in right relationship Him. Despite the inevitable sin that would follow in Abraham’s life, and despite his faith lacking maturity, God’s heart is to justify those who trust Him long before they can even prove their allegiance (or before they are even able to). Genesis 15 and 22 may only be separated by seven chapters in the Bible, but this was many years apart. Abraham was justified before God by his faith prior to Isaac even being born. Isaac had to be at least an able young man before the test of his faith came.

Clearly there is a progression of growth that comes with our loyal trust towards God, and so was the case with Abraham. But this does not negate that Abraham was legitimately declared righteous (justified) back in Genesis 15:6. Abraham was responsible for actively giving the Lord his trust; the Lord was responsible for justifying him on the grounds of faith. Abraham’s justification took place chronologically prior to any demonstration or works of faith, but the faith eventually is shown forth that it was genuine in cultivating even a moral transformation in Abraham where he was able to demonstrate the authenticity of his faith through his actions in Genesis 22.

James and Paul use “justify” to refer to different things. Paul refers to the initial declaration of a sinner’s innocence before God; James to the ultimate verdict of innocence pronounced over a person at the last judgment. If a sinner can get into a relationship with God only by faith (Paul), the ultimate validation of that relationship takes into account the works that true faith must inevitably produce (James).[12] In other words, if the seed really has been planted, time will show it to be if it produces a tree.

The reference to Rahab thrown in after James already summarized his point seems unnecessary and spontaneous, but it actually adds value to our discussion. Abraham is held in high esteem by the Jews as the father of the Jewish nation. Rahab was not only a Gentile, but she was a prostitute! Prostitutes ranked with tax collectors among the lowest class of people of James’ day.[13] Some Jews would consider this to be a double rejection, as she was not part of God’s covenant people, and she was not abiding by God’s law. But this was not the end of her story as she converted. Her faith in the one true God (Joshua 2:9-11), further demonstrated by her allegiant actions in assisting the Israelite spies, justified her before God. Rahab was even graced with being part of the lineage of the Messiah (Matthew 1:5). Beyond the factors of being a Gentile and a prostitute, Rahab was a woman, and most women would not have equal standing with a man (which does not reflect God’s values, of course).

Even in James’s discussion about the necessity of works, it appears that the grace of God cannot help but ooze through the letter as Rahab is positioned next to Abraham in being examples of those who express living, breathing, authentic faith. The deeds of Rahab exemplify the “mercy” that triumphs over judgment (2:13) and effectively pull together these two sections (2:1–13 and 14–26) of James’ letter.[14] Abraham and Rahab, as case studies for James’ argument, prove that faith and deeds are not opposites but are actually inseparable. “Faith and deeds are opposite sides of our one relationship with God.”[15]

The exegetical observations from James inform us that there is an inseparable bond between faith and works. To try to divide these two is to miss the point.

Someone cannot have faith while the other has works (2:18); it is a false dichotomy. It is divorcing two things that were meant to be joined together.

The underpinning of James’ teaching is that relational union with Christ (faith), if it is genuine, will manifest itself through righteous activity. It is not about trying to quantify how much obedience or allegiance we should be manifesting; the attitude will breed the action. For James, it is more about testing the authenticity of faith versus fabricating it. The declaration of faith will inevitably produce a demonstration of faith.

Paul & James: Complementary, Not Contradictory

Often times Paul and James are pitted against each other as if they are siding on two different sides of a doctrinal statement. As we have already seen through the definition of terms, and through a brief exegesis of James 2:14-26, this is not the case. To make this even more clear, we will utilize some space to show how Paul and James complement each other in their explanations of the relationship between faith and works.

Like James, Paul uses Abraham as a case study in communicating his point; but with a different angle. Notice how Paul, in Romans 4:1-5, puts forth Abraham as an example of how to obtain a right relationship with God. The contextual argument is not concerned with the proper use of works, but the improper. The opponents of Paul were attempting to persuade the early Church that the Mosaic law had to be strictly adhered to as part of our justification. Clearly this is a different type of “works” from James’. Earlier in the flow of Paul’s argument, Romans 3:20, we see the assertion “by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” The law shows us our depravity, but it doesn’t provide our solution. Our hearts are corrupt and dead, unable to uphold our side of covenant relationship with God.

Abraham is a fascinating example for Paul to use because, ironically, Abraham was justified even before the law was given to Israel. Grant Osborne writes: “The message of the chapter is that God at all times (the old covenant as well as the new) centered his salvation on faith commitment to him.”[16] So, if justification by faith existed before the law, then it had to exist apart from the law. For Paul, the law is good (1 Timothy 1:8 and Romans 7:12), as it reflects righteousness. But the law cannot impute righteousness, only faith can (Romans 4:3 cf. Genesis 15:6); therefore, it is wrong to try to earn righteousness through adherence to the law. Humans will constantly fall short of God’s glory and standard (Romans 3:23) and that is why justification is a gift (Romans 3:24). It has been the hope even from the Old Covenant to have our spiritual DNA re-written; to be given a new heart that pleases God and is responsive to God (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26 and Jeremiah 24:7; 32:40).

Paul’s case study of Abraham emphasizes the beginning of faith (origin); James, the completion of faith (goal). Paul, the initiation into right-standing and relationship with God; James, vindication in our professed relationship with God. With a systematic approach towards Scripture, considering James, Paul, and even other biblical authors—it can be stated that righteous standing before God makes for a right relationship with God; and a right relationship with God makes for righteous living towards other human beings.

The short, but powerful letter to Titus helps cement the point that Paul and James are not at odds with one another. Two passages will suffice the point: Titus 1:16 and 3:5. Titus 1:16 talks about the false teacher who professes faith, but denies God by their works. To “profess to know God means to openly express faith, allegiance, and loyalty to God.”[17] Their alleged faith is proven to be a lie as their lifestyle reveals the contradiction of their confession. This sounds a lot like James’ view of “dead” faith (James 2:17, 26). Then in Titus 3:5, Paul states that God’s initiative of mercy preceded our salvation and even despite our works. The strong adversative “but” (Greek: alla) shows a stark contrast between mankind’s self-salvation attempts through works, and God’s great mercy to actually save.[18] The chronology here of mercy before works does not pose a problem for James; as Paul states that God’s mercy is the basis of our salvation, not our own efforts. It is after we are shown divine mercy that we are able to respond with demonstrations of mercy towards others. James is addressing an audience who claims to have faith, but it seems part of his audience still are dead in sin because they possess a dead faith. His rationale of the relationship between faith and works hopes to show his audience that those who truly have been saved by God’s mercy will demonstrate obedience acts of compassion; this in contrast to the numerous problems of partiality and selfish ambition his audience seems to have. Doug Moo, in his commentary on James, summarizes this section eloquently:

A more profitable approach is to compare the word “faith” in Paul with the phrase “faith alone” in James. The addition of “alone” shows clearly that James refers to the bogus faith that he has been attacking throughout this paragraph: the faith that a person “claims” to have (v. 14); a faith that is, in fact, “dead” (vv. 17 and 26) and “useless” (v. 20). This faith is by no means what Paul means by faith. He teaches that faith is a dynamic, powerful force, through which the believer is intimately united with Christ, his Lord. And since faith is in a Lord, the need for obedience to follow from faith is part of the meaning of the word for Paul. He can therefore speak of “the obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5) and say that it is “faith working through love” that matters in Christ (Gal. 5:6). This is exactly the concept of faith that James is propagating in this paragraph. Once we understand “faith alone,” then, as a neat summary of the bogus faith that James is criticizing, we can find no reason to expect that Paul would have any quarrel with the claim that “faith alone” does not justify.

A more profitable approach is to compare the word “faith” in Paul with the phrase “faith alone” in James. The addition of “alone” shows clearly that James refers to the bogus faith that he has been attacking throughout this paragraph: the faith that a person “claims” to have (v. 14); a faith that is, in fact, “dead” (vv. 17 and 26) and “useless” (v. 20). This faith is by no means what Paul means by faith. He teaches that faith is a dynamic, powerful force, through which the believer is intimately united with Christ, his Lord. And since faith is in a Lord, the need for obedience to follow from faith is part of the meaning of the word for Paul. He can therefore speak of “the obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5) and say that it is “faith working through love” that matters in Christ (Gal. 5:6). This is exactly the concept of faith that James is propagating in this paragraph. Once we understand “faith alone,” then, as a neat summary of the bogus faith that James is criticizing, we can find no reason to expect that Paul would have any quarrel with the claim that “faith alone” does not justify.[19] 

It is like when a doctor goes to see two different patients with two very different pieces of advice. To the first one he says: “Stop moving around, you need to rest!” To the second one he says: “Start moving, you need to exercise more!” Is the doctor contradicting himself? No. The first patient had knee surgery and needed to keep pressure off of his leg. The second patient was having heart issues due to a sedentary lifestyle and so he needed to exercise and move more. Different patients, different problems, different treatments. When understood properly, Paul and James complement each other by diagnosing and treating two different audiences. 

A Contemporary Application

There are three types of faith that are uncovered in this passage: dead faith (characterized by apathy and callousness towards a neighbor); demonic faith (characterized by acknowledgment without allegiance or affection towards God); and dynamic faith (characterized by a responsive trust to God). These three types show forth how diverse a claim of faith can be, and how faith can be tested and proven genuine through the outworking of obedience. Dead faith was shown by the person who allegedly professes faith but has no actions that substantiate the claim (James 2:14-18). Demonic faith was swiftly stated as having proper doctrine but is absolutely void of devotion attached to it (James 2:19). Dynamic faith was shown through the case studies of Abraham and Rahab where the revelation of God’s character produced a belief that responded in obedient action (James 2:21-25).

Looking back to James’ illustrative example in 2:15-16, we see the case of the needy being overlooked by a fellow brother or sister.[20] Kurt Richardson explains this well: “The poor need more than mere words; so does the believer who needs the saving act and wisdom of God. A word of blessing without an act of blessing is like the promise of salvation without the saving act of God in Christ.”[21] It is not that God needs our good works for His own benefit or for some sort of good/bad spiritual scoreboard. Instead, our neighbor needs our good works. Our acts of compassion reveal the inner workings of the genuine reception and recognition of God’s compassion towards us, then through us for others.

Our compassionate works for our neighbors (those in our sphere reach) are to be compelled by altruistic motives of a transformed heart that is responsive to God’s heart. Just like workless faith being dead, it is equally counterfeit to express works with an agenda of earning favor with God. That isn’t compassion, that is coercion. It is attempting to coerce the grace of God towards us, as opposed to demonstrating grace out of affection. We are affected by the grace of God and then compelled towards compassion as a natural by-product of what we become through the implantation of the Holy Spirit inside of us.

Through our study, we arrive at the stunning conclusion that James is not proposing faith plus works for saving faith (a formula based on addition). Rather, faith—the kind of faith that naturally produces works—as true saving faith. Most cults who try to use the Bible towards their position mistake this text as an addition formula, with total disregard to James’ task theology. As was discussed, James unites faith and works as bonded together. In verse 18 James says that he will show his faith by his works (the means of demonstration). The works didn’t come to create faith, and the faith that exists does not reside without its partner—works.  Peter H. Davids, in his commentary on James, synopsizes this point: “Works are not an ‘added extra’ any more than breath is an ‘added extra’ to a living body. The so-called faith which fails to produce works (the works to be produced are charity, not the ‘works of the law’ such as circumcision against which Paul inveighs) is simply not ‘saving faith.’”[22] I also suggest heeding the words of the great Charles Spurgeon: “Faith and obedience are bound up in the same bundle. He that obeys God, trusts God, and he that trusts God, obeys God. He that is without faith is without works; and he that is without works is without faith. Do not oppose faith and good works to one another, for there is a blessed relationship between them.”[23]

How can we claim to be saved if we are not changed? The most rationale proof that one has been shown destiny-altering mercy is that they become merciful in their actions towards others. In agreement with Spurgeon, I summarize it this way:  Our confidence for our salvation is in Christ; our confirmation is in our gradual growth in Christ-likeness.


In conclusion, the right relationship between saving faith and works is summed up in that saving faith will prove itself to be true by producing works of obedience and compassion; showing an inseparable bond between the two. This proposition has been defended by examining the lexical information behind the key terms involved; surveying James’ argument in context; explaining how Paul and James complement each other; and even communicating a contemporary application of how to understand this truth. At this point, it should be clear that Christian doctrine is consistent, even when looking across the expanse of biblical authors. Although the New Testament letters each have different occasions that motivated their writing, the same Spirit was guiding the pen of these believers who sought out to communicate, and at times, clarify, the truth of God. Here we conclude with the confirmed realization that saving faith is never alone, it is accompanied by acts of compassion and/or obedience that validate the person’s claim and promote human flourishing.

May we be people of dynamic faith, which makes a practical difference in the world.

On the journey with you,

Brayden Rockne Brookshier

[1] Although I would argue that my definition of “faith” in accordance with James’ theology is actually is an accurate definition of faith in a broader sense within the biblical witness, and not exclusive to James. “Works” on the other hand has a clearly different usage than the kind of works Paul is confronting.

[2] Cf. “When discussing salvation in generalized terms, allegiance is a better overarching English-language term for what Paul intends with his use of the pistis word group than the more customary faith, belief, and trust.” Matthew W. Bates, Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017), 78-79. Cf. also: “Luke alerts readers that faith is expressed in allegiance to God’s will.” James R. Edwards, The Gospel according to Luke, ed. D. A. Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos, 2015), 58.

[3] “Allegiance” in Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

[4] Ceslas Spicq and James D. Ernest, Theological Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994), 114.

[5] Walter Grundmann and Georg Bertram, ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964), 545.

[6] Kurt A. Richardson, James, vol. 36, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997), 128.

[7] All Scripture quotes are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).

[8] “In Jas 2:17–26, the parallel expression to dead is ἀργή (v. 20, ‘useless, unfruitful’), which provides the key to interpretation. According to v. 26, faith without works is as dead as a body without the spirit that animates it and that makes life possible (→ πνεῦμα). A faith that does not manifest itself as faith through acts of love is dead (v. 17); i.e., it is worthless and ineffective for salvation, or does not save in the final judgment (v. 14).” Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990), 461.

[9] Ancient Jewish monotheism had both a unitarian and a binitarian form (as evidenced in the “two powers in heaven” theology, which was only condemned as heresy in the second century only after Christians had used this as a theological channel towards trinitarian theology). For more see Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 132–134, 148, 252.

[10] Chris Vlachos, James (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament). B&H Publishing Group, 2013, Kindle Locations 3426-3427.

[11] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 817.

[12] Douglas J. Moo, The Letter of James, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2000), 141.

[13] Kurt A. Richardson, James, vol. 36, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997), 142.

[14] William Varner, James, ed. H. Wayne House, W. Hall Harris III, and Andrew W. Pitts, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), 312.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Grant R. Osborne, Romans: Verse by Verse, Osborne New Testament Commentaries (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2017), 111.

[17] Daniel C. Arichea and Howard Hatton, A Handbook on Paul’s Letters to Timothy and to Titus, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1995), 280.

[18] Thomas D. Lea and Hayne P. Griffin, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, vol. 34, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 321.

[19] Moo, James, 141.

[20] Even more drastic, this illustration by James is not of a stranger, but of a fellow “brother or sister,” which likely was a member of the believing-body. This would be like hearing the news of a person from your local church congregation who fell into hardship and was not able to provide for their basic needs, and in response to hearing this, simply wishing them well. We would have the means to help their basic needs, but would be failing to participate in their aid. What is the point of our gathering to study the Bible and live as a faith community if we don’t even help our own kind? Is this an example of genuine faith? Absolutely not. This is James’ point in contemporary context.

[21] Richardson, James, 130–131.

[22] Peter H. Davids, The Epistle of James: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982), 122.

[23] C. H. Spurgeon, “The Necessity of Growing Faith,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 31 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1885), 478.


New Testament




The Right Relationship Between Faith and Works (James 2:14-26)

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