The letter that James wrote
This page tells a bit more about the letter that James wrote
James was a young brother of Jesus and he wrote this letter about 20 years after Jesus went back to heaven. At that time James was a leader in the church in Jerusalem.
James wrote this message to the Christians in other churches at that time, and now it is a part of the Holy Bible. It tells us the way to be better Christians.
1 I am James. I work for God and for our leader, Jesus Christ. I write this letter to all God’s people that live in lots of places everywhere in the world. I hope you are all good and happy.
If you get trouble
2 Listen, my friends, if you get a lot of trouble because you are Christian, don’t get upset. No, you can be happy about it, because God is letting them test you to see if you believe in him properly.
3 He lets them do this to teach you to keep on trusting him all the time.
4 Then, after you learn that properly you will be really strong. You will not miss out on any of those things that make you a good Christian.
Ask God to help you do good
5 Whenever you want to properly understand what is the right thing to do, and you don’t know the way to stop doing bad things, just ask God to help you. He will not growl at you. He is happy if you ask him for help like this, and he will help you and make you think properly. He will make you think the right way so that you will not do those bad things any more.
6 But whenever you ask him you have to believe that he will answer you. Don’t think, “Maybe he will not listen to me.” No, don’t think like that. Anybody that thinks like that can’t stay strong. He is like a bit of dry grass – the wind just blows it around and it goes anywhere.
7-8 If you are like that – if you don’t know whether to follow God or not, it is like you are thinking 2 ways at the same time and you will not be sure about anything. If you are like that you can’t expect God to help you.
Poor people and rich people
9 Whenever a Christian doesn’t have much money, God thinks he is important. So that Christian can be happy.
10 And somebody that has a lot of money can be happy too, if God will take it all off him later. He is like a flower growing in the bush.
11 At first it looks good, but later the sun gets hot and that flower dries up, and it doesn’t look good any more. Well, people with a lot of money are like that. Later on, while they are still trying to get more things they will suddenly die, and they will not think about that money any more.
Keep on believing
12 If God lets people test you, to see if you trust him properly, don’t give up trusting him. After God sees that you keep on trusting him he will make you really happy, and he will give you a good prize – you will live for ever. He promised to do that for everybody that loves him.
What makes us do wrong?
13 Whenever you feel you want to do something that is wrong, don’t blame God and say that he is pushing you to do wrong just to try you out. No way. God never pushes anybody to do wrong, and nobody can trick God to make him do wrong.
14-15 If we only think about things we want for ourselves, and we don’t think about things God wants us to do, we are just tricking ourselves. We just think about whatever we want, and then we go ahead and do bad things. If we keep on doing that we will die.
God is good to us
16 Don’t let anybody trick you, my friends.
17 Everything that is really good comes from God in heaven. He made the sun, moon and stars up there in the sky that give us light. They make shadows that move and change around, but God never changes at all. He always gives us good things.
18 He wanted us to be his own relatives, so he sent his true word to us. And after we believed that word it was like we were born all over again. He says we are really special, we are his very own relatives.
Listen to God and do everything he says
19 My dear friends, you have to be ready to listen to other people, and you have to stop and think before you say anything yourself. Stop and think before you get angry, too.
20 If you are angry you can’t do the good things that God wants you to do.
21 So you have to stop doing everything that is dirty and wrong. You have to be good and gentle with people. You have to listen to that word from God which he put right inside you. That word will save you.
22 And don’t just listen to that word from God but you have to do everything it says too. If you don’t do the things it says you will just trick yourself.
23-24 Don’t be like a man that looks at his face in a mirror but then he just walks away and he forgets about it. He doesn’t do anything to make himself look any better. Well, if you hear God’s word but don’t do the things it says you are just like that man, because you forget that word and you don’t do anything to make yourself any better.
25 Don’t be like that. You have to listen to God’s word and keep thinking about it. Don’t forget it, but do everything it says. That word will make you free so that you will do everything God wants. And God will make you really happy whenever you do the things he wants you to do.
26 You might go to church and think you are pretty good, but if you can’t stop yourself from saying bad things, you are really just tricking yourself, and going to church for nothing.
27 God wants you to look after people that need help. He wants you to look after people that have no money to buy food, like kids that have no father or mother, or women whose husbands have died. If you do that kind of thing God will be happy with you. But if you are like the people in this world and do bad things to just look after yourself God will not be happy with you.