James 1:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 1:3, NIV: "because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

James 1:3, ESV: "for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness."

James 1:3, KJV: "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."

James 1:3, NASB: "knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."

James 1:3, NLT: "For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow."

James 1:3, CSB: "because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance."

What does James 1:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verses 2, 3, and 4 need to be considered together in order to fully grasp the point James is making. In the previous verse, he has written that believers must call it joy when trials come our way. Or, to put it more bluntly, we should see the good side of bad things happening to us. Verse 2 uses an accounting term, which has nothing to do with our emotions. We might feel sorrow or anger over our trials, but we can still tally them under "joy."

Here in verse 3, James gives the beginning of his answer to why God would ask us to do that. In short, it's about faith. It's about trusting God. God wants us to respond to trials—to the hard things in our lives—in a way that demonstrates our trust in Him. A major theme of the book of James is that God cares deeply about our faith in Him. Faith, a trusting, humble reliance on God, is how we came into relationship with Him in the first place. That is how we come to trust in Christ for our salvation. And a Christian's growing faith in God is evidence of a growing relationship with Him.

So, James says that when a trial or hardship comes our way, we should label that moment as joyful because it will test our faith. By definition, a trial creates a moment where we don't know how things will work out. A trial wrecks our plans. A trial takes away our ability to see the clear path to getting what we think will make us happy. It is in those moments that we make life's most critical choices. Either we will decide, "If God let this happen to me, I will not trust Him. If He will not prevent days like this, I will find someone else to trust." Or, the struggle will push us to turn to God for more help, to trust more deeply that He is with us and for us, to believe that He will carry us through.

When we choose to trust Him, He provides. Our endurance—the ability to keep trusting Him while trials continue unresolved—grows. And since our faith is the most important thing to our God, that is worth rejoicing.