James 1:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 1:6, NIV: "But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."

James 1:6, ESV: "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind."

James 1:6, KJV: "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."

James 1:6, NASB: "But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind."

James 1:6, NLT: "But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind."

James 1:6, CSB: "But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind."

What does James 1:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, James revealed an amazing promise. The God who created the universe will give wisdom to all who ask Him for it. He doesn't give it based on our worthiness, but based only on our request. Why? As James made clear in verses 2 through 4, God wants His children to trust Him, and He is ready to reward evidence of our trust in Him. One such evidence is asking Him for wisdom when we don't know what to do.

But there is a condition attached to this promise: We must believe and not doubt. In other words, God wants us to come to Him convinced both that He is the one true source of wisdom, and that the wisdom He gives is trustworthy. He wants us to be ready to act on it. The person who doubts Gods' wisdom or willingness to give it is unlikely to accept what God gives him. He she will consult other sources, looking for a second opinion, spiritually speaking. In James' day, those sources may have included false idols. Our modern day has its own share of worthless sources for wisdom: false teachers, pop culture, celebrities, and so forth.

The person who doubts God's wisdom, James writes, is like a wave in a wind storm. Who knows where he will end up? He's at the mercy of whichever breeze happens to blow the strongest in that moment.