James 2:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 2:11, NIV: For he who said, 'You shall not commit adultery,' also said, 'You shall not murder.' If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

James 2:11, ESV: For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

James 2:11, KJV: For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

James 2:11, NASB: For He who said, 'DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,' also said, 'DO NOT MURDER.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but do murder, you have become a violator of the Law.

James 2:11, NLT: For the same God who said, 'You must not commit adultery,' also said, 'You must not murder.' So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.

James 2:11, CSB: For he who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder. So if you do not commit adultery, but you murder, you are a lawbreaker.

What does James 2:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

James continues his thought from the previous verse regarding the eternal consequences of sin. Whoever stumbles over any single command in God's Law is just as imperfect, and therefore guilty, as the one who breaks all of the commands in God's Law. Both have failed to keep the Law. Both are lawbreakers.

Now James drives the point home. Adultery? Murder? We might think of one as profoundly worse than the other. James says that's irrelevant when it comes to our salvation. Break either one of these commandments, and you are a lawbreaker. You are guilty. "But I didn't commit that other sin" is not a valid defense for the sins we do commit.

Paul wrote something very similar in Romans, but went a bit further: Everyone is a lawbreaker. Everyone has sinned and, by definition, fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). That's why we need for God to forgive us, to judge us according to Jesus' goodness and not our own. Paul's declaration that all have sinned continues in the next verse: "and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24)."

In the next verse, James will urge us to carry with us an awareness that we are all lawbreakers in need of God's mercy.