James 2:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 2:22, NIV: You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

James 2:22, ESV: You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;

James 2:22, KJV: Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

James 2:22, NASB: You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;

James 2:22, NLT: You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.

James 2:22, CSB: You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was made complete,

What does James 2:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

James continues to make the case that genuine faith in God always leads to the believer obeying God. Having a false faith, one which is only intellectual, or pretended, results in a person not doing what God has called us to do. Having an actual, trusting, saving faith results in that believer participating in good works.

As seen in the previous verses, James's words complement Paul's teaching that we are saved through faith by God's grace. Both James and Paul agree that those who are saved through faith inevitably end up doing good works. The two, faith and works, cannot be separated. Only faith saves, a point James never questions. However, saving faith is the kind of trust which results in good works. Those who lack works prove that they lack saving faith.

James cited the example of Abraham's obedience to God, even when commanded to sacrifice his only son Isaac. He trusted God all the way through the moment where God said "stop," in Genesis 22. James asserted in verse 21 that Abraham was justified by his actions. Based on context, James is referring to a different kind of "justification" than Paul uses in passages such as Romans chapter 4. According to James, Abraham's faith saved him, but his actions—his works—demonstrated his faith in God. In this verse, James makes that all the more clear: Abraham's obedience showed his active, working faith.

In fact, his obedience completed, or "perfected" his faith. The Greek word is eteleiōthē, which literally means, "to carry through to the end," or "to complete." As James has been saying, the natural result of saving faith is good works. Works don't cause saving faith, but saving faith causes good works. Those with saving faith in God will act on that belief.