James 2:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 2:5, NIV: Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

James 2:5, ESV: Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

James 2:5, KJV: Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

James 2:5, NASB: Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters: did God not choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

James 2:5, NLT: Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn't God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren't they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?

James 2:5, CSB: Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Didn't God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?

What does James 2:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

James still calls his Christian readers "beloved," though he is rebuking them for giving favor to rich people over those who are poor. He began this section by urging Christians not to show partiality, painting a picture of what illicit favoritism looks like in practice.

In the culture of these early Christians, it would be perfectly normal to give a wealthy man a place of honor at a gathering. It would be equally typical to expect a poor, dirty man to stand in the corner, or to sit on the floor. James insists, though, that our belief in Christ should change the way we treat everyone. We must not let the prejudice of culture, or the allure of money, to determine our standards.

In fact, demonstrating favoritism for the rich over the poor reveals that we don't really trust what we claim to believe. In this verse, James makes his point with a very specific question: Hasn't God chosen some who are poor in this life to be rich now in faith and rich forever in His kingdom? Isn't that the promise He makes to those who love Him?

Every Christian reading James's words should answer "yes." That's what we believe. But if that's what we believe, James asks, why don't we treat each other that way when we get together? Why don't we treat poor Christians with the same respect, honor, and attention we give to the wealthy ones?