James 2:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 2:9, NIV: But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

James 2:9, ESV: But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

James 2:9, KJV: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

James 2:9, NASB: But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the Law as violators.

James 2:9, NLT: But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.

James 2:9, CSB: If, however, you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

What does James 2:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

James now declares that to show favoritism to someone because of their wealth or power in society is, simply put, a sin. In doing so, we break the command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We become lawbreakers. James is clearly concerned that his readers understand how serious this issue of giving preferential treatment is. God cares deeply that His children refuse to judge each other based on the standards of the world. James's focus here was on showing favoritism to wealthy, powerful people, but the same can be said of discriminating based on race, gender, or other factors.

Within the community of Christians, there must be no castes of people: we are not to divide the world into levels or ranks of human beings. As Paul wrote in Colossians 3:11, "Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all."

This teaching was one of the reasons Christianity attracted so many people so quickly. The world was dominated by the Roman caste system that defined the relative value of every person. The idea that in Christ everyone is of equal value in the eyes of God and the eyes of His children was revolutionary. It's essential that Christians show each other that we genuinely believe this is true.