James 4:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 4:12, NIV: There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:12, ESV: There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:12, KJV: There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

James 4:12, NASB: There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you, judging your neighbor?

James 4:12, NLT: God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

James 4:12, CSB: There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

What does James 4:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Few people are more eager to judge others than those who are struggling to do right themselves. In the previous verse, James insisted that to speak against and judge our neighbors is to make ourselves judges of God's Law itself. It's not our job. This is especially true because, as James wrote in verse 6, God gives us more grace in response to our sin. For us—Christian believers who are forgiven only by God's grace—to try to make ourselves arrogant judges of other people's sin is an extreme form of hypocrisy.

Here, James makes it clear that God is the only Lawgiver and the only Judge. He is the only one able to save or destroy. If we mean to have our works judged by the Old Testament Law, the Judge will destroy us as guilty sinners. If we mean to be forgiven by the Judge on the basis of His grace through faith in Christ, we will be saved. As people dependent on God's grace, we should not presume to pronounce any verdict against others based on our own judgment. What arrogance that would be!