James 5:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 5:19, NIV: My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back,

James 5:19, ESV: My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back,

James 5:19, KJV: Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

James 5:19, NASB: My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you strays from the truth and someone turns him back,

James 5:19, NLT: My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back,

James 5:19, CSB: My brothers and sisters, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back,

What does James 5:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

James comes to the conclusion of his letter with a challenge to his readers: make an attempt to bring back those among you who have wandered from the truth. He refers to men and women who were once part of the Christian community who have lost their way. Perhaps he has in mind believers who became spiritually weak. Perhaps these were never true believers in Christ, at all, but merely part of the community. In either case, they've wandered away after false ideas.

James doesn't address how the faithful ones might accomplish this rescue, only that they should try. Even reaching out to someone who has wandered from God's truth, with grace and compassion, is sometimes enough to bring them back into the community. Certainly, James has encouraged prayer for each other, as well as a focus on meeting each other's practical needs for food and clothing.

In any case, the attempt to reach and restore these sinful wanderers should be made with great love and concern for their souls. James is not speaking of condemnation, judgment, or arrogance. He's speaking of a sincere interest—a loving effort—to help someone else.