Unpopular conclusion but popular translation

James 2:26 isn’t a very popular verse with advocates of the faith-only doctrine. But regardless of how translators may feel about the conclusion (to their detriment), none have the nerve (to their credit) to change what it says. As a matter of fact, nearly all major (and minor) translations say the same thing when it comes to the verse in question.

Per Bible Hub, here is how 25 translations handle James 2:26:

  • As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (NIV)
  • Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. (NLT)
  • For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (ESV)
  • As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (Berean Study Bible)
  • For just as the body apart from spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (Berean Literal Bible)
  • For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (NASB)
  • For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (KJV)
  • For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
  • For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without actions is also dead. (International Standard Version)
  • For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (NET)
  • For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead. (New Heart English Bible)
  • Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
  • A body that doesn’t breathe is dead. In the same way faith that does nothing is dead. (GOD’S WORD® Translation)
  • For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (NASV 1977)
  • For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (Jubilee Bible 2000)
  • For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (King James 2000 Bible)
  • For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (American King James Version)
  • For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead. (ASV)
  • For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead. (Douay-Rheims Bible)
  • For as the body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (Darby Bible Translation)
  • For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead. (ERV)
  • For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (Webster’s Bible Translation)
  • For just as a human body without a spirit is lifeless, so also faith is lifeless if it is unaccompanied by obedience. (Weymouth New Testament)
  • For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead. (World English Bible)
  • for as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also the faith apart from the works is dead. (YLT)

After reading all of those translations, I get the feeling that the translation of faith-only isn’t as a popular as the doctrine.

If what James was saying is that clear in a foreign language, then all who speak English should be responsible enough to clearly repeat James’ point – faith alone does nothing for an individual’s relationship with God.

#bible-translations, #faith-alone, #faith-only, #james