James 2:21

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?”

King James Version (KJV)

Other Translations

Was not Abraham our father iustified by works, when hee had offered Isaac his sonne vpon the altar?
- King James Version (1611) - View 1611 Bible Scan

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
- New American Standard Version (1995)

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar?
- American Standard Version (1901)

Was not the righteousness of Abraham our father judged by his works, when he made an offering of Isaac his son on the altar?
- Basic English Bible

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
- Darby Bible

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
- Webster's Bible

Was it, or was it not, because of his actions that he was declared to be righteous as the result of his having offered up his son Isaac upon the altar?
- Weymouth Bible

Wasn't Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
- World English Bible

Whether Abraham, oure fadir, was not iustified of werkis, offringe Ysaac, his sone, on the auter?
- Wycliffe Bible

Abraham our father -- was not he declared righteous out of works, having brought up Isaac his son upon the altar?
- Youngs Literal Bible

Bible commentary

Wesley's Notes for James 2:21


2:21 Was not Abraham justified by works - St. Paul says he was justified by faith, #Rom 4:2|, &c.: yet St. James does not contradict him; for he does not speak of the same justification. St. Paul speaks of that which Abraham received many years before Isaac was born, #Gen 15:6|. St. James, of that which he did not receive till he had offered up Isaac on the altar. He was justified, therefore, in St. Paul's sense, (that is, accounted righteous,) by faith, antecedent to his works. He was justified in St. James's sense, (that is, made righteous,) by works, consequent to his faith. So that St. James's justification by works is the fruit of St Paul's justification by faith.


People's Bible Notes for James 2:21


Jas 2:21 Was not Abraham our father. The father of the Jewish race; also the father of all his children by faith. See Ga 3:7-9. Justified by works? By a faith which showed itself in works. This is the argument of James, that faith is of no avail unless accompanied by works. Of this all Abraham's life was a demonstration. He was told when in Mesopotamia to go forth into the land God would show him, and "he went out, not knowing where he was going" (Heb 11:8); an act of faith. "By faith he sojourned in the land of promise" (Heb 11:9). When he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Each of these acts of faith secured Divine approval, but the supremest trial was when he offered Isaac. See PNT "Heb 11:17". This victory of faith was followed by crowning approval and glorious promises.

Discussion for James 2

  • Jim
    Faith is action, not just talk but walk also, the Christian life is not fake or phony. a person can fool other people but you can not fool the All Mighty God.
  • A disciple
    Tamar; Faith without works, action, a conduct and course in life reflecting the word and grace put in the heart by God; faith without works is like a dead corpse. It is the spirit that animates the body with life; and so the body functions and continually works to maintain and support its life, but the spirit is the life. Thank you for your post! We are so blessed to have the Word of God!
  • Tamar
    I love the last verse faith without works is dead like a dead body when the spirit leaves it it's very important to have working faith in God amen.
  • A disciple
    Amen Sister; Its interesting too, that when we aren't in such a hurry to let everyone know everything we stand for as a Christian; that the Holy Spirit is well able to convict others by seeing our Christian conduct and character, without preaching! Then, when we do get a chance to speak with them, the Lord can freely speak through us because we have proven trustworthy in QUIETLY WALKING IN TRUTH.
  • Carolyn Rowe
    I have read this chapter before, but today, it has new meaning for me. I can see that I have been too judgmental in my thinking. If we profess faith, it should inspire love and a desire to do good to others. Our faith should be apparent in our walk even without an outward profession. faith and works together make a complete Christian.
  • Donna Cromb
    Verse 14: I had to think on faith without works and was led to the realization that he's talking about obedience! Saying I believe isn't enough, surrendering the will to God and obeying His will is true faith. For instance He said repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, yet some still think I few sprinkles as an infant will save them, or going to church Sunday and still sinning is ok.

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