The book of James is written MORE from a practical point of view rather than a THEOLOGICAL point of view - that is one basic difference between Paul's book of Romans chapters 1-12 and the book of James as a whole. Secondly, James seems to be writing primarily to early churches that are primarily Jewish in membership, at least the majority, and therefore most likely written to the churches in Judea and Samaria or those churches referred to in Act 9:30. Thirdly, James section on justification is just another item in a list of items that James deals with throughout the book. The book of James was not written primarily to deal with or define soteriology and especially the doctrine of justification. It is rather breifly dealt with in passing. Fourth, James section on Justification is limited to one portion of one chapter not consisting over 13 verses (2:14-26) whereas, Paul deals with the doctrine of justification explicitly in Romans 3:10-5:1 and Galatians 2:16-3:11 with the sole design to define and defend it. The supposed problem of James 2:14-26 is simply a failure to consider the particulars that James spells out in no uncertain terms. Here is the text: 14 ¶ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. First, Begin where James begins! Where does james begin? Does he begin vertical between the justified and God "before God" as Paul does (Rom. 2:19-20; 4:1) or does he begin horizontal between profession toward men as James does? Here is the question that many simply choose to ignore because it does not serve their purpose for this text. Let's see; 14 ¶ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James is dealing with the PROFESSION of justification and its relationship to men by profession without action toward men that vindicates it. Is it not the ACTION toward men that James places before the reader as the VISIBLE evidence of real justifing faith rather than mere proffesion toward men? He is not dealing with the POSSESSION of justification and its relationship to God by faith as is Paul. Note the illustration first given by James (v. 15-16) as a horizontal application designed to define the visible evidence of true justification before the court of HUMAN OBSERVATION instead of mere lip service or what they "say." Many reading this post will simply pass over this and ignore it because it does not serve their purpose for this text. Some at this point are saying, well, what about verses 19-20, why don't you deal with those verses! Tell me, how shall we deal with them? Shall we deal with then in contradiction to the horizontal context of illustrations just stated in verses 17-18 or shall we deal with them by jumping from that context into a VERTICAL context no where stated or illustrated? Shall we depart from illustrations that obviously are designed to TEST the profession of justification before men by actions toward men rather than just words or shall we jerk it out of context and force it into a vertical context between the professor and God???? Here is where exegesis turns into eisgesis for those who suppose there is a problem between James and Paul. They simply refuse to recognize the different contexts and different applications by Paul and James. Here are the verses: 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Who is James addressing in verse 19? Is it not the one who has failed in the court of human observation, meaning, they have said much but done nothing TOWARD MEN?????? Come on, be honest with the text and preceding context. Don't worry about the verses that follow until we get to them!! What is "that faith" he refers to in verse 20 by context? Is it not the PROFESSION OF FAITH he has just illustrated in verses 17-18? The faith that only makes a PROFESSION TOWARD MEN but is WITHOUT ACTIONS TOWARD MEN! James identifies "works" as the visible evidence of true justification rather than mere lip service in the COURT OF HUMAN OBSERVATION not "before God" but before men. Come on, be honest! It is "that" kind of faith without the visible EVIDENCE of works before men that is like the faith of demons and which is dead. Furthermore, he is not talking about happenstance events but rather something that is CHARACTERISTIC of "that" faith as illustrated in verses 17-18. He uses the PRESENT TENSE of progressive continuous action. We will stop right here as that is enough to chew on before we go on to the illustrations given to distinguish between real geniune profession of faith versus "that" kind of faith.