We dive into the first chapter of James tomorrow in General Epistles class. I thought I might try my hand at a somewhat "dynamic" translation:
James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are in the Diaspora. Greetings.
Whenever you chance upon different trials, my brothers and sisters, consider it to be pure joy. Do so because you know that the proving of your faith brings about endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, namely, that you become mature and whole--lacking in nothing.
And if one of you lacks wisdom in such a trial, ask from the God who gives genuinely to all and does not reproach someone for asking. Wisdom will be given to this person. But let them ask with faith and not be unsure if they really want the wisdom to endure through the trial. The person unsure in this case is like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and blown about.
Do not think that this type of person will receive anything from the Lord. These individuals have divided souls. They are unstable in all their ways.
But let the brother or sister humbled by trial boast in their exaltation. And let the rich who perecuted them boast in their humiliation, because they will pass away like a flower in a field. The sun rises with burning and dries out the grass and its blossum falls off and its attractiveness goes away. So also the wealthy will wither away in the middle of their pursuits.
Also blessed are those who endure another kind of testing, temptation. When they prove worthy they will receive the crown of life that has been promised to those who love God. Let no one say when they are tempted, "I am being tempted by God." God is not tempted to do evil things, and he himself tempts no one.
Rather, everyone is tempted by their own desires, as they are dragged away and trapped. Then when desire has become pregnant, it gives birth to sin. Then when sin is finished it gives birth to death.
Stop being deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters. Every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or changing shadow. As he desired he has given birth to us through the word of truth so that we might be a certain first harvest of his creations.
You should know, my beloved brothers and sisters, that every one must be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. For the anger of a man or woman does not bring about the same kind of righteousness that God will show on the Day of Judgment.
Therefore, put off all dirtiness and excess of wickedness in humility and receive the implanted word that is able to save your lives. Become doers of this word and not just hearers who are not thinking straight. If someone is a hearer of the word but not a doer, this person is like a man who would look at his face in a mirror, the face of his birth. But then after considering himself and going away, he immediately forgets what he looks like.
So the person who glances at the perfect law of freedom and continues to look at it, this person has not become a forgetful hearer but a doer of deeds. This kind of person will be blessed in what he or she will do.
If people think they show proper due to God but do not restrain their tongue and deceive their own heart, their worship is meaningless. Pure and blameless worship before God our Father looks like this: looking after orphans and widows who are in distress and keeping yourself uncorrupted by the world.