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Read Introduction to James


“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”



James ends his exhortation by drawing the inference that businessmen cannot plead ignorance once they understand divine viewpoint.  They knew they must depend on God’s will in their business but they chose not to do so. 

to him who knows to do good

The businessmen of James cannot plead ignorance of God’s sovereign plan for their businesses, for God previously exposed them to the principle of dependence on God in all things.  The word “knows” means to have a settled knowledge of something, not knowledge in the process of learning. 

The word “good” portrays what is qualitatively good, worthy of honor, upright, morally excellent.  “Good” connotes the intrinsically good — goodly, fair, beautiful, excellent, surpassing, suitable, honorable, praiseworthy.  It can adapt to circumstances and purposes.  The “good” circumstance here is the good of operating in the will of God

2 Co. 8:21, “…providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”

Ga. 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”


Knowledge of God’s principles implies the responsibility to apply truth to experience.


The sin of pretension of knowing God’s will and not doing it is a presumptuous sin.  Knowledge of God’s Word without applying it to experience will eventually distort even our knowledge of it.  It is possible to cauterize our soul by dabbling in divine truth.  Knowledge of divine viewpoint will not benefit us unless we answer it with practice. 

Jn 13:17, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”