Under Covenant, James asked Israel a rhetorical question: Can faith alone save you? His answer was NO!
James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
James 2:17 ...faith, if it hath not works, is dead...
Under Grace, Paul answers the same question (Can faith alone save you?) with a resounding YES! Unlike James, the apostle Paul says faith must be by itself in order to save.
Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Do you see the difference?
According to James, faith WITH works is what saves.
According to Paul, faith with OUT works is what saves.
James says salvation is faith plus self.
Paul says salvation is "not of yourselves".
While the bible does contain contradictory information, the bible does NOT contradict itself.
James is simply not talking to us, Gentiles under grace, but rather to the the twelve tribes of Israel under law.
Notice how he opens his letter:
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting." (James 1:1).
James wrote instructions to "the twelve tribes" with no Gentiles in sight.
Who did Christ commission to write to us?
Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
Always remember that...