Book of James

Lesson Three

James 1:19-27

Hearing and Doing the Word


19  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:


(And this is where many people go wrong. They get everything turned around and spend all their time speaking, and very little time listening. In James 3:1 we are told to that we should not strive to be "masters". This word literally means "instructor". God is telling us in both verses that we need to do a lot more listening then we do talking. A God called teacher is not someone who "wants" to teach. We have a lot of them. But most have not done any listening and so they are teaching what they "think" or "feel", but not what God says. A true God called teacher is someone who never saw it coming. They listened, they studied, they learned, and they lived God's Word, and then one day, they woke up and God had put them into a teaching situation. Now, it is time for them to share, to impart onto others what God has taught them. Be very careful who you listen to. Make sure they have been approved by God.)


20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.


(And then the second thing that is mentioned in these verses is "slow to wrath". What does "wrath" have to do with listening and talking? Well, a word study of the word "wrath" here will clarify the matter. In these verses, "wrath" literally means, "desire, as excitedly reaching for something... violent passion...anger". So in verse nineteen, God is saying to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to passionately desire something to the point it brings out violent and anger actions. And in verse twenty we are told that this type of desire will not exalt the righteousness of God. Be patient, let God direct you in the direction He wants. Let God develop His gifts in you, and then let Him open up the doors He wants you to go through.)


21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity (abundance) of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.


(Any time you see the word "wherefore" at the beginning of a verse, you must look to the previous verses to see what it is there for. In this case, we need to lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness BECAUSE, this wrath (ungodly desires) do not bring forth God's righteousness. Remember, when you see the word "wherefore", look to see what it's there for. And then the second part of verse twenty-one tells us to let God's word become part of us to the point it saves our souls. If you remember from lesson one, this letter was written to the Twelve Tribes of Israel...not to the Church. So James is literally talking about salvation in the later part of this verse. It is God's Word that brings about salvation, and only God's Word. Read Romans 10:17)


22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.


(If you are not "living" God's Word, you are only a hearer and you are deceiving yourself. This brings us to another point. In verse nineteen we are told to be swift to "hear", but in verse twenty-two we are told not to just "hear" but to be "doers". The point is, when we "hear", we need to "listen". You can "hear" without actually listening. The way to tell the difference is simple. If what you heard makes an impact on your life, then you were listening. If it didn't, you are just a hearer, and not a listener. God is calling you to listen to what you hear. But it to work in your life, and be a doer of the Word.)


23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:


24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.


25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.


(Notice James says "perfect law of liberty", not "perfect law". The law kills, but the liberty we have in God's Grace brings life. We do not live under law anymore, but under Grace. Jesus fulfilled the law, and in Him, we have to.)


26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.


(And now James turns from the "hearing" part of verse Nineteen to the "speaking" part. He doesn't have much to say about speaking other then this, control your tongue. If you don't, you have deceived yourself and your "pious religion" in useless. Speak little, and when you do, make absolute certain it is Biblically correct and of God.)


27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.


(And in closing this chapter, James reminds us that the only good religion is the one that takes care of those around you in need, AND, creates within you yourself a godly life. Pure religion is not in big fancy churches, flowery speeches, being around all kinds of fancy people, or dressing a certain way. Pure religion before God is simply "love they neighbor as you love yourself, and love God with all your being

Answer the questions below.  If you miss a question, go back and study that portion of the class and then retake the test.  Once you have received a 100% you may proceed to the next class.  You DO NOT have to submit this test for grading.  Only the final test will be submitted.