James 1:22 KJV
But be¹ ye doers² of the word³,
and not hearers⁴ only⁵,
deceiving⁶ your own selves.
¹) Be – Γίνεσθε (Ginesthe) – to cause to be, i.e. to become, used with great latitude.
²) Doers – ποιηταὶ (poiētai) – (a) a maker, poet, (b) a doer, carrier out, performer. From poieo; a performer; specially, a ‘poet’.
³) Of [the] word, – λόγου (logou) – From lego; something said; by implication, a topic, also reasoning or motive; by extension, a computation; specially, the Divine Expression.
⁴) Hearers – ἀκροαταὶ (akroatai) – A hearer of, a listener to. From akroaomai; a hearer.
⁵) Only – μόνον (monon) – Alone, but, only. Neuter of monos as adverb; merely.
⁶) [Otherwise,] you are deceiving – παραλογιζόμενοι (paralogizomenoi) – To deceive, beguile, reason falsely, mislead. From para and logizomai; to misreckon, i.e. Delude.
Berean Study Bible
Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves.
Berean Literal Bible
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,
New American Standard Bible
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth].
But be ye doers of the word
See Matthew 7:21, 24.
We are doers of the word, when,
▪︎ being enlightened by its doctrines,
▪︎ awed by its threatenings,
▪︎ and encouraged by its promises,
▪︎ we, through the aid of divine grace, love and obey its precepts.
Both those which enjoin repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,
as terms necessary to be complied with in order to our justification and regeneration,
and those subsequent commands which show how those, who are already justified and born from above, ought to walk that they may please God, and save their souls;
and not hearers only
Not contenting yourselves with mere hearing,
or even with understanding and believing what you hear,
without putting it into practice.
deceiving your own selves
As if it was sufficient to know your Master’s will without doing it.
Some suppose that in these words the apostle refers primarily to the Jews, whose doctrine it was,
- That to be Abraham’s seed was sufficient to obtain for them God’s favour, and secure them against his judgments;
- That circumcision procured them acceptance with God;
- That all Israelites had a portion in the world to come; and especially,
- That to be employed in hearing and studying the law was of itself sufficient.
But it seems more likely that he gives this caution with a reference to those Gnostics and other Antinomians that were creeping fast into the church; and were hearers only, not even considering the word they heard, and therefore not understanding it; and especially not experiencing its power to regenerate and save them from the guilt and power of their sins, and restore them to the divine image.
The words, παραλογιζομενοι εαυτους, rendered, deceiving your own selves, properly signify, imposing upon yourselves by sophistical reasonings; an expression here used with great propriety, and very applicable to all those professors of Christianity who abuse the doctrines of grace to Antinomian purposes, and make void the moral law through a pretence of faith.
It is said of the Rev. Mr. Clarke, of Chesham Bets, that when one observed to him “there was a good deal in a person’s natural disposition,” he made this answer:
“Natural disposition! Why, I am naturally as irritable as any; but when I find anger, or passion, or any other evil temper arise in my mind, immediately I go to my Redeemer, and, confessing my sins, I give myself up to be managed by Him.
This is the way that I have taken to get the mastery of my passions.”
The man who supposes that all that is necessary is that he run over a passage of Scripture before leaving his bed-chamber, and another at family prayer, and give respectful attention to his clergyman in church, is greatly mistaken.
He must work out in life what he reads and hears, as the sap of a tree works out fruit on the stem which is grafted thereon.
It is the failure to do this which has so greatly retarded our religious life.
Men have heard the Word with their outward ears, and have gone out of the church thinking that the sermon was done, whereas it had not begun in their practice, not even in their hearts.
No; the moment I have learned anything from the Word, I must make a strenuous effort to reproduce it in my life.
Then the next thing learned, then the rest; and so on, until my life be an incarnation of the Bible.
If each hearer did this, how powerful our holy faith would be among men! Compared with this, what is success in controversy, although I could silence every theological opponent?
What Biblical learning, although I could repeat every verse of the Bible in every tongue ever spoken among men?
Neither of these would save me; but the truth, animated into fruitage by my spiritual vitality, would make me a tree worth a place in God’s orchard
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
“The proof of the pudding is in the tasting.”
The proof of biblical wisdom and understanding is in the living.
To simply know the truth doesn’t mean a whole lot;
to live the truth is everything. (cf. Matthew 7)
- Ask God to empower you with His Spirit to “practice what you preach”.
- Ask God to empower you with His Spirit to show your obedience to His will.
- Ask God to empower you with His Spirit to live consistently with His character in your daily life.
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