The Deceptive Pleasure of Hearing the Word
James 1:22-25
Do not be deceived; only listening that leads to obedience will please the Lord.
Published April 16th, 2022
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Main point summary
Main point summary
Humbly listen and then obey, for the man who obeys what is heard will be blessed.
James 1:22-25
But be n doers of the word,
Γίνεσθε δὲ ποιηταὶ λόγου
(Humbly hear and receive the word; 1:19-21) Apply what you hear from the word
and not hearers only,
καὶ μὴ ⸂ ἀκροαταὶ μόνον ⸃
instead of listening alone,
deceiving yourselves.
παραλογιζόμενοι ἑαυτούς.
because if you believe you are being faithful by listening alone, you are deceiving yourself.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,
ὅτι εἴ τις ἀκροατὴς λόγου ἐστὶν καὶ οὐ ποιητής,
Because if you simply hear but do not obey,
he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.
οὗτος ἔοικεν ἀνδρὶ κατανοοῦντι τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐσόπτρῳ,
you are like when a man sees his face in a mirror.
For he looks at himself
κατενόησεν γὰρ ἑαυτὸν
That is , (1) [The one who only hears resembles a man looking in the mirror] because he has seen himself as he truly is
and goes away and
καὶ ἀπελήλυθεν
(2) yet he walks away
at once forgets what he was like.
καὶ εὐθέως ἐπελάθετο ὁποῖος ἦν.
and then lives without remembrance of the truth and wisdom.
But the one who looks into the perfect law, o the law of liberty,
ὁ δὲ παρακύψας εἰς νόμον τέλειον τὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας
(1) On the other hand , the one who looks into God's perfect, freedom-giving law,
and perseveres ,
καὶ παραμείνας ,
(2) [and instead of walking away] then remains ever before that truth
being no hearer who forgets
⸀ οὐκ ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησμονῆς γενόμενος
by ... not being someone who simply listens and moves on
but a doer who acts,
ἀλλὰ ποιητὴς ἔργου,
but someone who humbly listens and then acts,
p he will be blessed in his doing.
οὗτος μακάριος ἐν τῇ ποιήσει αὐτοῦ ἔσται.
this will result in him being blessed and bearing fruit in all seasons (Ps 1).
There is a deceptive sensation that comes with listening to the Word preached. When we understand what is being said, we experience the conviction of the spirit and believe that this conviction is the end goal. It is in this way we are deceived (22c). The religion that pleases the Lord is not one of mere hearing (1:22-25) or mere talk (1:26-27), but one of humble listening that leads to good deeds. Like the man of Psalm 1, the man who meditates and acts will be blessed in all his doing.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.