Obeying God's Word Brings Blessing
James 1:22-25
There is a guaranteed reward for obeying God's will according to Scripture.
Published November 30th, 2019; Updated May 1st, 2020
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Main point summary
Arc w/ paraphrase
Bible study outline
Main point summary
You should do what God commands you through his word because you will be blessed if you do but cursed if you don't.
Arc w/ paraphrase
James 1:22-25
But be n doers of the word,
Brothers, I am pleading with you to do God's will.
and not hearers only,
You should not be content with merely knowing what his will is,
deceiving yourselves.
because this detached attitude is dangerous. You are stumbling and you don't know it.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word
I am urging you to do God's will because if you know what God wants you to do,
and not a doer,
but you don't do it,
he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.
you are like a man who checks out his everyday face in a mirror;
For he looks at himself
he continues to check out his face
and goes away
and eventually walks away from the mirror,
and at once forgets what he was like.
and after looking at the mirror, the unbelievable happens: after turning away from the mirror he is unable to remember what his face looks like.
But the one who looks into the perfect law, o the law of liberty,
However , if you know the liberating-power of God's will according to Scripture,
and perseveres,
and endure through all of life's trials,
being no hearer who forgets
( since you are not self- deceived
but a doer who acts,
but you actively carry out God's instructions)
p he will be blessed in his doing.
then you will experience God's blessing and joy in whatever you do.
because knowing what God wants you to do and habitually not doing it is a bizarre situation for you [and may indicate a counterfeit faith. See 1 John 2:4]
I implore you, put what you know into action.
Should I make "the law of liberty" stand as its own proposition? Or do I keep it attached to 25a ? Does "law of liberty" explain "perfect law"?
however , knowing what God wants you to do and doing it throughout every season in life is a mark of genuine faith. (cross reference with Luke 8:15)
look at James 1:12 and Luke 11:28
should 25ab relate to 25cd as Ground or Idea-Explanation?
If you know God's will but don't do it, your condition is just as bizarre.
James 1:22
Deuteronomy 11:26-28
James 1:22-25
22 But be n doers of the word , and not hearers only , deceiving yourselves . 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer , he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, o the law of liberty , and perseveres , being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts , p he will be blessed in his doing .
Bible study outline
1. Introductory words/remarks: Today we are going to study James 1:22-25. By God's grace we will see the glory of God and savor the sweet fruits which are the truths already preserved in this passage. Let us begin with prayer. 2. Read the passage: Read James 1:22-25 out loud. One person can read the passage. If the small group is 4 people or less, I may decide to ask each person to read a verse out loud in order to stimulate participation. 3. Markup the text: I should have colored pens, pencils, and highlighters organized on a table for everyone to have access to. Spend 5 - 10 minutes of marking up the passage independently. If someone does not want to mark their Bible, I can give them a copy of James 1:22-25 printed on a sheet of paper. (This requires that I print a few copies ahead of time) Briefly mention that you can mark-up key words/phrases and any other kind of connection between the words of this passage. Next, we will share what we marked and why we marked it. On my published page I shared a module presenting my 5 - 10 minute markup of James 1:22-25. 4. Observations: Teach on the following literary features of this letter. Author : James Recipient(s) : Jewish believers who emigrated out of Judea (or Jerusalem) and settled in Gentile lands. Relationship : Refers to his recipients as "brothers". This denotes that James is writing to his brothers and sisters in Christ. We expect that the recipients trust and respect the author and content of this letter. Theme(s) : the testing of our faith, God's blessing on humility and perseverance, God's judgment on ungodliness Tone : this letter is replete with exhortations. James's tone can be perceived as urgent. "The Lord is at hand", therefore execute God's will as expressed through these Holy Spirit-inspired exhortations. Purpose : James desires that believers, who have "been brought forth by the word of truth" (1:18), imitate the faith of Christ so that the riches of God's grace would be evident in the midst of a hard life on this earth. Keyword(s) : blessed, trial, joy, steadfast(ness), faith/works, rich/poor, wisdom, tongue, humble 5. Questions: Who is a doer of the word? How would you define this person? Who is a hearer? How would you define this person? What is the first alert in this passage which warns us of the condition of the person who is only a hearer? What is the point of James's imagery in 23c - 24c? Why do you think James changed his wording in verse 25 by referring to Scripture as "the perfect law, the law of liberty"? (Remember that the wording he used to refer to Scripture in vv.22-23 was "the word"). When have you seen a Christian persevere, by being "a doer who acts"? It can be a parent, sibling, mentor, friend, etc. Do you agree or disagree that 25e ("he will be blessed in his doing") should be our motivation for obeying God's will? What is one anchor/promise of God in this passage that you can stand firm on in the midst of trials? How should we think differently about God/ourselves/others in light of everything we have just studied? What other Scripture texts add to the truths taught in this passage? How should we feel differently about God/ourselves/others in light of everything we have just studied? What emotions does this passage exhort me to experience? How should we act differently about God/ourselves/others in light of everything we have just studied? What sins do I need to repent of and put off? What good works do I need to put on? 6. Main point summary: Share my main point summary of James 1:22-25 which is this: You should do what God commands you through his word because you will be blessed if you do but cursed if you don't. Is there anything you would change about this summary? In my summary, did I overemphasize or underemphasize a certain truth communicated by James in this passage? 7. Appropriate application: The people in the Bible study need to be challenged and to be exhorted with appropriate application. It seems fitting to me that I should be the first one in the group to admit my shortcomings. I would be a “doer of the word” by asking the believers to do James 1:5-8 with me. I would express where I think I am lacking in wisdom (in my role as husband, father, friend, child, moreover in my walk with the Lord). Then I would encourage each person to share an aspect or particular situation in their lives that they are lacking in wisdom, so that we can carry out James 1:5-8 , not merely read it. James 1:27 clearly requires action on our part. We could coordinate a visit to a local orphanage and organize activities and a Bible study with the children with permission from the management. I would also ask the group if there is anyone they know who is a widow(er). Then we could assign different acts of service to be done for the widow, such as one person baking a dish, another person buying basic groceries for him/her, another person writing a gospel, Christ-centered letter of encouragement and affection, which would be affirmed and signed by all the group members. I would remind the believers that these acts of selflessness are miracles of God, prepared by God himself ( Ephesians 2:10 ). We would read together 1 Peter 1:22-25 in order for the Holy Spirit to use this passage to discern our motives and cause heartfelt humility as we tangibly express our sincere brotherly love to the church and the world. 8. Closing remarks: Do you have anything in mind that you would like for us to specifically pray about; anything that God revealed to us during this time? Let us pray.
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.