whytheology

For the Intersection of the Everyday and the Sacred

James 1:22-25 (Lent Readings)

Passage

KJV Below (Link to NIV)

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

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.

Comment

This is one of my favorite passages in this book (and I always hear it in the KJV in my head). It’s like James was saying, oh and speaking of listening, let me give you an example of what genuine listening is like. The kind of person who looks in the mirror and immediately forgets what they look like is the kind of person who wasn’t really paying attention. That’s not what God’s word is like. God’s word is transformative, and of course we would want to live it out once we see the perfection of its liberty. Rather than a list of rules that restricts us, it is a covenant that liberates us. Our action, then, is out of response to the liberty, not a means to obtain it. By studying the word of God, he concludes, we are much more likely to be able to succeed at it.

Question

Which category do you place yourself in (hearer or doer)? Remembering Jesus’ parable of the two sons, with one who says he won’t do the work his father asks and does it while the other brother says he will do the work and doesn’t, what does this say about following Christ? Which is more important: hearing the right things or doing the right things? Is there a difference?

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2 thoughts on “James 1:22-25 (Lent Readings)

  1. What parable is that with the two sons? I think both are important but maybe hearing because at least we know what to do even if we don’t always do it.

    • The parable is in Matthew 21:28-32 . I think the point James is trying to make is that having the right answer (theologically/doctrinally) is pretty worthless if brings about no change. Genuine faith is better than orthodoxy it seems (doing trumps hearing).

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