Ben Fetterolf
Follower of Jesus | Husband | Father | Pastor at Hampton Park Baptist Church of Greenville, SC
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Whose Words Rule?
James 1:19-21
How highly do you view your words? Are you more likely to encourage others to listen to you or to listen to God?
Published March 4th, 2020
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Main point summary
Main point summary
Rather than demanding your own way, humbly receive gospel truth which saves and sanctifies completely.
James 1:19-21
g Know this, my beloved brothers:
This is an important truth for you whom God loves:
let every person h be quick to hear,
everyone among you should view his own words in an appropriate way, being eager to listen,
i slow to speak,
and further purposeful ( measured ) in speech,
j slow to anger;
and further hesitant to demand his own way;
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
because selfishly demanding one's own way does not produce the fruit that God desires.
Therefore k put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness
Therefore , cut off this and all other kinds of selfish/wicked pursuits,
and receive with l meekness the implanted word,
and rather eagerly and humbly receive ( note: "quick to hear" ) and respond to the gospel truth from God that is in you,
m which is able to save your souls.
because it is able to save and sanctify you from now to the end.
Why quick to hear? What is it about not being quick to hear that we should avoid? The next two phrases help us understand this. We should be slow to speak (measured/thoughtful in our speech) and slow to anger. It seems that the point of this is to view our own words in an appropriate way, not giving more significance to them than we ought and further not demanding our own way. It's not as if our words don't matter. They do matter. However, we should understand that selfishly demanding our own way is not the path towards bearing fruit that is pleasing in God's sight. V.20 is the grounding link between 19a-d and 21a-c. It gives the foundational truth of this text: selfishly demanding one's own way does not bear fruit that is pleasing to God. 19a-20 and 21a-c mirror one another in several ways. 19b says to be quick to hear. 21b says to receive with meekness the implanted word. 20 speaks of the detriment of being too quick to speak and quick to anger, while 21c gives the blessing of receiving humbly the gospel truth from God. Anger produces rotten fruit. Receiving the good news of the gospel in God's Word bears good fruit. Anger incites more anger/filthiness/wickedness (21a). Filling our minds with God's Word encourages spiritual growth and healing, namely sanctification (21c). How am I using my words? Am I talking when I should be listening? Am I talking over others, demanding my own way? How highly do I value my words? Do I value them more than God's Words? Does the tone of my words contradict God's Word? OR Am I regularly receiving God's Words and letting it shape my words and the manner in which I communicate? Am I encouraging others to receive God's Word? Do I go to God's Word even when I am in conflict with others? Am I depending on God's Words more than my own words to lead to sanctification in the lives of others?
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.