Authorship … While the Book itself offers no evidence of authorship, the early church fathers accepted James, the half-brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3) and leader of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; Galatians 2:9), as the author of the book that bears his name.
James did not initially believe in Jesus as the Messiah (John 7:2-10). He became a believer after witnessing the resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:7). He was present on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14).
Date … Most believe the Book of James to be among, if not the earliest, of the Epistles (45-55 A.D.) Recipients … probably Jewish believers who had fled their homeland because of religious and government persecution.
Josephus, a Jewish historian, mentioned the martyrdom of James around 62 A.D.
This passage warns against pretending instead of listening, deceiving instead of obeying, and talking instead of serving
“My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you” (James 1:19-21)
My dearly loved brothers … reminds us of our relationship with one another … we are all a part of ONE family; the family of God. Truly “blood is thicker than water” that is the BLOOD OF THE LAMB.
What is your attitude about other believers? How do you treat other Christians? How does the Golden Rule apply?
“Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” may refer to both our relationship to one another and to God.
“quick to listen” calls for an eagerness to hear and obey God’s message.
“slow to speak” demands silence until we have understood and applied the message. Wait to speak until we know what we are talking about…
“slow to anger” warns against any hostile or bitter feelings … bitterness blocks communication with and from others and God.
Wisdom listens to others, considers what they are saying, and then responds according to grace.
“for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness” Actions and answers motivated by bitterness, a malicious spirit, simmering hostility will fail what God wants to do in and through your life.
Anger out of control, not only affects the relationship among believers, but is a poor testimony to the unbelieving world.
“Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil” strip of, like old dirty clothing, any moral indecency or malicious attitudes.
“humbly receive the implanted word” Allow God’s Word to work in your life to do what cannot naturally be done … this word may come from God or from someone speaking on God’s behalf.
How does this apply to someone sharing a “godly rebuke” or “spiritual advice?”
“which is able to save you” The Word of God is like medicine which when received is able to heal.
“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.”
Don’t just listen to the Word, do it; make obedience to the Word one’s practice; be constant. It is not enough to listen, or read the Word if you are not going to practice what is preached.
Just going to church and hearing a sermon is not going to help you in your walk as a Christian; the Word you hear must be applied.
How does this apply to a Sunday morning preaching service? Sunday school lesson? Connect Group?
Negative Example (1:23-24)
A hearer only is concerned only with the present confrontation with the Word, and is satisfied with the immediate results of hearing
What is the benefit of conviction is there is no confession, change or commitment?
Positive Example (1:25)
“looks intently” - stares
“this person will be blessed in what he does.” A hearer only of the Word fails the task, however, a hearer who becomes a does will succeed the task.
How many times have you responded to the preaching, teaching, reading of the Word with good intent but failed to follow through?
“If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
Religion which fails to control the tongue is just that, religion. A person who uses the tongue to destroy others is deceived. A relationship with God, demonstrated by obedience to the Word of God harnesses the tongue. Real religion, as defined by God, is to demonstrate the love of God through one’s attitude and actions… See James 3:1-10.
Real religion seeks to serve others without restitution … to help those who cannot help themselves … And rather than concerning oneself with someone else faults take care of your own …
If we will deal with our own problems we won’t have time to talk about the problems (sometimes perceived or resulting from personal preferences) of others.
How does what Jesus said apply (Don’t worry about the splinter in someone else’s eye when you have a beam in your own.)?