James 1:19

Listen to the Word and Do What It Says

19 My dear brothers and sisters, pay attention to what I say. Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry.

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James 1:19 Meaning and Commentary

James 1:19

Wherefore, my beloved brethren
Since the Gospel, the word of truth, is the means and instrument which God makes use of in regeneration, and in forming people for himself:

let every man be swift to hear;
not anything; not idle and unprofitable talk, or filthy and corrupt communication; but wholesome advice, good instructions, and the gracious experiences of the saints, and, above all, the word of God; to the hearing of which men should fly, as doves to their windows; should make haste, and be early in their attendance on it, as well, as constant; and receive it with all readiness, and with a sort of greediness of mind, that their souls may be profited, and God may be glorified: the phrase is Jewish; things easy and smooth, a man is (Nemvl ryhm) , "swift to hear them F12: slow to speak"; against what is heard, without thoroughly weighing and considering what is said; and this may regard silence under hearing the word, and is also a rule to be observed in private conversation: or the sense may be, be content to be hearers of the word, and not forward to be preachers of it; and if called to that work, think before you speak, meditate on the word, and study to be approved to God and men. Silence is not only highly commended by the Pythagoreans, among whom it was enjoined their disciples five years {m}; but also by the Jews: they say, nothing is better for the body than silence; that if a word is worth one shekel, silence is worth two, or worth a precious stone; that it is the spice of speech, and the chief of all spices; that it is the hedge of wisdom; hence it is the advice of Shammai; "say little, and do much" F14: and they cry up, as a very excellent precept, "be silent, and hear"; and as containing more than persons are aware of F15:

slow to wrath;
in hearing; when admonitions and reproofs are given, sin is exposed, and vice corrected, and the distinguishing doctrines of grace, are preached; which are apt to fill natural men with wrath, and which must greatly hinder the usefulness of the word; see ( Luke 4:28 ) . This is omitted in the Ethiopic version.


FOOTNOTES:

F12 Gloss. in T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 21. 1.
F13 Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 2. c. 25.
F14 Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 15. 17. & 3. 13. T. Bab. Megilla. fol. 18. 1. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 16. fol. 158. 3. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 71. 1.
F15 Philo Zuis Rer. Divin. Haeres. p. 482. Vid. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 7. 1.

James 1:19 In-Context

17 Every good and perfect gift is from God. It comes down from the Father. He created the heavenly lights. He does not change like shadows that move.
18 God chose to give us new birth through the message of truth. He wanted us to be the first and best of everything he created.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, pay attention to what I say. Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry.
20 A man's anger doesn't produce the kind of life God wants.
21 So get rid of everything that is dirty and sinful. Get rid of the evil that is all around us. Don't be too proud to accept the word that is planted in you. It can save you.

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