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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

James 1:22

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Adam Clarke Commentary

But be ye doers of the word - They had heard this doctrine; they had believed it; but they had put it to no practical use. They were downright Antinomians, who put a sort of stupid, inactive faith in the place of all moral righteousness. This is sufficiently evident from the second chapter.

Deceiving your own selves - Παραλογιζομενοι ἑαυτους· Imposing on your own selves by sophistical arguments; this is the meaning of the words. They had reasoned themselves into a state of carnal security, and the object of St. James is, to awake them out of their sleep.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on James 1:22". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/james-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only - Obey the gospel, and do not merely listen to it. Compare Matthew 7:21.

Deceiving your own selves - It is implied here, that by merely hearing the word but not doing it, they would deceive their own souls. The nature of this deception was this, that they would imagine that that was all which was required, whereas the main thing was that they should be obedient. If a man supposes that by a mere punctual attendance on preaching, or a respectful attention to it, he has done all that is required of him, he is laboring under a most gross self-deception. And yet there are multitudes who seem to imagine that they have done all that is demanded of them when they have heard attentively the word preached. Of its influence on their lives, and its claims to obedience, they are utterly regardless.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/james-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

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

This is exactly the teaching of Paul in Romans 2:13; and taken together with what James would write in the second chapter, it is clear enough that this epistle was written for the purpose of correcting the abuse of Paul's teaching regarding justification by faith. By this reference, James almost says, "My teaching is exactly what the apostle Paul really taught." "Not the hearers of the law, but the doers of the law shall be justified" (Romans 2:13). The passage in Romans has a primary application to doing the law of Moses, but by his declaration here, James showed that the same principle is applicable to Christians with respect to the law of Jesus Christ, a law which James would mention in the next line.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/james-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But be ye doers of the word,.... And they are such, who spiritually understand it; gladly receive it; and from the heart obey it, and make a sincere and ingenuous profession of it; and who submit to the ordinances it directs to, and keep them as they have been delivered; and live, and walk, becoming their profession of it. The Arabic and Ethiopic versions read, "be ye doers of the law"; and so one of Stephens's copies, as in Romans 2:13

and not hearers only; though the word should be heard swiftly and readily, and received with meekness; yet it should not be barely heard, and assented to; but what is heard should be put in practice; and especially men should not depend upon their hearing, as if that would save them; this is deceiving your own selves; such as rest upon the outward hearing of the word will be sadly deceived, and will find themselves miserably mistaken, another day; see Luke 13:25. Arguments taken from hence are like the sophisms, paralogisms, and false reasonings of sophisters, which carry a fair show, and ensnare and deceive.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on James 1:22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/james-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

15 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, 16 deceiving your own selves.

(15) Another admonition: therefore God's word is heard, that we may model our lives according to the laws it contains. {(16)} He adds reasons, and those most weighty: first, because they that do otherwise seriously harm themselves.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on James 1:22". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/james-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

not hearers only”; not merely “Do the word,” but “Be doers” systematically and continually, as if this was your regular business. James here again refers to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:21-29).

deceiving your own selves — by the logical fallacy (the Greek implies this) that the mere hearing is all that is needed.


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/james-1.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

But be ye (γινεστε δεginesthe de). Rather, “But keep on becoming” (present middle imperative of γινομαιginomai).

Doers of the word (ποιηται λογουpoiētai logou). Old word for agent (της̇tēs) from ποιεωpoieō to do as in James 4:11; Romans 2:13, but in Acts 17:28 our “poet” (long regarded as a “doer” or “maker”).

Hearers (ακροαταιakroatai). Old word for agent again from ακροαμαιakroamai (to be a hearer), in N.T. only here and Romans 2:13.

Deluding yourselves (παραλογιζομενοι εαυτουςparalogizomenoi heautous). Present middle (direct) participle of παραλογιζομαιparalogizomai to reckon aside (παραpara) and so wrong, to cheat, to deceive. Redundant reflexive εαυτουςheautous with the middle. In N.T. only here and Colossians 2:4. Such a man does not delude anyone but himself.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/james-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Hearers ( ἀκροαταὶ )

Used by James only.

Deceiving ( παραλογιζόμενοι )

From παρά , beside, contrary to, and λογίζομαι , to reckon, and hence to conclude by reasoning. The deception referred to is, therefore, that into which one betrays himself by false reasoning - reasoning beside the truth.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/james-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

22.] The ταχὺς εἰς τὸ ἀκοῦσαι and δέξασθε are qualified, at the same time that they are enforced, by a caution. But be ye (not, ‘become ye,’ any more than in Matthew 6:16; Matthew 10:16; Matthew 24:44; John 20:27; Romans 12:16. In all these places no other meaning will suit the context but simply “be ye:” with reference indeed to some future act by which the word γίνεσθαι gets its propriety; but ‘become’ in English carries a very different meaning, viz. that of change into the state mentioned from some other previous one, which is in none of these cases implied) doers of the word (viz. of the λόγος ἔμφυτος, the λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας. Theile remarks well, “Substantiva plus sonant quam participia;” the substantive ποιητής carries an enduring, a sort of official force with it: ‘let this be your occupation.’ For the expression, see reff.), not hearers only ( ἀκροατής in classical Greek carries rather the idea of attentive observance with it, which cannot be the case either here or in ref. Rom.), deceiving yourselves (see note on ref. Col. παραλογίζεσθαι is used here probably as allusive to λόγος, and means, to deceive by a false logical conclusion. The ‘hearer only’ does this, when he infers that the mere sound of the word received in his outward ear will suffice for him. Cf. ἀπατῶν καρδίαν αὐτοῦ, James 1:26. Hesych. gives ἀπάτη λογισμοῦ as the explanation of παραλογισμός. See Suicer, sub voce).


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on James 1:22". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/james-1.html. 1863-1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

22Be ye doers of the word. The doer here is not the same as in Romans 2:13, who satisfied the law of God and fulfilled it in every part, but the doer is he who from the heart embraces God’s word and testifies by his life that he really believes, according to the saying of Christ,

“Blessed are they who hear God’s word and keep it,”
(
Luke 11:28;)

for he shews by the fruits what that implanting is, before mentioned. We must further observe, that faith with all its works is included by James, yea, faith especially, as it is the chief work which God requires from us. The import of the whole is, that we ought to labor that the word of the Lord should strike root in us, so that it may afterwards fructify. (110)


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/james-1.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

EGOISM AND ALTRUISM

‘Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves.’

James 1:22 (R.V.)

There are two great classes of human lives; there are two fundamental differences which separate them. The one class is egoistic, it lives simply for itself; the other, if you will pardon me the word, is altruistic, it lives mainly for the good of others. The one is epicurean; the other is Christlike.

I. The self-indulgent, self-absorbed life ranges up and down many degrees in the social and moral scales. It may be that of the elegant and bejewelled patrician, or it may reek of the gin-shop and the prison. It may assume the guise of languid ease or that of brutal ruffianism; but in all cases it is only selfishness wearing different masks, and in all phases it involves the most despicable state to which human life can sink. And God—speaking in the force of outward circumstances—God, ‘Whose light shines on so patiently, showing all things in the slow history of their ripening’—stamps this life with the seal of His utter reprobation. Oh, how terrible and certain a retribution does this life of selfishness draw down upon itself!

II. How different is the altruistic life, the unselfish life, the life which is given to God and fearlessly lives for the good of its fellow-men—the life, not like those others, earthly, sensual, devilish; but pure, gentle, peaceable, full of mercy and good fruit, without partiality and without hypocrisy! That is the life of heaven; such are the lives of the saints of God. The world has ever recognised the lustre, the loveliness of such a life, though in envy and hatred it has many times slain or slaughtered those who have tried to live it. Rise before us as ye were, ye saints of God, in the beauty of your holiness; show us the lives ‘roses without, lilies within’; the lives white as lilies in their transparent guilelessness, and red as roses in their glowing enthusiasm! Show how gracious a thing a human being may become, in whom the love of God, expanded into infinitude, has led to the abjuration of the lower self.

III. Can such a life be described in a single word?—Yes! and it lies at the centre of all that in all nations of the world has the best right to call itself religion. When Confucius was asked by a disciple to express all the virtues in one word, he answered, ‘Is not reciprocity such a word?’ and by ‘reciprocity’ he meant the Divine rule—‘Do unto thy neighbour as thou wouldst that he should do to thee.’ When Auguste Comte tried to formulate a new religion of Positivism he made its one rule altruism—‘Vivre pour autrui.’ It is Christianity that gives us a word more divine, more all-comprehensive, more steeped in emotion, more radiant with the light of heaven than ‘reciprocity’ or ‘altruism’—and that is the word love. And—let men prate how they will about other things—if the Word of God stands sure, then one truth is supremely important above all other truths, and that is, that we ‘owe no man anything, but to love one another’; that love is ‘the bond of perfectness’; and that ‘love is the fulfilling of the law.’

IV. Consider the bearing of these two lives on the entire condition of the world.

(a) The natural and immediate result of selfishness is utter, hopeless, callous quiescence, contented luxury, absolute neglect. It shuts out the disturbing spectacle of human necessity.

(b) The unselfish life, the life of Christian charity, is opposed to all this. Though all the journals misrepresent and sneer at it, it will try every method in its power—legislative, social, ecclesiastical, individual—whereby it may in any way alleviate the sorrows or reverse the wrongs of the world. It is invincibly hopeful; it is undauntedly courageous; it ‘believes in the soul, and is very sure of God’; it is full of Divine enthusiasm; it leaps amid the laughter of the world into the flaming chariot of zeal, and shakes loosely the slack reins.

How shall we grapple with this overwhelming mass of evil? There are some, thank God! who are grappling with it. Everywhere the work is being attempted by the clergy, and by those who help their work. The poor in many parishes are treated as brethren, and as free men and women, for whom, with all their faults, Christ died.

—Dean Farrar.

Illustration

‘To the egotist class—those who are absorbed by the desires of the mind—belong the ruinous conquerors who from time to time have swept over the earth with sword and flame, and have made her furrows red with the blood of men. “The course you propose,” said Prince Metternich to Napoleon, “would cost the lives of a hundred thousand men.” “A hundred thousand men!” answered Napoleon. “What are a hundred thousand men to me?” Prince Metternich walked to the window, flung it wide open, and said, “Sire, let all the world know that you express this atrocious sentiment!” There you have this egoism on a colossal scale. Yet a man need not be a Napoleon to sacrifice the good of hundreds, and sell the fate of his country for the satisfaction of himself, his party, or his class.


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on James 1:22". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/james-1.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 22. And not hearers only] The Panotii in Scythia are said to have such large ears, as that therewith they cover their whole bodies. (Isidore.) Such are our hearers only.

Deceiving your own souls] Either as by false reckoning or false reasoning; Gr. παραλογιζομενοι, putting paralogisms and fallacies upon yourselves. For hypocrites may easily deceive not others only, but themselves too; as a drunken stage player, that in his drunkenness acting a king’s part, thinks himself a king indeed.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on James 1:22". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/james-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

James 1:22. Hearers only, deceiving, &c.— The Jews did indeed place much of their religion in going up at proper times to the synagogue to hear the law read; and there may possibly be an allusion to that disposition, The exact signification of the word παραλογιζομενοι, rendered deceiving, is, "imposing upon any, by a sophistical show of argument;" and here it is used with peculiar propriety. The Jews have a proverb, "That he who hears the law, and does not practise it, is like a man who ploughs and sows, but never reaps."


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on James 1:22". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/james-1.html. 1801-1803.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

James 1:22. The exhortations given in James 1:19 form the starting-point for what follows. The next section, to the end of chap. 2, is attached to the thought ταχὺς εἰς τὸ ἀκοῦσαι, which is continued in δέξασθε τὸν ἔμφυτον λόγον. The word must be so heard and received that it produces a corresponding activity. James first expresses this thought briefly and definitely: “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” The verb γίνεσθε is neither intended to express the successionem perpetuam horum exercitiorum (Semler), nor to indicate that hitherto the readers had not been ποιηταὶ λόγου; this indication is contained in the whole exhortation, but not in the verb, which is to be translated not by become, but by be; comp. chap. James 3:1; Matthew 6:16; Matthew 10:16; Matthew 24:44; John 20:27; Romans 12:16.(98) The particle δέ unites this verse with the preceding as its completion. The readers ought to be ποιηταὶ λόγου, namely, of the λόγος ἔμφυτος (James 1:21), or of the λόγος ἀληθείας (James 1:18), the gospel, inasmuch as it requires a definite Christian conduct, and on this account in James 1:25 is expressly called a νόμος. On ποιηταί, comp. James 4:11; 1 Maccabees 2:67; Romans 2:13 (John 7:19 : ποιεῖν τὸν νόμον); in the classical language, ποιητὴς νόμου is the lawgiver. Theile correctly observes: substantiva plus sonant quam participia; the substantive expresses the enduring relation.

In the reading μὴ ἀκροαταὶ μόνον, μόνον is closely united with ἀκροαταὶ: not such who are only hearers. The word ἀκροατής, in classical Greek “an attentive hearer,” occurs in the N. T. only here and in Romans 2:13, but both times without that additional meaning. On the thought, comp. besides Romans 2:13 (where the same contrast is expressed), Matthew 7:21 ff.; Luke 11:28; John 13:17.

παραλογιζόμενοι] belongs to the subject contained in γίνεσθε (de Wette, Wiesinger), deceiving your own selves, and not as a more exact definition of ἀκροαταί, “hearers who deceive themselves” (Stolz, Gebser, Schneckenburger, Lange). The import of the word (besides here in the N. T. only in Colossians 2:4, in the O. T. Genesis 29:25, LXX.; synonymous expressions are found in James 1:26; Galatians 6:3; 1 John 1:8) is to draw false inferences, to deceive by sophistical reasoning. The warning is directed against such who deceive themselves by sophisms on the utility of mere hearing.


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on James 1:22". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/james-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

[22. παραλογιζόμενοι ἐαυτοὺς, deceiving their [“your”] own selves) Pleasing themselves in their hearing.—V. g.]


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on James 1:22". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/james-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

But be ye doers of the word; the same as doers of the work, James 1:25, namely, which the word prescribes; q.d. Receive the word by faith into your hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in your lives: see Luke 11:28 John 13:17.

And not hearers only; not contenting yourselves with a bare hearing the word, though it have no influence upon you.

Deceiving your own selves; playing the sophisters with, or putting a fallacy upon, yourselves; particularly, persuading yourselves into a good opinion of your state, merely because of your being hearers of the word, Matthew 7:21.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on James 1:22". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/james-1.html. 1685.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

22. ποιηταὶ λόγου. ποιητής is a characteristic word of St James, occurring four times in this Epistle, elsewhere in N.T. once in Romans 2:13 ποιηταὶ νόμου, and in Acts 17:28, where it bears the classical sense of ‘poet,’ τινες τῶν καθʼ ὑμᾶς ποιητῶν. In Titus 1:12 St Paul uses the word προφήτης of a poet: εἶπέν τις ἐξ αὐτῶν ἴδιος αὐτῶν προφήτης.

παραλογιζόμενοι ἑαυτούς, deceiving yourselves, ‘making a false or erroneous estimate’: for this sense of παρά comp. παράσημος of a coin imperfectly stamped: δύναμις παράσημος αἴνῳ, Aesch. Agam. 780, power falsely stamped with praise; παραπείθειν, to persuade with fraud; παρακούειν, to misunderstand; παράγειν, to lead astray; σοφία δὲ κλέπτει παράγοισα μύθοις, Pind. Nem. VII. 34.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on James 1:22". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/james-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

22. It is not enough to be a hearer, or a receiver of the saving word delivered in the synagogue, and then go out and transgress it in the world. By considering that listening to be sufficient, and omitting to be also doers, we glide into a self-deception. We imagine we are quite good, while in fact we are unsaved. Going to church, reading the Bible, and yet neglecting a holy life, is a delusive course.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/james-1.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves.’

James is very conscious of the danger of hearing and not doing. He had previously been like this himself, and he had seen among the Jews how easy it was to be a hearer in the synagogues every Sabbath and yet not be a doer. He had seen it also among the Pharisees. He does not want this repeated among the new Israel. So he calls on them not only to be hearers of the word which is proclaimed to them, as those who have received the truth, but also to be doers of it. They must be like the wise man who built his house on a rock, who heard and did the word of Jesus, and not the foolish man who built his house on sand and heard but did not do (Matthew 7:24-27). For they must recognise that if they hear but do not do they are deluding themselves about being a Christian. The message is a very important one. The New Testament as a whole has no place for those who hear but do not do. As Jesus Himself said, ‘Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things which I say?’ (Luke 6:46, compare Luke 11:28).


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/james-1.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Doing the Word of God in this context means persevering in God"s will when we experience temptation to depart from it. Hearing God"s will is good as far as it goes, and it is indispensable, but obedience should follow. Some Christian disciples delude themselves by thinking that knowing God"s will is enough, but it is only foundational to doing God"s will.

"The blessing does not come in studying the Word, but in doing the Word." [Note: Wiersbe, p16.]

"The call to "do what it says" lies at the center of all that James teaches. It sums up the message of the whole book: Put into practice what you profess to believe. Indeed, James 1:22 may well be the key verse of James"s epistle." [Note: Burdick, p175.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/james-1.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

James 1:22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only. The implanted word, or the word of truth, must be so heard and received as to produce a corresponding course of action. Practice, and not opinion, is the desired effect of the reception of the word. The Jews have a proverb among themselves: ‘He who hears the law, and does not practise it, is like a man who ploughs and sows, but never reaps.’ It is, however, to be observed that St. James does not in the slightest degree depreciate the hearing of the word; he only asserts the superior importance of the doing of the word. ‘Be not only hearers of the word, but be also doers.’ And indeed the hearing is in order to the doing; if this be wanting, the hearing is of no value. Compare with this the words of St. Paul: ‘Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of it shall be justified’ (Romans 2:13).

deceiving your own selves. The term denotes deceiving by false and sophistical reasoning. He who is a hearer of the word and not a doer, and who thinketh that this is sufficient, imposeth upon his own self. And of all deceptions, self-deception is the worst. If a man were deceived by others, it would be comparatively easy to undeceive him, by placing things in their true light. But if a man be deceived by himself, it is next to impossible to undeceive him, because prejudices have blinded his eyes; the bandage must first be removed before he can see the light.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/james-1.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

James 1:22. γίνεσθε: perhaps best expressed by the German “Werdet,” though Luther does not render it so.— ποιηταὶ λόγου, καὶ, etc.: Taylor quotes an appropriate passage from the Babylonian Talmud: “On Exodus 24:7 which ends (lit.), We will do and we will hear, it is written (Shabbath, 88a) that “when Israel put we will do before we will hear, there came sixty myriads of ministering angels, and attached to each Israelite two crowns, one corresponding to we will do, and the other to we will hear; and when they sinned there came down a hundred and twenty myriads of destroying angels and tore them off” (quoted by Mayor, p. 67). The duty of doing as well as hearing is frequently insisted upon in Jewish writings. See, further, Matthew 7:24, etc. As to the precise meaning to be attached to λόγος opinions differ; but the mention twice made of hearing the word makes it fairly certain that in the first instance—whatever further meaning it connoted—reference is being made to the reading of the Scriptures in the synagogue; further, the mention, also twice made, of the doing of the word makes it a matter of practical certainty that the reference is to the Torah, the Law; the fact that Jews are being addressed only emphasises this. For the attitude of the Jews towards the Torah during the centuries immediately preceding Christianity and onwards, see Oesterley and Box, The Religion and Worship of the Synagogue, pp. 135–151; here it must suffice to say that it was regarded as the final revelation of God for all time, that it was the means of salvation, and that its practice was the highest expression of loyalty towards God. Jews who had from childhood been taught to regard the Torah in this light would have found it very difficult to discard the time-honoured veneration accorded to it, and there was no need to do so, seeing the place that Christ Himself had given to it (Matthew 5:17-18; Matthew 7:12; Matthew 12:5; Matthew 19:17; Matthew 23:3; Luke 10:26; Luke 16:17; Luke 16:29), and provided that its teaching in general was regarded as preparatory to the embracing of Christianity. The intensely practical writer of this passage realised that those to whom he was writing must be drawn gently and gradually, without unduly severing them from their earlier belief, which, after all, contained so much which was identical with the new faith. The Torah, which had been rooted in their hearts and which was to them, in the most literal sense, the word of God, was the point of attachment between Judaism and Christianity; it was utilised by the writer in order to bring them to Christ, the “Word” of God in a newer, higher sense. All that he says here about the λόγος was actually the teaching of the Jews concerning the Torah, the revealed word of God; and all that he says was also equally true, only in a much higher sense, of the teaching of Christ, the “Word” of God,—this latter, higher conception of the “Word of God,” the מימרא, was one with which Hellenistic Jews were quite familiar;—what has been said can be illustrated thus:—

In James 1:18 it is said, “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth”; the Jews taught that they were the children of God by virtue of the Torah. In James 1:21 it is said, “Wherefore putting away all filthiness … receive the rooted word”; according to Jewish ideas, purity and the Torah were inseparable, it was an ancient Jewish belief that the Torah was the means whereby lust was annihilated in a man. In the same verse, the expression ἔμφυτος λόγος can have a two-fold meaning in reference to the Torah; either it contains an allusion to the belief that the Torah was implanted, like Wisdom, in God Himself from the very beginning, hence the expression ראשׁית (“beginning”) used of the Torah; or else the writer is referring to the teaching of the Torah which was implanted, and therefore rooted, in every Jew from the earliest years. Once more, it is said that this word is able to save souls. Among the Jews it was an axiom that the Torah was the means of salvation; to give but one quotation illustrative of this ancient belief, in Wajjikra Rabba, 29 it is written: אין אורח חיים אלא תורה (“Torah is the only way that leadeth to life”). And finally, as already remarked, the necessity of being doers as well as hearers of the Torah is a commonplace in Jewish literature. For many illustrations showing the correctness of what has been said, see Weber, Jüdische Theologie (2nd Ed.), pp. 14–38, Bousset, Die Religion des Judenthums (1st Ed.), pp. 87–120, the various editions of Midrashim translated by Wünsche in “Bibliotheca Rabbinica,” and the handy collection being issued under the editorship of Fiebig, entitled “Ausgewählte Mischnatractate”. It will have been noticed that all that the writer of this passage says about λόγος as applicable to the Law, or Torah, is equally applicable, only in a much higher sense, to Christ; this will be obvious and need not be proved by quotations. But it is interesting to observe that apparently precisely the same thing was done by our Lord Himself, as recorded by St. John in the fourth Gospel; He adapted Jewish teaching on the Torah and applied it to Himself; for details of this, see Oesterley and Box, op. cit., pp. 139 ff. It will be noticed that in our Epistle the writer presently goes on to substitute νόμος (Torah) for λόγος, James 1:25; this is very significant; the “perfect law of liberty,” and the “royal law,” both refer to the Torah as perfected by the “King of the Jews”.— παραλογιζόμενοι ἑαυτούς: i.e., deceiving the heart, as it is expressed in James 1:26; the rebuke shows the intimate knowledge on the part of the writer of the spiritual state of those to whom he is writing.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on James 1:22". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/james-1.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

James 1:22. But be ye doers of the word — See on Matthew 7:21; Matthew 7:24. We are then doers of the word, when, being enlightened by its doctrines, awed by its threatenings, and encouraged by its promises, we, through the aid of divine grace, love and obey its precepts, both those which enjoin repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, as terms necessary to be complied with in order to our justification and regeneration, and those subsequent commands which show how those, who are already justified and born from above, ought to walk that they may please God, and save their souls; and not hearers only — Not contenting yourselves with mere hearing, or even with understanding and believing what you hear, without reducing it to practice; deceiving your own selves — As if it was sufficient to know your Master’s will without doing it. Some suppose that in these words the apostle refers primarily to the Jews, whose doctrine it was, 1st, That to be Abraham’s seed was sufficient to obtain for them God’s favour, and secure them against his judgments; 2d, That circumcision procured them acceptance with God; 3d, That all Israelites had a portion in the world to come; and especially, 4th, That to be employed in hearing and studying the law was of itself sufficient. But it seems more likely that he gives this caution with a reference to those Gnostics and other Antinomians that were creeping fast into the church; and were hearers only, not even considering the word they heard, and therefore not understanding it; and especially not experiencing its power to regenerate and save them from the guilt and power of their sins, and restore them to the divine image. The words, παραλογιζομενοι εαυτους, rendered, deceiving your own selves, properly signify, imposing upon yourselves by sophistical reasonings; an expression here used with great propriety, and very applicable to all those professors of Christianity who abuse the doctrines of grace to Antinomian purposes, and make void the moral law through a pretence of faith.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on James 1:22". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/james-1.html. 1857.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Doers Of The Word

Far from the idea of "let go and let God". James wants us to realize that the word is God"s communication to us. Merely listening and waiting for something to happen, merely listening and waiting for some influence to overwhelm us---doesn"t accomplish anything. We must cooperate with the message, conform to the message and submit to the message. We have a very active role to play in the purposes of God and our own salvation.

"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves."

"But"-It is so easy to think that we are doing some great thing by merely reading the Bible or by merely listening to a sermon. Draper notes, "The greatest tragedy in this century is people who gather information, but never get that information into their lives….There are people like that in church. They enjoy the singing, the preaching, the Bible study. They like to come and receive blessings, but they never do anything. Some people drive miles and miles to get blessed. We do not need people who want to get blessed, but people who want to be a blessing." (pp. 57-58)

"prove yourselves"-"observe, not only "do", but be doers: the substantive means more than the verb; it carries an enduring, a sort of official force with it; "let this be your occupation"" (Alford p. 1599) "go on being or becoming", "show yourselves more and more" (1 Corinthians 14:20; Ephesians 5:1). "It is a subtle distinction, but well worth noting, that James wrote "be ye doers of the word" (KJV), rather than merely "do the word". This way of stating it places emphasis upon the kind of person the Christian is to be, not just some act he is to perform." (Kent p. 65) Again, note where the responsibility is placed-upon the individual Christian. Some people "do" portions of what the word teaches, but they don"t enjoy or love the message itself, and especially the God who gave it. Jesus pointed out that if we love God with our whole being, we will naturally want to do our very best in carrying out every command He has given (Matthew 22:37-40).

"doers of the word"-the tense denotes continuous action, "keep on demonstrating yourselves". Jesus wasn"t impressed by those who "say and do not" (Matthew 23:3; Matthew 7:21; Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:46). Jesus believed in doing what God said (John 8:31-32). Christianity was never meant to be merely a theory. Christianity is not for those looking for just a mental exercise. See also John 3:21; 1 John 1:6; 1 John 2:3-5.

"not merely hearers"-"It would be well for us to take notice of the fact that the hearer only of which James speaks is not a person who listens with little or no interest; on the contrary…denotes those who listen avidly and feel great interest in the things being presented, but who think that the blessing therein derives from the listening.." (Woods p. 86) Christians need to be reminded that they are "disciples", followers, adherents! Mere listeners are not disciples.

"who delude themselves"-The Bible often warns us against being deceived and deceiving ourselves (Colossians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 6:9). God doesn"t miraculously protect the Christian from believing what is false.

Points To Note:

1. And often we are the only one who is deceived when we aren"t practicing the truth---others can see our hypocrisy. 2. Too many professed Christians come and study their Bibles, say spiritual things in class or in their prayers, who are very unspiritual at home or at work. "If his conduct does not match his Christian profession, his hypocrisy rarely fools his friends and neighbors, and it never deceives God." (Kent p. 66)


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Bibliography
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/james-1.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

be = become.

hearers. Greek. akroates. Only here, verses: James 1:23, James 1:25. Romans 2:13.

deceiving. Greek. paralogizomai, to deceive by false reasoning. Only here and Colossians 2:4.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on James 1:22". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/james-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

Qualification of "be swift to hear."

Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only - not merely 'do,' but 'be doers' systematically and continually, as your regular business. James again refersto the sermon on the mount (Matthew 7:21-29).

Deceiving your own selves , [ paralogizomenoi (Greek #3884)] - by the logical fallacy that the mere hearing is all that is needed.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/james-1.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

Do not fool yourself. "You do not practice what you preach because you think the Scriptures are a good-luck charm, and that if you listen to them being read, you will have life. But you are only fooling yourself, because you must put it into practice! (Matthew 7:24-27,)"


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on James 1:22". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/james-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(22) Doers of the word.—Acting up to the full of their knowledge, whether gained by the spoken or the written Word of God. There is a force in the original sentence, which our own language cannot supply. The term “deceiving” is the contrary of that rendered “word,” and means its corruption; the Word which is the source of knowledge and life may be so handled as to cause error and death. No acquaintance with the Bible, apart from the practice of its precepts, will avail the Christian any more than it did the Jew. “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers shall be justified” (Romans 2:13). Those who deceive themselves may not altogether be hypocrites; there is a subtler danger of being blind, and nevertheless exclaiming “We see.” (Comp. John 9:41.)


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/james-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
be
4:17; Matthew 7:21-25; 12:50; 28:20; Luke 6:46-48; 11:28; 12:47,48; John 13:17; Romans 2:13; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:17; 1 John 2:3; 3:7; 3 John 1:11; Revelation 22:7
deceiving
26; Isaiah 44:20; Obadiah 1:3; 1 Corinthians 3:18; 6:9; 15:33; Galatians 6:3,7; 2 Timothy 3:13; Titus 3:3; 2 Peter 2:13; 1 John 1:8; Revelation 12:9

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on James 1:22". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/james-1.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Even a good seed that is implanted in the soil will produce no fruit unless it becomes active. So the engrafted word will be fruitless unless the receiver of it becomes active and does What it directs. It is a matter of self-deception to imagine that hearing the Word is all that is required to be acceptable to the Lord. Even men will not be deceived (much less the Lord) by such a character, for it will be apparent to all that such a person is not producing anything useful to others.


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Bibliography
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on James 1:22". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/james-1.html. 1952.

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

"Doers" is a word that is translated well, but there is an aspect of it that I really like. Doer of the Word is quite adequate, but there is the aspect of "perform" that is there as well. Be a doer, but also be a performer of the Word, not as in acting or faking, but as in perform the Word, put it across in your life as if it is the desire to do the very best that you can. To do something, you simply do it, while if you perform it you are really throwing yourself into the matter, giving it the best that you can.

James uses the imperative here so this is a command, not a suggestion. Be performers of the Word, not just hearers of the Word. Oh, the many in our churches today that are listeners, that are hearers that are taking in all there is to take in but few there are today that are doers of the Word.

Many listen to the word, many hear it, many may even take notes, but to put those ideas into action is another thing, something that only a few ever do. There are two basic reasons for a believer to be a hearer only. First there is the simple fact of not being interested in applying the Word to themselves, and secondly there is the fact that in many churches the leadership will not allow anyone but their pet people do anything in the church. Many leaders would rather work a few to death and leave the rest to sit and do little in the church.

The opposite is often true as well. There are leaders that will use anyone that comes along, whether they are qualified, whether they are living in sin or anything else - they just want workers and anyone will do. They allow people that are living in open sin to work in the church. We knew a man that was near criminal in his business dealings - a fact known to the entire congregation, yet this man led the singing, and led the services when the pastor was gone and was involved in many other areas of the church.

There is an inherent falsehood in those that hear only. They deceive themselves into thinking they are spiritual. The following verses make it plain that the person that hears only sees himself for what he really is spiritually and goes away thinking he is spiritual because he forgets immediately what he has seen in the Word.

When we hear or read the Word we see the standard set and automatically know we don"t meet the standard, but as soon as we go about our business we forget that little detail and go on as we were. On the other hand, however, if we see the standard and realize we don"t meet it, then go home and change our lives to be in conformity with the standard, then we have heard, and we have done, and we are more spiritual than before and most likely will be performing that Word in our everyday lives.

There is a dual problem, we do not correct our lives and we think we are spiritual. A double whammy in that if we think we are spiritual, we will tend to listen even less the next time the Word speaks to us in that area of our life.

There is an Old Testament account that illustrates this well. Cain brought of the fruit of the field, while Abel brought the first fruits. Abel brought what was commanded and Cain brought what he wanted to bring. Abel found himself right before God and Cain found himself in trouble with God. Both looked upon the truth given and one followed it while the other rejected it and did what he wanted to do.


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Bibliography
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on James 1:22". "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sdn/james-1.html.


Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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