No shortage of Bible studies fills book stores and web sites, offering up unique topics and teachings about God’s Word. You are reading one right now. God wants us to read and hear His message of grace and truth. But He wants us to do more than that: He expects us to act upon what we’ve learned.
This passage opens with a warning still repeated—and needed—in modern culture: “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Anger, James says, does not produce godly righteousness. Listening, with patience and perseverance, allows us to receive “with meekness” the word of God. We find the source of abundant life in the scriptures, not in our own impulsive, selfish emotions.
James is writing to religious people. They know God’s law. But James keeps pushing them, and us, to take the next step. Don’t just hear it—do it! Don’t just reject the immorality of the culture around you, but also be careful about your own anger and pride. Let your faith show up in your actions.
Do you think of religion as a good thing or not? Do you think your colleagues consider religion a good thing? A lot of people these days consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” To them, religion seems narrow, restrictive, maybe even hateful toward people outside the religion. But when believers behave according to the Bible’s teaching, we look for opportunities to care for those people around us, especially those in the most need.
And beyond that, are you careful about what you say? Maybe you consider yourself religious, too. Maybe you have been a Christian for some time now. You have this faith thing figured out. But James keeps pushing us to put feet to our words, to live what we say we believe.
So what is the next step for you? What issue is James calling you to confront?