“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. ” -{James 1:19-21}

One way we define a follower of the LORD Jesus who walks with Him, is that they walk in alignment with His Word, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,Nor stand in the path of sinners,Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LordAnd in His law he meditates day and night.”-{Psalm 1:1-2}. “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD. “-{Psalm 119:1}. “Walk” speaks of lifestyle, habitual way they live is in accordance and alignment with His Word. This is basic, to walk with the LORD is to walk in submission to His Word. To live having their mind conformed, changing to align with His Word. His truth what is molding, influencing, permeating the thinking so as to make decisions that are aligned with His Word. {Read Rom 12:2; Phil 4:8-9}. It is to know His will and do it and this He reveals in His Word. So we become a people of His Word to know Him and do His will as revealed in His Word!  Saving faith can be seen  in regards a persons attitude towards God’s Word…Desiring, Delighting, Doing it!  A person’s attitude towards His Word shines light on their spiritual condition. James shows a proper response to His Word and also a proper relation to it.  The key word is “receive” in v 21. They “know” the power of the Word that saved them {v 18} and they “Know” the power of The Word that is changing them, they must  continue to yield to His Word which is able to bring about Spiritual growth 

He commands and wants us to be “Quick to listen” to His Word.. It means “be quick to the hearing.” The idea is to be eager to hear His Word, concerning Him, His will, His ways.

“Be Slow To Speak.”-  Again a command. A willingness to submit to His Word. The literal meaning is “slow for the speaking.” He is speaking about being eager to hear His Word and slow to be the speaker, slow to stand up and speak for God, His Word without knowing what He says. If you are not knowing what it says or are unprepared then don’t, less you misrepresent Him. But don’t stop there. Learn and follow what Paul told Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”- {2 Timothy 2;15}. We must not be flippant, or careless when it comes to God’s Word. Near enough is not good enough. A Little like NASA deciding to send a rocket to the moon and saying that they are only a few degrees off when they will take off. But those few degrees if it is followed on that course as it heads into space will be further and further off its target and will miss it in the end to terrible detrimental, catastrophic consequences, because near enough is not good enough in the physical realm how much more in the spiritual realm where you are dealing with peoples eternal destination and representing the one true and Living God and what he says! Ezra shows us the seriousness of his pursuit, “This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the LORD and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel. Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra.”-{Ezra 7:10 NLT}. Ezra’s study was His Word to obey and also to teach not his opinion or “interpretation,”…”  some people have their own interpretation as verbalized  with “what it means to me,” this is gross misinterpretation and placing them self in the place of God as the interpreter of His Word. This issue is what  does the Word say and mean from God’s perspective!. Some people read a verse and take from it what they want it to say and build a teaching, a belief system around their desired “interpretation,” rather than what it does mean! That is dangerous, dishonoring to the LORD, and can lead people astray. Paul told Timothy, “…accurately handling the word of truth.”-{2 Tim 2:15}.  Not haphazardly, carelessly, but “accurately.”…” Be slow to speak!”

If you are unprepared then you are not prepared!

To have a young believer pushed or even themselves volunteer to speak on behalf of the LORD and not knowing what He says from His Word is unfair to them, the hearers and indeed a way of using His Name in vain, which is to disrespect, dishonor and misrepresent Him other than whom He is and what he says and thinks on an issue Him.  Sometimes over the years I have seen it with athletes in the past, they are pushed forward in the false belief they their sharing can “save” people. It is as though because they are successful in their natural arena of sports therefore they can be”successful” in the spiritual realm, they have the same power!That logic is flawed, deluded, no mater how sincere the person may be who thinks that way. Spiritual problems are solved only by spiritual means, The Spirit of God, The Word of God and the person used by Him to share accurately the truth. No man or woman can “save” anyone! No, only Jesus saves. ” There is salvation in no other Name… and you shall call His Name Jesus and HE will save His people from their sins”-{Read Acts 4:12; Matt 1:21}. Often these athletes are put and pushed forward and are not trained, skilled in His Word and it is unfair to them and the hearer and detrimental to the hearer and can lead them astray with false teaching and application! James said, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”-{James 3:1}. Take stock, slow down, be careful, don’t be in a rush! Be careful about stepping into the place of teaching. There is great responsibility and accountability. In James 3:1-17 he speaks about teaching, there must have been a problem with many wanting to be and yet not having their tongue under control. James 4:6 speaks about the proud. They were speaking evil of others. They had opinions, there was infighting, quarrels. Why? What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?  You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.-{James 4:1-3}. Why the fighting? Because of what was within them and came out in opinions, strife and all kinds of evil.

So we are to be eager to hear the Word every time we can and be slow in wanting to be a Teacher, if not equipped. But if you are compelled to teach, then submit to God and give yourself to the accurate study of His Word…like a workman, laboring to give the right, accurate interpretation of what the LORD says. BE PREPARED! Don’t bluff! IF you cannot rightly divide the WORD, do not step forward to teach it! Or think of the number of “business” people who are pushed forward to teach a Sunday school class as if somehow their business know how transfers into spiritual giftedness, when in deed it does not! People can get positions of teaching  as though somehow it is a badge of promotion, or influence or achievement, recognition. It can be seen as being ‘spiritual,’ when it is not. It is possible to be a teacher and yet not be teachable! Holding a position does not represent one’s spiritual condition as the Pharisees in Matthew 23:1-3 testify to.They taught the people, but they themselves were not teachable.

We are to Receive the Word of God, believe it and manifested in the way we behave! “The Righteousness of God”, being right with Him, in alignment with His Word, that which pleases Him is the outcome and manifestation of the life on an habitual basis!

We are to receive His Word and not be hostile, resentful towards Him, or it, or those who share just because we do not like what it says, or convicts us. For in rejecting and being resentful and in doing so it has devastating effect on our relationship to Him, His Word and others.

God has a goal in mind that we receive His Word and apply it to our living in our relationship with Him and indeed others. But there are times we may hear His Word and not like it. Indeed to resent what we hear, or be angry with those who share it. We have to guard against such attitudes as they inhibit us from living the life that God desires for us, namely the righteousness of God, that which is pleasing and in alignment with Him! And in this passage He tells us this is impossible to “achieve” through being angry. Anger shortcuts achieving the righteousness of God!

“FOR” – Gives the reason why anger does not work in bring about righteous living that God desires in our lives.

“ANGER”- This type of anger is one only you and the LORD know about. It is a deep seated anger of resentment that is harbored deep beneath the surface. The word “orge from orgaô = to teem, to swell, is the picture of a swelling that eventually bursts. This anger comes from deep within, from a settled deep resentment, that smolders under the surface of the person. The word here speaks of a deliberate, deep, persistent attitude of HOSTILITY…REJECTION… RESENTMENT. It is not a fleeting anger but deep seated and long held resentment, hostility, rejection, against the Scripture and those who speak the Word because you do not like what you hear, or it convicts of sin!  The deep resentment, rejection, inward HOSTILITY towards His Word and or those who speak His Word does not produce what He desires, which is, the righteousness of God, the life that pleases Him!

Be careful when you hear the WORD and if you hear something you do not like, or convicts you of sin, you build up  resentment, rejection of the WORD.

“MAN”- can speak of mankind, of any person and not just to the male. For none are immune from this sin mentioned here of  deep seated, persistent, hostility, resentful anger, and the temptation to yield to it, embrace it and live it, and to those who do, God says “will not achieve the righteousness of God.”

“ACHIEVE”- {ergazomai from érgon = work} . The word  was used of a person toiling energetically, laboring in a vineyard. It speaks of hard work, actively involved. Ergazomai is present tense  and is speaking of habitual activity and when placed alongside  the absolute negative “ou”  gives a resolute fact, which never changes, always true namely that the anger of a person, man or woman, boy or girl, never brings about a righteous life or righteous living!  Anger does not practice the things which God approves!

“RIGHTOEUSNESS”– (dikaiosune from dikaios = being proper or right in the sense of being fully justified being in accordance with what God requires)It speaks of conforming to a standard or that which is norm. In this case the standard which is right and acceptable with God. The word “Righteousness” comes from a root word that means “STRAIGHTNESS.” GOD is the standard and measures all by His standard. He defines the standard for He is the standard, and anything that is not in alignment, not straight, from His perspective is unrighteous, immoral. Righteousness is a moral issue. Here He is speaking of the behavior that meets His standard. He is speaking about our behavior. The anger of  a person does not produce the righteousness that pleases God when the Word of God is resisted, rebelled against!

This settled persistent anger, settled resentment, needs to be acknowledged as our own sin and to be Repented of and Replaced with HIS WORD and applied to our life. For such attitudes are not good for the soil of the heart to sow His Word in us that it might produce the fruit of obedience to God.

Remember God’s goal is that we receive His Word willingly, and not with hostility, but understand it so it may have its effect to produce the righteousness of God in the way we conduct ourselves, His righteousness displayed through us, so that we believe and we behave accordingly. Living life that God approves and accepts is the goal and it is right in alignment with His Word!

To Receive His Word speaks of a receptivity to willingly submit to it


RECEIVE HIS WORD- Obeying His command to be”Quick to Hear.”- Be eager to hear it in order to be a “Doer” of the Word. -{v 22}. Receive implies hearing His Word with eagerness, purity, humility,-{v21}. But it is not enough to hear clearly but we must apply and “be doers,” submitting and obediently to it.- {v 22}. “Be Doers” is present imperative verb is, be continually doing, keep on striving to be Doers of His Word. So we Receive through hearing and applying. We listen with the intent to apply, otherwise we are part of those who “deceive yourselves.” Some equate hearing the same as doing, which is not but is self deceiving! They believe if they “know” what the truth is then they are fine, that is all that is needed, the accumulating of facts and knowing what it says,means and that is sufficient. On one occasion I had a dear friend who in the midst of trials spoke of his spouse knowing all that was needed but he never connected the “dots” that it is not enough to know truth but it is the practicing, consistent of the doing of the truth which is what is to be the acceptable end with God! Otherwise hearing as the end is self deception!

The word “deceive” is ” paralogizomai ” and means to “reason beside, alongside” and when used outside of Scripture as a mathematical term meant to “miscalculate,” to think wrongly.  To hear the Word and not do it is to miscalculate, to wrongly reason!

To Hear the Word and not do it is to take the way of self deception, the deceptive way!

The danger is we hear so much we confuse that with doing so little.Confusing hearing the Word, the truth as though knowing it is the same as applying, doing it and ending up being self deceived. The truth is given not as an end in itself but to bring about transformation.  We are to be “Doers” of the Word as the habit of our lives! This is a consistency. Not perfection, but the bent of the life is a believer is one whose life is characterized by obeying God’s Word! “A Doer and not just a hearer of the WORD. Hearing is important it is the means to the end which is obeying it!


It reminds me of the leaders of a church when they would invite someone to speak at their church if they liked what he said they gave him a specific amount of money, if they didn’t they gave him less. The issue is not if they liked it but was it truth! They sat like judges in a show giving points out based on their preferences. It is possible go to church or listen to someone and set yourself up as an adjudicator, there to judge and the danger is that is what we become, adjudicators and not doers of what we hear!  A “CRITIC” but not Committed to applying the Word! The test of saving faith is the willingness to eagerly receive His Word and DO IT consistently, as the habit of the life!

RELUCTANT TO TEACH HIS WORD, – A Command, be “Slow to speak.” Don’t take it upon yourselves to speak for God when you are unsure what God says from His Word, UNLESS you are  prepared. If not equipped, do not do so. There is a great responsibility and accountability in teaching. God will hold you accountable. “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.“-{James 3:1}. But do not end there but study it, to know Him and His Word to do it and share with others. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.-{2 Timothy 2;15}. Give yourself to His Word handling it accurately. a workman who need not be ashamed. So prepare yourself just as Ezra did.-{Read Ezra 7;10} In Nehemiah 8 the people called on Ezra who had prepared himself to teach them God’s Work. Your preparation is for yourself but also you never study for yourself, god will give you opportunities to share one on one with others or with more people. But be prepared! How? Get in the Word and allow the Word to get in you to change you and equip you for His service!  Reluctant to teach until you are Ready to speak for God based on knowing what HIS Word SAYS  as revealed in His WORD. When the Bereans heard Paul speak they diligently searched the Scriptures to see if what he said was true! That is a good place to start! {Read Acts 17:10-15}

REJECT BEING ANGRY- Be slow to be angry in the Resistance towards the Word when it convicts you, or you disagree, or do not like what it says, or those who teach it!

RECEIVE THE WORD – Instead receive with a warm welcome His Word with eagerness,”quick to hear,”-{v19}; purity,-{v21}; humility-{v21} and obediently!-{v 22,}. Be an effectual doer– {25}. And practice love towards the needy -{v 27}.

Memorize – James 1:19-20.

As you do, the Holy Spirit can bring to your remembrance so when in times of temptation you can recognize, reject the temptation and do His Word with His goal in mind!

Pray it – For yourself and for others.

Practice it – Be a doer of the Word.