“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…”
We now come to the third movement of James, chapter 1. The first movement is how a Christian copes with trial; the second is how she copes with temptation, and now the third is how she connects with the Word (1:19-21).
James calls the Word of God by different terms in 1:18-21: “the word of truth,” “the implanted word,” “the word,” “the perfect law of liberty.” This section is overwhelmingly about the Word.
The words “so then” indicate the importance of the following statement – “See this!”
my beloved brethren,
James again communicates his love to his readers, followed by a three-fold instruction. He is not afraid to instruct those he loves. True love carries a commitment to care for others. This is especially true when we teach the Bible, for we must tell others the truth about themselves.
let every man be swift to hear,
Most of us are swift to speak rather than swift to hear. The hearing here has to do with the Word of God. If we do a lot of talking, we will have difficulty in listening to God’s Word.
A growing Christian should possess an attitude of keeping his ears open to God’s Word.
Hunger for the Word is a clear manifestation of someone who wants to know God. In times of crisis, this person turns to the Bible. He looks to the Word for instruction and blessing for he eagerly expects God to minister to him through the Bible.
“But his delight is in the law [the Bible] of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
A person who delights in the Bible hungers for God to speak to her. She does not read the Word because the Christian herd at church expects her to do it. She does it because of her love for God.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:7-9).
“Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed’” (John 8:31).
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Note the attitude of the Thessalonians toward the Word – they listened to the Bible as if it were God was speaking to them personally:
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
David also wanted God to search and know his heart:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).