|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:22-25 If we heard a sermon every day of the week, and an angel from heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in hearing only, it would never bring us to heaven. Mere hearers are self-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before us the corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives; and it will tell us plainly what we are. Our sins are the spots the law discovers: Christ's blood is the laver the gospel shows. But in vain do we hear God's word, and look into the gospel glass, if we go away, and forget our spots, instead of washing them off; and forget our remedy, instead of applying to it. This is the case with those who do not hear the word as they ought. In hearing the word, we look into it for counsel and direction, and when we study it, it turns to our spiritual life. Those who keep in the law and word of God, are, and shall be, blessed in all their ways. His gracious recompence hereafter, would be connected with his present peace and comfort. Every part of Divine revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christ for salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk at liberty, by the Spirit of adoption, according to the holy commands of God. And mark the distinctness, it is not for his deeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed. It is not talking, but walking, that will bring us to heaven. Christ will become more precious to the believer's soul, which by his grace will become more fitted for the inheritance of the saints in light.
Verse 22. - They are not merely to receive and hear the Word; they must also act upon it. Compare St. Paul's teaching in Romans 2:13, "For not the hearers (ἀκροαταὶ) of a law are just before God, but the doers of a law shall be justified." Ἀκροατής occurs nowhere else except in these passages. Deceiving your own selves (παραλογίζειν); to lead astray by false reasonings; only here and in Colossians 2:4. Not uncommon in the LXX.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire 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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. Qualification of the precept, "Be swift to hear": "Be ye doers … 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 (Mt 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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