|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 24. - Observe the tenses; literally, He considered (κατενόησε) himself, and has gone away (ἀπελήλυθε), and straightway forgot (ἐπελάθετο) what he was like (compare note on ver. 11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way,.... He takes a slight glance of himself, and departs:
and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was; he forgets either his spots, blemishes, and imperfections; or his comeliness and beauty; the features of his face, be they comely or not: so a bare hearer of the word, who is not concerned to practise what he hears, while he is hearing, he observes some things amiss in himself, and some excellencies in Christ; but, when the discourse is over, he goes his way, and thinks no more of either.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. beholdeth—more literally, "he contemplated himself and hath gone his way," that is, no sooner has he contemplated his image than he is gone his way (Jas 1:11). "Contemplate" answers to hearing the word: "goeth his way," to relaxing the attention after hearing—letting the mind go elsewhere, and the interest of the thing heard pass away: then forgetfulness follows [Alford] (Compare Eze 33:31). "Contemplate" here, and in Jas 1:23, implies that, though cursory, yet some knowledge of one's self, at least for the time, is imparted in hearing the word (1Co 14:24).
and … and—The repetition expresses hastiness joined with levity [Bengel].
forgetteth what manner of man he was—in the mirror. Forgetfulness is no excuse (Jas 1:25; 2Pe 1:9).
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