James exhorts his readers to get rid of the anger and evil in their lives and accept the message God has planted in their hearts. The allusion here is to the Word being a seed and our hearts being the soil. It looks back to the Parable of the Sower that Jesus shared in Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23. The seed of the word is "rooting" itself in our hearts.
If the Word is implanted firmly in our souls, this will be manifested in our works. If there are no works, James says that there is a serious question as to whether there was any faith in the first place. It is not enough to be religious ("the outward practice, the service of a god") and have faith, we need to live a life of faith.
One of the first things that James talks about as evidence of faith is self-control in the area of the tongue (we will talk about that in more detail in James 3). He also talks about other-centeredness when it comes to those less fortunate than us (orphans and widows) and purity in an impure world.
In summary, Warren Wiersbe says we need to be different in the areas of "speech, service, and separation from the world" (The Bible Exposition Commentary: Volume 2, James 1:26-27, p. 349).
Regarding the connection between knowledge and practice, D. Edmond Hiebert writes:
Under this view the verb looks back to what was said in verse 18 and acknowledges that the readers knew the reality of the Word's regenerating power. "But" they must not stop there; they must allow the Word to continue to function in daily life . . . . "But" (de) is best taken as implying a divergence between their knowledge and their practice as Christians. James would remind them that their knowledge of the new birth through the Word must lead to a new life directed by the Word (The Epistle of James: Tests of a Living Faith, p. 123).
I wrote this quote down as I studied James years ago:
"Many believers mark their Bibles
but their Bibles never mark them"
This is why application of Scripture is so important. It isn't enough to listen to, read, observe, meditate, and interpret Scripture. We need to apply it!
"The Scriptures were not given
to increase our knowledge but
to change our lives."
Have you been marked?
Do you find joy in obeying the Word of God, or do you just study it and learn it?
Has the Word been so rooted in your soul that it has gotten from your head to your heart and hands? (I have a great illustration of a "Bible Betty" that I draw for people in my Bible studies to illustrate this point, but I don't know how to replicate that in this blog. I will have to get my son to work on something since he is pretty savvy that way!)
Do you regularly apply the Scriptures? Application is the most important part of Bible Study. Here are some questions to help you learn more about applying the Scriptures to your life:
|I learned this in my early days as a Navigator. I do not know who the original author is.|
There is a fuller explanation about application available for download HERE.
Lord, teach us not only to be hearers of Your Word but doers also. Amen.