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A. (:19A) No New Truth Here (No Surprises)

“This you know, my beloved brethren.”

Knowledge is not the end all. We need to be reminded; we need to be encouraged; but ultimately the only thing that matters is whether we implement God’s truth.

B. (:19B-20) Make Calm Listening a Priority — An Attentive Heart is a Receptive Heart

1. “But let everyone be quick to hear”

Be objective about God’s truth; not emotional in your evaluation;

Listening is a valuable skill that we should all work to improve

2. “slow to speak”

Prov. 10:19; 17:27

God gave you two ears and only one mouth so that you would listen twice as much as you talk. Some people just babble on; hard to get a word in; they are thinking only of their response instead of listening. (Zeno quoted by Barclay)

Zodhiates: “Once a young man came to that great philosopher Socrates to be instructed in oratory. The moment the young man was introduced, he began to talk, and there was an incessant stream for some time. When Socrates could get in a word, he said, ‘Young man, I will have to charge you a double fee.’ ‘A double fee, why is that?’ The old sage replied, ‘I will have to teach you two sciences. First, how to hold your tongue, and then, how to use it.’ What an art for all of us to learn, especially for Christians.”

Barclay: “The tribute was once paid to a great linguist that he could be silent in seven different languages. Many of us would do well to wait and listen more, and to rush in and speak less.”

3. “slow to anger” — Why? To accomplish God’s goal of establishing you in His righteousness

“For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”

If we respond to God’s Word in anger we miss the opportunity to humbly receive the conviction we need in order to repent and grow.

C. (:21A) Put Aside Sinful Distractions — A Clean Heart is a Receptive Heart

1. “Therefore putting aside all filthiness”

2. “and all that remains of wickedness”

Zodhiates: “Sin in our lives is like having wax in our ears; it prevents the Word of truth from reaching our hearts; for if it cannot penetrate through the ear, it will not come down to the heart.”

D. (:21B) Receive the Word of God in Humility — A Humble Heart is a Receptive Heart

1. Attitude: “in humility”

Mitton: “In general it may be said to mean a full consecration to an unselfish purpose to the complete exclusion of self-seeking and self-assertion, and of any spirit of resentment and retaliation. It is a spirit which enables a man to learn from others and to accept with glad contentment whatever the pursuit of God’s will brings to him. Here it means primarily a readiness to learn, to accept correction, to submit one’s life uncomplainingly to the total control of God. It stands in contrast to ‘anger’ and ‘malice’ both of which come into existence only when the human will is exerted in defiance of God’s.”

2. Action: “receive the word implanted”

cf. the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:1-9); only one type of soil bears any fruit; requires a receptive heart

cf. football analogy of a receiver: what causes dropped passes?

– not looking the ball into the hands

– taking eyes off the ball; looking at circumstances around me

– getting distracted

– running the wrong route; not prepared to receive the ball

– requires good hands

Barclay: “The teachable spirit is docile and tractable, and therefore humble enough to learn. The teachable spirit is without resentment and without anger, and is, therefore, able to face the truth, even when the truth hurts and condemns. The teachable spirit is not blinded by its own overmastering prejudices, but is clear-eyed to the truth. The teachable spirit is not seduced by laziness, but is so self-controlled that it can willingly and faithfully accept the discipline of learning. Prautes describes the perfect conquest and control of everything in a man’s nature which would be a hindrance to his seeing, learning and obeying the truth.”

3. Anticipation: “which is able to save your souls”

Vaughan: “(Compare Acts 20:32, where it is stated that the word of God’s grace is ‘able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance.’) The reference is to the Christian’s final and complete salvation. The Word of God, welcomed and rooted in the Christian’s heart, is used by the Spirit to promote holiness, stimulate spiritual growth, develop character, and generally produce the things that accompany salvation. In this way it is ‘able to save.'”


A. The Proof is in the Doing

“But prove yourselves doers of the word”

B. The Deception is in the Hearing without Implementation

“and not merely hearers who delude themselves”

Wiersbe: “It is not enough to hear the Word; we must do it. Many people have the mistaken idea that hearing a good sermon or Bible study is what makes them grow and get God’s blessing. It is not the hearing but the doing that brings the blessing. Too many Christian mark their Bibles, but their Bibles never mark them! If you think you are spiritual because you hear the Word, then you are only kidding yourself.”

Mitton: “This section is an emphatic warning against sentimental and unpractical religion. There is a kind of religious man who can enjoy listening to a preacher, and being present at a public act of prayer, but fails to translate his faith into effective action in daily life, fails to make obedience to Christ in the common acts of life the essential feature of his religion which it ought to be.”


A. (:23-24) Forgetful Hearer — Inspection Without Correction

“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.”

Ross: “The mirror of the Word of God never flatters; that is why some do not like to gaze too long or too often into it.”

B. (:25) Effectual Doer — Implementation (Obedient Activity) Yields Productivity

“But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.”

There is great freedom in obeying the Word of God — Ps. 119:45; John 8:31-34

Tasker: “It is not therefore something imposed upon the believer from without in the form of a code of external rules and regulations. It is not for him a dead letter but a living power. It would seem to be called the law of liberty partly because it enables men to find their true freedom in the service of God’s will, and partly because the believer accepts it without any compulsion. The Christian loves God’s commandments and is eager to obey them.”