James 1:22: The Right Reception of the Word, Part 4

Verse 22: But (Matt. 7:21; Luke 6:46; 11:28; Rom. 2:13; 1 John 3:7) be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.[1]

[Be ye doers (or, effectors [Beza]) of the word (that is, by believing the Gospel, and by obeying the Law [Piscator, thus Gomar]: Thus ποιητὴς νόμου, a doer of the law, Romans 2:13; James 4:11, or, of the word, that is, of the thing signified by the word, like ποιητὴς ἔργου, a doer of the work, in James 1:25 [Gataker]: that is to say, With deeds follow those things that the the Gospel commands [Estius]), and not hearers only] There is a like admonition in Matthew 7:21, 24, 26, in which place see what things have been said (Grotius); and in Romans 2:13, where Paul forewarns the reader, lest he should understand incorrectly the doctrine concerning faith justifying without works, just as James does here (Estius). The Hebrews say, Work is the foundation, not speech. Again, Who is pious? Whoever goes into the Temple, and does what he hears there. Again, concerning a disciple of the wise, He learns so that he might do, not so that he might know or teach (Drusius). The Rabbis say that there are two crowns, one of hearing, one of doing.[2] See Exodus 19:5 (Grotius). Here λόγος/word without the article denotes the word of God. Thus דָבָר/word in Proverbs 13:13[3] (Drusius). He adds here only, for the sake of precision (Gataker).

But be ye doers of the word; the same as doers of the work, verse 25, namely, which the word prescribes; q.d. Receive the word by faith into your hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in your lives: see Luke 11:28; John 13:17. And not hearers only; not contenting yourselves with a bare hearing the word, though it have no influence upon you.

[Deceiving, etc. (thus Erasmus, Illyricus, Pagnine, Montanus, etc.), παραλογιζόμενοι ἑαυτούς] Paralogizing (or, by reasoning falsely deceiving [Beza, Piscator], that is, with certain captious reasonings from the Scripture, or from elsewhere, sought, ensnaring and deceiving, after the manner of Sophists: An example of which he furnishes in the following chapter [Estius]: Παραλογισμὸς/paralogismos is fallacious and captious argumentation: Παραλογίζεσθαι, to deceive, is used like παραφρονεῖν, to be out of one’s senses:[4] It is the same as φρεναπατᾶν, to deceive the mind, Galatians 6:3[5] [Gataker]; and as πλανᾶν, to lead astray, Colossians 2:4;[6] 1 John 1:8;[7] Genesis 29:25;[8] Judges 16:13[9] [Grotius]) your own selves (Estius, etc.). Those that only by the hearing of the word of God, and by professing themselves to be Christians, without pious deeds, hope that they are able to be saved (Grotius, similarly Gataker), deceive, not only others (Gataker), but also themselves (Gataker, Grotius); because contrary to expectation they stray, both from the knowledge of the will and word of God, and of themselves (Gomar); and from the proposed and hoped for goal of the grace of God (Gomar, similarly Piscator, Gataker), and of eternal life (Gomar).

Deceiving your own selves; playing the sophisters with, or putting a fallacy upon, yourselves; particularly, persuading yourselves into a good opinion of your state, merely because of your being hearers of the word, Matthew 7:21.

[1] Greek:  γίνεσθε δὲ ποιηταὶ λόγου, καὶ μὴ μόνον ἀκροαταί, παραλογιζόμενοι ἑαυτούς.

[2] Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sabbath 88a.

[3] Proverbs 13:13:  “Whoso despiseth the word (לְדָבָר) shall be destroyed:  but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

[4] 2 Cornithians 11:23:  “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool [παραφρονῶν]) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.”

[5] Galatians 6:3:  “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself (ἑαυτὸν φρεναπατᾷ).”

[6] Colossians 2:4:  “And this I say, lest any man should beguile (παραλογίζηται) you with enticing words.”

[7] 1 John 1:8:  “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive (πλανῶμεν) ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

[8] Genesis 29:25b:  “…and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me (רִמִּיתָנִי; παρελογίσω με, in the Septuagint)?”

[9] Judges 16:13a:  “And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked (הֵתַלְתָּ; παρελογίσω, in Alexandrinus; ἐπλάνησάς, in the Septuagint) me, and told me lies…”

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