Bible Discussion Thread

  • Diannq on James 1
    I have heard James 1:22 often and kept it in my heart. Be he does of the word and not heaters only. We can hear a verse all our lives and never really know the true meaning until one day God gives us a ha ha moment. To think how that happens! I missed the real meaning...Be he doers of the word is the part I wasn't getting. So what is the true meaning of "be he does of the word?" If we just hear and are never afflicted or challenged what is the profit? If we never take some spiritual morsel away what does it profit to just hear? One of my problems growing up is I was taught to be a hearer, to be quiet, to listen but never given direction on doing. I can promise me that I will never just be a hearer but will be a does of the word. Counsel, direction and constant study await those who look for spiritual guidance.
  • Jesse - in Reply on James 1

    I would like to share with you my understanding of James 1:22. James gives us the explanation in James 1:23 of who a doer is. The person who is a hearer only, hears the law, he has the law convict him and prove to him that he is a sinner, but he goes away and forgets what kind of man he is.

    The person who is the doer of the word is the person who continues in the word. That is, the word has shown him his sinfulness, and his need for Christ, and he doesn't forget that. He pursues!

    So a doer of the word in my understanding doesn't mean that I take my bible and go out and do it, which is a major teaching in the western world because we are "works" oriented.

    But in context, he's talking about the Jewish person who hears the law and says amen, and then he walks out and forgets what kind of person he is.

    In principle it would also apply to the Gentiles, to go and hear the word, understand what it says, see my part in it, hear what God has to say to me, and then leave and just forget the whole thing and not continue in it. We are to continue in it, pray about it, and continue to read it over, asking God to work it out!
  • Adam - in Reply on James 1
    Hi Jesse, I'd like to offer a different perspective on your comment:

    >"So a doer of the word in my understanding doesn't mean that I take my bible and go out and do it"

    If the good Samaritan followed this advice he would not have stopped to help the injured man. Luke 10:25-37 Maybe he would have walked on by because he already knew who he was in his own mind, and didn't want to risk being 'legalistic' or obedient, as if that's a bad thing. Reminds me of a Pharisee- who felt self-righteous but didn't have good deeds as fruit that show their faith in action.

    Matt 25:40 comes to mind: " ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

    The push to not be obedient or do good works seems contradictory to this verse: James 1:22 and so many others throughout the Bible - would God tell us we don't need to obey Him and to not do what He says, or would someone else be behind this? Who is the most likely source that tells us that being good is bad and doing bad is good?

    Matthew 25 and basically most of Jesus' parables were about the same thing: being prepared, because a day will come and we will be separated and judged and accountable for our actions. The foolish virgins were unprepared and did nothing. The bag of gold parable Jesus called the one who did nothing but hid the gold "wicked and slothful." Jesus said about the ones who did nothing (no works) to help others sent them to hell: Matt 25:44-46

    Jesus also said about obedience: John 14:15.

    To anyone claiming good deeds and works is 'bad' notice that the Bible is full of instruction to do good deeds and works. One would have to ignore nearly the entire Bible in order to come to such a conclusion. If our actions didn't' matter then the Bible wouldn't have continually said it DOES matter and we will literally be judged for it. We are saved by grace, we don't earn heaven, but Christianity is a verb = action.

    2 Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:12, Gal 5:13, Matthew 10:42
  • Jesse - in Reply on James 1

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. It's nice to be able to come and share our perspectives. You ask me about my statement that a doer of the word doesn't mean that I take my bible and go out and do it, so please allow me to explain myself. I gave the context on James 1:22, but perhaps I could have simplified it some.

    What I'm trying to show is the difference between a "hearer" and a "doer" of the word. What I'm also showing is the difference between a true believer (one who has been born of God's Spirit), and a person who claims to be a believer or Christian, but has never been born of the Spirit.

    A hearer only is someone who hears the word but has never applied it to his/her heart, and the consequence is that they never produce any spiritual fruit. Sure, they might go out and do "good" things because, you know, "the bible tells me to." But that's the wrong approach to take. If a person does good out of human ambition, or they feel obligated to, God's not going to reward them for that.

    The only good we can do that is pleasing to God is when we are being persuaded by His Spirit to do good. There are two words for good in the Greek text that we must be able to differentiate between. One is human good (Kalos). And the good that is produced by, and is the result of God's Spirit working in a believer's life and persuading the believer to do good is (Agathos).

    When we do good, are we doing it because God's Spirit is persuading us to do it? Or are we doing it because the bible tells us to do it, so we better "get busy" and start doing it? There is a difference, and God will only reward us for one of these two.

    One is works-based, and the other is produced by God's Spirit. The "hearer only" cannot produce spiritual good. The doer is the one who both hears the word, applies it to his/her heart, and then submits to the persuasion of God's Spirit working through them to produce the good. But He produces it, we don't!

    Hopefully, I've explained myself?
  • Adam - in Reply on James 1
    Hi Jesse,

    Thank you for your added detail.

    I'm not sure where you get this idea though: "There is a difference, and God will only reward us for one of these two."

    It sounds like you interpret good works to be bad unless you feel a certain spiritual confirmation before or during the good work activity? How exactly did you come to this understanding and what Bible sources can you cite to say this?

    I find this unusual, because I find life as a Christian has a spiritual component that is hard to separate. I believe something of the 'flesh' is easier to identify, because it usually involves unpure motives and sin. But it sounds like you're suggesting that obeying Jesus (such as doing good works to help others) has unpure motives and you put a screening layer in place which you have to navigate through in order to feel good about obeying Jesus.

    My perspective is different. I feel that obeying Jesus by default is good, and that helping others by default is good, and already is done via spirit and not fleshly. It would be really hard to convince me that doing good is bad, because doing good is all through the Bible. Galatians 6:9, Matthew 5:16, Ephesians 2:10. We're created to do good works and be the light of the World are we not? James 2:14-17, James 4:17, Micah 6:8. I don't think my motives or my mood even matters sometimes, it's not about me, but serving others and being obedient. Selflessness.

    So, my question is: does someone have such a strong filter for all other aspects of life or only when it comes to obeying Jesus and help others? Brushing teeth? Eating a meal? Gassing up a car? Going to work? Watching movies? If the strong filter is only on doing good works, but not on neutral activities, or bad works, then I would think such a perspective seems off balance. Because why should we hesitate only when it comes to doing good and have to pass certain criteria, but have no problem doing anything other than good?

    Let me know if I have misinterpreted your meaning and where you got the idea about good works requiring certain criteria for God to like it? God bless...
  • Jesse - in Reply on James 1
    Hello again Adam,

    I think you are completely misunderstanding what I am saying. Maybe it might help if instead of me further trying to explain what I am saying if I tell you what I am not saying.

    First of all, I am not saying that doing good is bad. I have never said that and I never will. And no, I am not suggesting that obeying Jesus has unpure motives. Hopefully, no one else got that same impression from what I said. If I gave you that impression, then I offer my sincere apologies to you.

    You tell me that your perspective is different and that you feel that obeying Jesus is good and that helping others is good. I agree completely with you on that, so how is my perspective different from yours?

    Please know that I am not trying to convince you that doing good is bad. I would never try and convince anyone of that because I know that would be far from the truth. I don't believe that at all!

    God bless!!!
  • Bill - in Reply on James 1
    The simple answer is being led by the spirit of God .
  • Tom - in Reply on James 1
    Best answer- Yes and amen!! Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God!
  • Richard in Christ - in Reply on James 1
    Hello Jesse,

    Please forgive me as I don't want to get in between the discussion of you & Adam. Though I feel to write my perception on this matter. As I believe it is important to us all.

    To begin I don't feel what you stated about the two Greek words for "good", meaning one is of God and the other of men, is completely accurate. First I would say everything good is of God weather the person knows God literally or not. As Love is of God and those who abide in love are of Him to 1 John 4:7. Now weather that person has been drawn to the light, Jesus Christ, yet is up to God. Also stated in Romans 2:12-15 about how those who do what is right or "good", even though they have not heard the law, shows Gods law written on their hearts. They being obedient to God and not even knowing it.

    Back to the word "good" in the Greek. The two words you gave are the two words used the most for "good" in the NT. G18 and G2570. Though they are not the only words used for simply put "good". We have "cherestotes-G5544", "eudokia-G2107', and "eupoiia-G2140" for a couple others. Showing in Hebrews 13:16 that just because it's not the word "agoth.." doesn't mean God isn't pleased with it.

    Also how in a couple instances like 1 Timothy 6:18, and 1 Timothy 5:10. the words "agoth.." and "kalos" are both used in the same verse.

    Now of coarse what you stated in that if someone seems to be trying to "earn" there way into Heaven, by good works, hopefully they will find out there is only one way and that is Jesus Christ. We have all fallen short in our lives. Thanks be to the Grace of our Father in Heaven He sent us His Son. To now focus on Him and let Him lead the way for us. We need Jesus Christ our Lord just as we need our Father in Heaven.

    God Bless you Jesse. Please don't let my message come to you the wrong way. It is from the heart.
  • Jesse - in Reply on James 1
    Hi Richard,

    You are free to join the conversation anytime as this is an open forum. I completely agree with you that God is good. Perhaps maybe the way we word things (Not just you and me) might cause us to sometimes be in disagreement, even though we might believe the same thing. I only used those two words because I was trying to show the difference between the good of God, and humanitarian good.

    Any time the word good is used when referring to God, it is the word Agathos. Jesus said when answering the man who called Him good master, He said why did you call me Agathos? There is only one who is Agathos, and that is God. This man was speaking to deity and he used the proper word for good.

    I agree that there are a few other words than the two I mentioned, but none of the others can be specifically applied to God Himself. When we say God is good, we are saying God is Agathos. There are words in our English bible where we see a word in English and we only come away with one meaning to that word. Good is just one example.

    Another example would be the word carnal. We see the word carnal in English, and we might assume that carnal is always bad. Well, it can be bad. But did you know a believer can be carnal and it is perfectly normal?

    I understand where you're coming from and I think we do agree on some things. I chose those two words because I believe that Godly good is Agathos, and humanitarian good is Kalos. The other words can also be used, although if I used those words, they would not properly convey the point I was trying to make.

    I am running out of space with so much more to write, but I will cut it off here. You bring up a couple of verses in 1 Timothy that I've not thought about before which is a good thing because it challenges me to search the scriptures, and I do thank you for that.

    God Bless!!!
  • Richard in Christ - in Reply on James 1
    As you stated. If it may be the way we word things we post that may seem we might not see eye to eye. I don't think we are far off from each other. Though really the most important thing is that we are both with the Lord. As some of my other brothers and sisters here may not agree with me fully on everything. That's ok though. Again the most important thing is Jesus Christ. It is good for us to converse and if we do not agree on a certain point that's ok. We are still of the body of Christ and only trying to help one another.

    Just for a couple other Scriptures with some things that are "above", of God, and "agathos" is not used:

    Matthew 5:16 and Matthew 13:37-38. About letting your light shine before men of your "good" works to glorify our Father. That the "good" seed are the children of the Kingdom sowed by the Son of Man.

    John 10:11. Jesus Christ stating He is the "good" Shepherd.

    1 Timothy 2:3. Things being "good" and acceptable in the sight of God.

    Titus 2:14. That we who are redeemed by the Lord be zealous of "good" works.

    Hebrews 6:5. How the Word of God is "good".

    James 2:7. The "worthy" name by which we were called.

    To end I liked this one. Galatians 5:22. Both "agathos.." and "chrestotes" are fruits of the Spirit.

    As I really can't differentiate that only "agathos.." is of the Spirit of God. That being the word Jesus used in Mark 10:18 does not mean to me this is only for Him. As other words like "excellence, righteous, honorable, wonderful, amazing, almighty, glorious, holy, beautiful, perfect, integrity, etc". To me this does not mean we would have to pick only one of these words for God. All of them fit Him perfectly. As I believe in the Greek, and most other languages, they have different words with somewhat of the same meaning.

    God Bless.
  • Carleton - in Reply on James 1
    Hello Adam and Jesse, action is present even at the Cross. The "Word" in the Spanish Bible in John 1:1 is called "el Verbo".

    Says a lot.
  • Jesse - in Reply on James 1
    Thanks, Carleton for sharing that from the Spanish Bible. I did not know that. The word "Word" in the Greek text is the word LOGOS. How would we be able to tie LOGOS in with "el Verbo" to come up with the same meaning of the word "Word"?

    LOGOS is a very special word that began to be used around 600 years before Christ by the Greek philosophers. LOGOS was not just the word, but LOGOS was the thinker behind the universe.

    I guess if "el Verbo" describes an action, and to the Greeks, the LOGOS was known as the "Thinker behind the universe," the action would be God's creation? Just a thought!
  • Carleton - in Reply on James 1
    brother Jesse, I am going to meditate on that thought!

    God bless our faithfulness!
  • Vicente Reodique - in Reply on James 1
    James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. [James is saying that if you fail to obey what you hear spoken by Christ to you from within your heart, you are deceiving yourself that obedience is not essential. Obedience leads to righteousness, and obedience leads to salvation; without obedience you will experience neither.]

    23 For if anyone is only a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror,

    24 Who looks at himself and goes on his way, immediately forgetting what he looked like.

    to be only a hearer of the word and not a doer of the word is to be shown by the Lord some aspect of your slavery to sin, and then to ignore it, continuing in your old way. When a man loves his ways, he cannot hear the Lord's gentle attempts to alert him to his errors. So he blithely continues on his chosen path, which, unless eventually forsaken, leads him to destruction. As Jesus said: But he who hears, and does not [practice my teachings], is like a man who built an house upon the earth without a foundation; against which the torrent struck violently, and immediately it collapsed; and the ruin of that house was great. Luke 6:49. Note "hearers of the word," not readers of the word; James is speaking about hearing the word that is in your heart.
  • Fred Scanlan - in Reply on James 1
    "Visiting the Fatherless and the widows". We see these things mostly with the refugee. More than ever are we afflicted with refugees. The world over ,created mostly from sin. How many homes continue to be destroyed, How many widows are born, how many children wander in the desert wilderness? While the politician can only see himself. The politician, looks always to put the blame somewhere else! He even creates his walls for protection, only for himself! And yet, they say the child is not mine, the cry u hear is someone else's child! The city, even is lost, with no borders that hold righteousness. There is no fear of God, all have gone astray! The scripture, written for our learning and instruction in righteousness, are only words? You too faithless one, will soon will find there are no gates to protect you! Judgment has arrived at the house of Israel!
  • Carleton - in Reply on James 1
    Hi Fred, the climate for staying true if we have been made true by dying to sin and living unto Him (Jesus) seems to ne changing perhaps for the worse. There will aways be a place of refuge for the one who knows Calvary who has repented of sin and desires to be in fellowship with Jesus and fellow saints. The gates of hell will not prevail against her. Now if we mimic her in our lives by never coming to fruition (maturity) with Jesus Christ then judgement may come in this earth. Politicians come and go at the hands of countries that allow voting by their citizens. But are not the true Christians pilgrims and strangers passing through to their new home, New Jerusalem?

This comment thread is locked. Please enter a new comment below to start a new comment thread.

Note: Comment threads older than a month are automatically locked.

Do you have a Bible comment or question?

Please view the Comment Guidelines before posting...

2000 characters remain...