James 1:25

New Testament

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. 20 For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 21 So put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. 23 For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was. 25 But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out—he will be blessed in what he does. 26 If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile.

Pirkei Avot 5:12


12 There are four types of disciples: Quick to comprehend, and quick to forget: his gain disappears in his loss; Slow to comprehend, and slow to forget: his loss disappears in his gain; Quick to comprehend, and slow to forget: he is a wise man; Slow to comprehend, and quick to forget, this is an evil portion. 13 There are four types of charity givers. He who wishes to give, but that others should not give: his eye is evil to that which belongs to others; He who wishes that others should give, but that he himself should not give: his eye is evil towards that which is his own; He who desires that he himself should give, and that others should give: he is a pious man; He who desires that he himself should not give and that others too should not give: he is a wicked man. 14 There are four types among those who frequent the study-house (bet midrash):He who attends but does not practice: he receives a reward for attendance. He who practices but does not attend: he receives a reward for practice. He who attends and practices: he is a pious man; He who neither attends nor practices: he is a wicked man.

 Notes and References

"... People who profess religious belief while neglecting their charitable duties to those in need are too common a phenomenon to require any special explanation in this case. But there may be particular significance in the fact that James quotes the monotheism of the Shema‘ as the belief they profess (2:19). The general point James is making was more often expressed as the danger of hearing but not practising (Ezek. 33:30–32; Philo, Praem. 79; Matt. 7:24–27; Luke 6:46–49; Rom. 2:13; compare m. ’Avot 5:14; Josephus, Ant. 20.44). James himself calls attention to this danger elsewhere (1:22–25). Another form of inconsistency is telling others what to do without doing it oneself (Matt. 23:2–4; Rom. 2:17–24; compare m. Avot 1:17). Also quite common in ancient literature, Jewish and pagan, is the danger of practising piety before God without righteousness towards people (Verseput 1997b). This brings us quite close to James (especially in view of 1:26–27), but the specific attitude to which James calls attention in 2:14–19 is not reliance on cultic service of God without practice of righteousness but relying on belief without practice ..."

Bauckham, Richard James: Wisdom of James, Disciple of Jesus the Sage (p. 126) Routledge, 1999

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.