Amplified: So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ASV: Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Barclay: So then strip yourself of all filthiness and of the excrescence of vice, and in gentleness receive the inborn word which is able to save your souls.
Hiebert: Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
KJV: Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
NLT: So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls. NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Have done, then, with impurity and every other evil which touches the lives of others, and humbly accept the message that God has sown in your hearts, and which can save your souls. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Wherefore, having put away every moral uncleanness and vulgarity and wickedness which is abounding, in meekness receive the implanted Word which is able to save your souls. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: wherefore having put aside all filthiness and superabundance of evil, in meekness be receiving the engrafted word, that is able to save your souls;
THEREFORE, PUTTING ASIDE ALL FILTHINESS: dio apothemenoi (AMPMPN) pasan rhuparian: (Isa 2:20; 30:22; Ezek 18:31; Ro 13:12,13; Ep 4:22; Colossians 3:5, 6, 7, 8; Hebrews 12:1; 1Peter 2:1,11) (Filthiness - Jas 4:8; Ezekiel 36:25; 2Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:4)
Hiebert sums up this section of James as…
Therefore (dio) is an inferential conjunction that is also translated "for this reason" (see importance of observing for terms of conclusion). What has James just stated from which he is now drawing to conclusion? In the immediate context, James spoke of accomplishing the righteousness of God. This would be the equivalent of present tense salvation or progressive sanctification. James says in essence they have been saved in James 1:18 (see note - past tense salvation = justification = once for all time completed action in the past - see discussion of the Three Tenses of Salvation). But one who is justified by faith, immediately enters into present tense salvation, which is an ongoing, day by day process, often described in the NT as the Christian "walk". Note well however that both "tenses" of salvation are effected by faith, for we begin the new life in Christ by faith and it is by faith in His sufficiency and supply that we continue this new life of daily dependence and growth in Christ-likeness. And yet we have a responsibility in this "faith life" and here James says it is to put off, so to speak, the dirty filthy garments of the former life.
John MacArthur agrees with this interpretation writing that
Kistemaker writes that James 1:21…
Putting aside all filthiness - This is a vivid word picture. James is saying take off your filthy attitudes and actions (moral defilement) just as you would soiled, smelly garments! The picture is like a snake that sloughs off its dead skin!
Cole - We all bring baggage from our old way of life over into the Christian life. Usually, we’re blind to much of it. We don’t realize that we’re displeasing God by our thoughts, words, or actions. As we begin to read God’s word, it convicts us of areas that we didn’t even know were sin. When this happens, the receptive heart cleans out the crud of sin and puts on the clean clothes of new life in Christ. If you don’t do this, the crud will prevent you from growing as a Christian. (James 1:19-21 A Receptive Heart)
Putting aside (659) (apotithemi from apo = away from, marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association, separation, departure, cessation, any separation of one thing from another by which the union or fellowship of the two is destroyed + tithemi = put, place) means literally to put or take something away from its normal location and thus to put it out of the way (way out of the way!). It was used literally of runners who participated in the Olympic games who stripped off and cast aside their clothes and then ran almost completely naked in the stadium.
Here are the 9 interesting uses of apotithemi in the NT - Mt. 14:3; Acts 7:58; Ro 13:12-note; Ep 4:22-note, Ep 4:25-note; Col 3:8-note; Heb 12:1-note ; Jas 1:21; 1Pe 2:1-note which are translated in the NAS as laid aside(1), lay aside(3), laying aside(1), put(1), put aside(1), putting aside(2). Note that in most of these NT uses, apotithemi is used in an ethical exhortation calling for the reader to divest himself or herself of some undesirable attitude or action.
Poole writes "not only restrain it, and keep it in; but put off, and throw it away as a filthy rag, Isa 30:22."
Putting aside is an aorist participle (in English usually identified by a word that ends in "-ing") which calls for this putting aside to be accomplished as an effective action, by a definite break with the things mentioned. It is the condition that must be fulfilled in order to facilitate the ready reception of the Word as discussed below. James use of the aorist tense here stresses the importance of a once for all putting off of sin prior to receiving God’s Word. James says our filthy, wicked vices are likened to soiled garments which are to be set aside once for all. Using another analogy, it is as if James saw the human heart as a garden. If left to itself, the soil of our wicked hearts inherited from Adam would produce only weeds. James as a good spiritual horticulturist urges us to “pull out the weeds” and prepare the soil for the “implanted Word of God.” Beloved, how doth thy "garden" grow?
Figuratively the idea of apotithemi is to cease doing something as pictured by throwing it of and being done with it. The metaphor for this "negative" duty is putting off like dirty clothes, which James follows with the "positive" duty pictured by the agricultural figure of seed and soil. James emphasizes that the appropriation of the Word of Truth provides the secret of victory in the Christian life.
How is this possible? How can one cast aside these vile influences on our soul? William Kelly explains that…
MacArthur explains putting aside this way…
All (3956)(pas) is comprehensive and means all without exception, this adjective modifying both filthiness and wickedness. Pas denotes "every instance of" filthiness and wickedness. God is not satisfied with partial purity. However, do not misunderstand. James is not teaching spiritual perfection or "entire sanctification". He is speaking to believers who now have can confess their sins to their Father and be cleansed "from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9)
Filthiness (4507) (rhuparia from rhuparós = dirty, filthy) literally means dirt or filth (used to describe dirty garments), but is clearly used metaphorically by James to denote moral uncleanness or impurity. Sordid avarice. State of moral corruption (vulgarity).
Plutarch used rhuparia (like our word "shabbiness") to describe "avarice", which conveys the sense of that which has debased moral value. Moulton and Milligan cite a use in the description of rich men not using their wealth.
Barclay notes that rhuparia
John uses the related verb form rhupoo in Revelation 22 in his description of heaven writing…
Given the derivation discussed above, one person has rendered putting aside all filthiness as "Get rid of all your ear wax"
AND ALL THAT REMAINS OF (abundance of) WICKEDNESS: kai perisseian kakias:
All - The adjective is not present in the Greek but is assumed from the previous use of pas.
Remains of wickedness - The word "remains" sounds like a verb but it is not. The KJV is more literal rendering it "Superfluity of naughtiness". Young's Literal is even more graphic - "superabundance of evil". The idea is that of wickedness present in abundance and thus abounding wickedness - what a horrible picture James paints, especially since he is speaking to new creations in Christ ("the first fruits among His creatures")!
That remains (4050)(perisseia from perissós = over and above) is a noun which means abundance/superabundance, overabundance, excess, superfluity, overflow, surplus. Perisseia is that which is over and above, something that is beyond the ordinary or that which is an exceeding measure or greater than expected amount. In Ecclesiastes (see examples below), perisseia conveys the sense of gain or profit.
Perisseia gives a vivid picture of wickedness which is abounding or abundant. In context James speaks of the vast quantity or abundance of evil that must be removed.
Perisseia is used in striking contrast in the NT with two of the uses describing an abundance of grace and an abundance of joy and here in James an abundance of wickedness.
Here are the 4 uses of perisseia in the NT -
Romans 5:17 (note) For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 8:2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality (or generosity = haplotes - an openness and sincerity in sharing with others).
2 Corinthians 10:15 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men's labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we shall be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you,
James 1:21 Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
There are 11 uses of perisseia in the Septuagint (LXX), all in Ecclesiastes - Eccl. 1:3; 2:11, 13; 3:9; 5:9, 16; 6:8; 7:11, 12; 10:10, 11
Ecclesiastes 1:3 What advantage (Heb = yithron = advantage, profit; Lxx = perisseia) does man have in all his work Which he does under the sun?
Ecclesiastes 2:13 And I saw that wisdom excels (Heb = yithron = advantage, profit; Lxx = perisseia) folly as light excels darkness.
Poole has an interesting perspective writing that the wickedness…
Wickedness (2549)(kakia) refers to the quality of wickedness and thus in a moral sense means depravity, vice or baseness (1Pe 2:16-note, Acts 8:22). It is the opposite of arete (note) and all virtue and therefore lacks social value. It denotes a vicious disposition, evilness, ill-will, spitefulness.
Surprisingly, there are only 11 uses of kakia in the NT - Mt. 6:34; Acts 8:22; Ro 1:29; 1Co. 5:8; 14:20; Ep 4:31; Col 3:8; Titus 3:3; James 1:21; 1Pe 2:1, 16 which are translated in the NAS as evil(3), malice(5), trouble(1), wickedness(2).
John Eadie writes that kakia is a generic term that seems to signify "badhardiness" and is the root of all the previous vices.
In reference to behavior kakia conveys the idea of a mean-spirited or vicious attitude or disposition as indicated by words such as malice, ill-will, hatefulness, and dislike. It is an attitude of wickedness as an evil habit of one's mind. Kakia is used in NT to describe the wickedness which comes from within a person. Malice describes a vicious intention and expresses the desire to hurt another and rejoices in it!
Rogers writes that superfluity of wickedness (kakia)…
Peter uses the same word kakia in a parallel passage preparatory for reception of the pure milk of God's Word…
Note that Peter presents the same spiritual principle of the need to cast off sin and then you will long for the pure milk of the Word.
Separate yourself from the World
In short, James is saying in essence
Before the Word can be effectively welcomed into their lives, the hindering sins must be dealt with.
IN HUMILITY RECEIVE THE WORD IMPLANTED, WHICH IS ABLE TO SAVE YOUR SOULS: en prauteti dexasthe (2PAMM) to emphuton logon: (Receive - Ps 25:9; Is 29:19; 61:1; Zeph 2:3; Mt 5:5; Acts 10:33; 1Th 1:5; 2:13) (Implanted - Jn 6:63,68; Ro 6:17; 11:17; He 4:2 )
In (1722) (en) in the sphere of or influence of an attitude not of weakness but of meekness. Notice that James places "in humility" (or meekness) become the verb "receive", emphasizing the inner attitude that must prepare the "soil" for fruitful reception of the seed of the Word of Truth.
Wiersbe rightly notes that…
Humility (meekness) (4240) (prautes) describes the quality of not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance. Prautes is a quality of gentle friendliness - gentleness, meekness (as strength that accommodates to another's weakness), consideration, restrained patience, patient trust in the midst of difficult circumstances.
The essence of prautes is the opposite of anger (orge) discussed in Jas 1:19, 20. And so prautes in James 1:21 is the humble and gentle attitude which expresses itself in a patient submissiveness to offense, free from malice and desire for revenge.
Hiebert explains that…
There are 11 uses of prautes in the NT - 1Co. 4:21; 2Co 10:1; Ga 5:23; 6:1; Ep 4:2; Col. 3:12; 2Ti 2:25; Titus 3:2; Jas. 1:21; 3:13; 1 Pet. 3:16 which are translated in the NAS as onsideration(1), gentleness(8), humility (1), meekness(1).
Barclay comments on James' use of prautes here writing that
Constable adds that prautes
Trench adds that prautes
Wiersbe makes a good point noting that…
Receive (accept, "welcome") (1209) (dechomai = middle voice of a primary verb) means to to receive something offered or transmitted by another (Lk 2:28), to take something into one's hand and so to grasp (Lk 2:28, 22:17), to be receptive to someone (Mt 10:14, 40) or to take a favorable attitude toward something (Mt 11:14).
Dechomai means to accept with a deliberate and ready reception of what is offered, to receive kindly and so to take to oneself what is presented or brought by another. It means to welcome a teacher, a friend, or a guest into one's house. Dechomai describes accepting the Word with open arms, minds, and hearts.
Dechomai pictures the disciple "putting out the welcome mat" for God's word of truth as one would a good friend or guest, inviting them to come into your house (Luke 10:8,10; Rahab welcomed the spies - Heb 11:31-note). Dechomai thus pictures one assenting to God's Word of Truth and indicates that the reception is to be a voluntary and willing act on the part of the reader (hearer).
The saints at Berea are a great illustration of the meaning of dechomai, Luke recording…
Hiebert rightly remarks that James'…
Poole writes they are to receive the Word "not only into your heads by knowledge, but into your hearts by faith (cp Lk 8:15, Col 2:6)."
There are 56 uses of dechomai in the NT - Matt. 10:14, 40, 41; 11:14; 18:5; Mk. 6:11; 9:37; 10:15; Lk. 2:28; 8:13; 9:5, 48, 53; 10:8, 10; 16:4, 6, 7, 9; 18:17; 22:17; Jn. 4:45; Acts 3:21; 7:38, 59; 8:14; 11:1; 17:11; 22:5; 28:21; 1Co. 2:14; 2Co. 6:1; 7:15; 8:17; 11:4, 16; Gal. 4:14; Ep 6:17; Phil. 4:18; Col. 4:10; 1Thess. 1:6; 2:13; 2Thess. 2:10; Heb. 11:31; James 1:21 and they are translated as accept(2), accepted(3), receive(18), received(11), receives(15), take(3), taken(1),took(1), welcome(1), welcomed(1).
Warren Wiersbe makes a profound comment we dare not read too quickly…
Word (3056) (logos from légō = to speak with words; English = logic, logical) means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words. Although Lógos is most often translated word which Webster defines as "something that is said, a statement, an utterance", the Greek understanding of lógos is somewhat more complex. In the present context word is used to stand for Scripture in general.
William Kelly explains that…
Implanted (1721) (emphutos from emphuto = to implant; in turn from en = in + phuo = to generate, produce, bring forth, let grow) means inborn, native or engrafted. The literal picture was that of planting a seed in the ground and figuratively as used by James of the "seed" of the Word of Truth planted in the "good soil" of the heart where it took root. In His parable of the seed and the soils, Jesus explained that
In secular literature emphutos was used most often in the sense of implanted by natural process. BDAG comments "as something implanted the word is permanently established in the individual and like inborn assets functions in an exceptional manner."
Spurgeon - Receive it as a graft. As the tree is prepared by the knife to receive the new shoot that is to be put into it, and does so receive it as to make it its own, and to use it for its own fruit-bearing purposes, even in that way “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Barclay - The word for inborn is emphutos (Greek #1721), and is capable of two general meanings.
Hiebert makes the point that emphutos…
MacArthur - With the Holy Spirit to interpret and empower, it (the Word of Truth) becomes a vital element in the new spiritual life of the child of God, for “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12-note). The Word of God is the gospel in its fullness and “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Ro 1:16-note). (Macarthur J. James. Moody)
WHICH IS ABLE TO SAVE YOUR SOULS: ton dunamenon (PPPMSA) sosai (AAN) tas psuchas humon: (Ac 13:26; Ro 1:16; 1Co 15:2; Eph 1:13; 2Ti 3:15, 16, 17; Titus 2:11; He 2:3; 1Pe 1:9)
Which is able - God's Word of Truth has the inherent ability, capability or power to accomplish the goal of saving our souls (the first time when we are born again and every day thereafter!). Peter alludes to the inherent ability of God's Word using the metaphor of a "seed" writing to the believers that…
So even as a biological seed has the inherent ability when planted to germinate and bring about new life, so too, the living and active Word of God has the inherent ability to bring about new spiritual life and to then sustain that spiritual life (which course calls for continual intake - 1Pe 2:2 -note)
As someone has well said the power of the Gospel is not seen in great preaching, large churches, or glorious music but is best seen in transformed lives.
Able (1410) (dunamai) conveys the basic meaning of that which has the inherent ability to do something or accomplish some end. Thus dunamai means to be able to, to be capable of, to be strong enough to do or to have power to do something. It is usually translated able (50x), can (61x and cannot 58x) or could.
Dunamai is in the present tense which signifies the Word of Truth is continuously able or continually has inherent power to save. Luke has a similar statement writing that…
The derivative word dunamis (from dunamai) refers to intrinsic power or inherent ability, the power or ability to carry out some function, the potential for functioning in some way, the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.
The word group (dunamai, dunamis, dunatos, etc) gives us our English word dynamic, (synonyms = energetic, functioning, live, operative, working) which describes that which is marked by usually continuous and productive activity or change. That which is dynamic is characterized by energy or forces that produce motion, as opposed to that which is static.
BDAG says that dunamai means "to possess capability (whether because of personal or external factors) for experiencing or doing something."
TDNT - Words of this stem all have the basic sense of ability or capability. Dunamai means a. “to be able” in a general sense, b. “to be able” with reference to the attitude that makes one able, hence sometimes “to will,” and c. (of things) “to be equivalent to,” “to count as,” “to signify.”
Thayer's summary of dunamai…
Vine summarizes dunamai writing that it means…
Click here to study all 210 uses of dunamai in the NT (in the window that opens, scroll down to the "Verse Count" which will show the distribution by NT book. Click on the book to see all the uses of dunamai in that book. Where are the majority of uses found?) Here are just a few representative uses…
Matthew 19:25 And when the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?"
Mark 1:40 And a leper came to Him, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean."
Mark 2:7 "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?"
Mark 4:33 And with many such parables He was speaking the word to them as they were able to hear it;
Mark 7:15 there is nothing outside the man which going into him can (has the inherent ability to) defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man… 18 And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him;
Mark 8:23 And Jesus said to him, "'If You can!' All things are possible to him who believes."
Luke 3:8 "Therefore bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
Luke 21:15 for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot (is not able, has no inherent ability or capability to) see the kingdom of God."
John 6:44 "No one can (has the inherent ability to) come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 12:39 For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again,
John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Acts 4:20 for we cannot (lack the inherent ability to) stop speaking what we have seen and heard."
Acts 20:32 "And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Romans 8:7 (note) because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; 8:8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:39 (note) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural (not born again by the Spirit, not a new creation in Christ) man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot (he does not have the inherent ability to) understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able (beyond what you have the inherent ability to endure), but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able (have the capacity, the inherent ability) to endure it.
2 Corinthians 1:4 (The Father of mercies and God of all comfort) Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able (have the capacity, inherent ability) to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Galatians 3:21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able (had the ability) to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.
Ephesians 6:11 (note) Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able (have the ability, power or capacity) to stand firm against the schemes of the devil… 6:13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm… 6:16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.
Philippians 3:21 (note) who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power (verb used as a noun - His inherent ability) that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
1 Timothy 6:7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
1 Timothy 6:16 (He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords) Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; Whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
2 Timothy 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 2:18 (note) For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able (present tense = He is continuously able) to come to the aid (see this great word - boetheo) of those who are tempted.
Hebrews 3:19 (note) And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.
Hebrews 4:15 (note) For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 5:2 (note) he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;
Hebrews 7:25 (note) Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 10:1 (note) For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near.
Hebrews 10:11 (note) And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;
James 2:14 What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can (does it have the inherent ability or power) that faith save him?
James 3:8 But no one can (has the inherent ability to) tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
James 4:12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
1 John 3:9 No (Greek = absolute negation) one who is born (perfect tense = speaks of the permanence of this "transaction") of God practices (present tense = habitually) sin, (why not?) because His seed abides in him; and he cannot (negative = ou = absolutely "not" able to continually commit sin - why? because the Holy Spirit in him and he has a new heart with new desires) sin (sin = present tense = speaks of the habitual practice of one's life, the "general direction" of their walk), because he is born of God. (Comment: This is a vitally important verse for modern day evangelicalism in America, for some teach the deadly lie that one can be genuinely born again and yet never have any change in the direction of their life. One cannot twist the apostle John's words so that they support such a deceptive and eternally damning lie.)
1 John 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot (does not have the inherent ability - natural man is a "God hater" no matter how religious he is - only circumcision of one's heart brings about the inherent ability to love God) love God Whom he has not seen.
Jude 1:24 Now to Him Who is able (what's the tense? Right - you guessed it - present tense = continually) to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,
Revelation 3:8 (note) 'I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
Revelation 5:3 (note) And no one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look into it.
Revelation 7:9 (note) After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
Revelation 13:4 (note) and they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?"
Revelation 13:17 (note) and he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
To save (rescue) (4982) (sozo) has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril. Additional nuances include to protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole. In short, to save, means to make a person whole and complete in every respect. And this is what the Word of Truth is able to do, delivering believers from the destructive consequences of sin. Why do we so often forsake the well of the Word and its living water and make for ourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water? (cp Je 2:13)
From the context we know that James is speaking to those who have been born again for he had just written that…
Hiebert comments that…
Too often Christians have a truncated understanding of the scope of salvation. While none would dispute that all men need the Word of Truth to be saved (regenerated, born again), many lose site of the vitally important truth that believers (not yet glorified) are still in "harm's way" (cp the power of the fallen flesh within us to tempt us as discussed in Jas 1:14, 15-see notes) and therefore in continual need of the "saving power" of the Word of Truth and the Spirit of Truth Who uses the Word to enable us to grow in grace. This fact serves to emphasize why it is so critical that saints in these last days, must exercise discernment and abstain from the many winds of doctrine that are "buffeting" sound doctrine which is the firm foundation of the church. Many of these winds gain credibility and acceptance because they emphasize feelings, emotions and experiences, all of which supposedly (but falsely) validate these seductive, specious teachings. If there was ever a time to give utmost priority to the pure milk of the Word of Truth it is in these last days. Our spiritual health depends on it!
Cole explains that…
Your souls - James uses a Hebraism which was used to denote the whole person (cf. Nu 23:10, Ac 2:41; 27:37; He 10:38; 1Pe 3:20).
Souls (5590)(psuche or psyche from psucho = to breathe, blow, English = psychology, "study of the soul") is the breath, then that which breathes, and then the individual, animated creature. However the discerning reader must understand that psuche is one of those Greek words that can have several meanings, the exact nuance being determined by the context. It follows that one cannot simply select of the three main meanings of psuche and insert it in a given passage for it may not be appropriate to the given context. The meaning of psuche is also contingent upon whether one is a dichotomist or trichotomist. Consult Greek lexicons for more lengthy definitions of psuche as this definition is only a brief overview. (Click an excellent article on Soul in the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology; see also ISBE article on Soul)
Wuest says psuche (this definition would be compatible with the present context in James 1:21) is…
Vincent offers the follows thoughts on psuche
Every believer is involved in an intense spiritual battle for their soul (believers cannot lose salvation but can lose effectiveness for God's kingdom work! cp 2Ti 2:21-note), a battle Peter highlights exhorting his believing readers who were being tested…
Fleshly lusts are still present in believers and seek to destroy our soul, which is why every believer needs the inherent power of the Word of Truth to save his or her soul. Jesus said that…
So as believers hear the Word of Truth and practice the Word ("doers" of the Word), the Holy Spirit uses the "seed" of the Word of God to give our souls spiritual life and rescue us from spiritual disaster.
Another great passage that underscores the powerful effect of the implanted Word of truth to save our souls is found in Paul's first epistle to the Thessalonians where he says…
Recovering Sinners - People who are trying to become free from an addiction to drugs or alcohol understand an important concept. They know they will always be “recovering.”
The lure of those substances is so insidious that former abusers who are wise know how susceptible they are to being sucked in again. They must always be on guard. Time and again we’ve seen people in the public spotlight who seem to be cured, but who then have a relapse.
That principle is true not only of drug abusers but of all sinners. Those of us who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross are not recovered sinners, but recovering ones. We are just one sin away from falling back into a self-destructive pattern of behavior. That’s why we must be so careful to avoid any activity or relationship that will reintroduce us to the sin we hate.
We are tempted when we are drawn toward a sin. It doesn’t become a sin until “desire has conceived” (Jas. 1:15). And the more we deliberately expose ourselves to temptation, the less our resistance will be.
Because we are all recovering sinners, we need to leave plenty of room between us and sin. If we do, we will be less likely to stumble again. By Dave Branon
When we are lured to turn away
From what we know is right,
Lord, help us to resist sin's pull
And recognize the fight. —Sper
Being proud of overcoming a sin is the first step to repeating it.
Garbage Mary - She dressed in rags, lived in a tenement house amid mounds of garbage, and spent much of her time rummaging through trash cans. The local newspaper picked up her story after the woman who was known in her neighborhood as “Garbage Mary” had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Astonishingly, in her filthy apartment police found stock certificates and bankbooks indicating she was worth at least a million dollars.
This woman’s condition was heartbreaking. But from God’s point of view there are even more tragic examples of “wealthy” people who subsist on “garbage.” If Christians are controlled by lust, hate, envy, pride, impatience, or bitterness, they’re actually choosing to live off the refuse of the world.
This might be understandable if they had no resources to draw from. You’d expect that kind of behavior from people without faith in Christ. But that’s not the case for believers. We have the Word of truth and the help of the Holy Spirit. We have no excuse for groveling in the dirt of sin when the power of God is at our disposal.
Father, forgive us for eating “garbage” when You’ve prepared a banquet for us. Help us to “lay aside all filthiness” (James 1:21) and to feast on Your goodness. By Mart De Haan
Choose not the lowly paths of sin
When lofty heights before you rise;
God freely gives the power to win
The victor’s crown, the heavenly prize. —D. De Haan
One taste of God’s grace can make us lose our hunger for the world.
For Now And Forever - Cold terror gripped the heart of a soldier as mortar rounds whistled overhead, rifles cracked, and the enemy closed in. Suddenly he felt ripping pains as a bullet tore into his chest and arm. Yet it wasn’t the end for this soldier. According to an article in The New York Times, the bullet was slowed by a New Testament he was carrying in his shirt pocket. Years later, the young man still treasured the blood-stained book with the ragged hole through the middle. He believes it saved his life.
This is a nice story, but it says nothing about the life-saving spiritual help the Bible was designed to give. In Ezekiel 33, we read that the ancient Israelites used the words of the prophets to make them feel good but not to change their lives. They misused God’s promises to Abraham to support their own claim to the land (v.24). They found pleasure in listening to the words of the prophet (v.30), yet the Lord said to Ezekiel, “They hear your words, but they do not do them” (v.31). The result? They came under divine judgment.
Then as now, God’s Word is not to be cherished as a good-luck charm or to soothe the mind by bringing temporary relief from anxiety. It was given to be obeyed so that its help would not be only for this life—but forever.By Mart De Haan
We don't really know the Bible until we obey the Bible.