James 1:19-27 and the Apologist

by Stephen J Bedard

I am preaching on this passage at my church and while I was writing my sermon, I was reflecting on the application for apologetics.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:19–27 ESV)

Having been involved in apologetics for some time, I understand the temptations that go with it.  One of the biggest is to skip the listening part and dive right into the speaking part, often with plenty of anger.  Sometimes we have a message or an argument that we just can’t wait to let loose with.  We are not interested in what the other person has to say, what they believe, what their struggles are or the reasons for their skepticism.  We want to unload a powerful argument that will demolish all their false beliefs…

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