James tells us how to respond to that word that transforms and saves us.
Assignment: Pray, asking God to give you a growing hunger for His Word and a growing, deepening, and active faith in the God who speaks through that Word.
Then take out your marking copy of James 1 and also open Blue Letter Bible, searching on Jame 1:20.
Verse 20 is fairly clear in its meaning. It begins with the word for, giving us a reason for what has been said in the previous verses. We should be slow to speak and slow to anger because our anger does not accomplish God’s righteous purposes. Our anger does not lead to spiritual maturity, but almost always to sin. Anger will make us slow to hear and receive what God is saying to us through His Word.
- Therefore, James says in verse 21, for this reason, we need to lay aside our sin and receive the word. On your marking copy of the text, above the word therefore (or wherefore, depending on the translation you are using) draw arrows that point both forward and backward above and below the word. (See photo.) This helps us remember to look back in the text to find reasons for what is being said next.
Why should we lay aside our sin, according to James 1:20?
We have a lot of words to look at in verse 21. Taking the time to study them will aid in our understanding of the verse. We’ll look at several today, and then finish the verse in our next lesson.
- Let’s start by simply looking at the verse in other translations. Click “Bible” (“Translation Comparison” for app users), and read through the various translations, noting the differences and gaining a better understanding of the verse’s meaning.
- Next click on “interlinear” in the “Tools” menu for verse 21.
- Then click on the phrase lay apart.
- Note the information under “Strong’s Definitions” and then read the verses listed under “Concordance Results Using KJV.” Take notes.
How is the word used? What is being laid aside?
- Go back to the “Tools” menu for verse 21 and click on “Cross-Refs.”
- Read and take notes on the verses listed under lay. What is being put off or cast away? For how long?
Notice the reference in Isaiah to menstrual cloths. This gives us a good and graphic idea what casting away means. We don’t hang onto or protect this sort of thing. When James tells us to lay away filthiness and wickedness, he’s not suggesting that we just set it aside for awhile. We’re to mortify — kill — it.
- Return to the interlinear for verse 21 and look briefly at the word filthiness. Note its definitions under “Outline of Biblical Usage,” and also glance at its root word for a better understanding of the word.
- Next look at the word superfluity. Note the information under “Outline of Biblical Usage,” and read the verses under “Concordance Results Using KJV.” This word is used to expressed super-abundance. The extent of God’s grace is endless. So is our ability to think of ways to sin.
- The next word, naughtiness, carries a somewhat juvenile tone in our present language. Children are naughty. Look it this word in the interlinear. What does the word mean as it is used in the Bible? This is a strong word speaking of serious sin. Keep taking notes.
We’ve looked at the negative part of verse 21 — what we are commanded to cast away. Tomorrow we’ll look at the positive part of the verse — what we are commanded to receive.
- To conclude today’s lesson, rewrite the first half of verse 21 in your own words, incorporating what you have learned from your brief study of the words.
- Think about what you have read and what you have written. What is God saying to you in this verse? Are you hanging onto any filthy rags that are holding you back from receiving what God wants to do in your heart through His Word?
For your children:
- Memorize James 1:19-20 today. Add motions to help remember the words, pointing to the ears and mouth, making an angry face, etc.
- Recite the verses several times with the motions.
- Then do the motions in front of the children without saying the verse with them. See if they can say the words by themselves as they do the motions with you.
- Continue reciting until everyone can say both verses.
- Then discuss how these verses can apply to their interactions with their siblings and parents.
- When disagreements and offenses arise during the day, stop and recite these verses. Talk about which parts of them were disobeyed, and what you should do the next time.
- Pray and ask God to help you all obey this command.