Summary: In verse 25 James sums up the two requirements for being a truly biblical believer. Be receptive and be responsive. You start with a positive attitude and follow through with practical action.

Can a Christian be non-biblical? Can he defend teachings and

practices that are contrary to Scripture? Can he reject those who

are taught in God's Word? The Bible itself and history answer, yes.

Yes it is possible to be a Christian who is more in love with his own

opinions than with the revelation of God. It is just this possibility

that has been the cause of so much poor Christianity. Why has the

Christian world so often been split by bitter controversy that has

hindered the progress of the kingdom of God? It is because

Christians, and not just superficial Christians, but born again

Christians, who can ignore God's Word in favor of their own ideas.

We thank God for Martin Luther, for he gave the Bible back to

the people in their own language, and without the mixture of many

foolish traditions. But we see even in the life of a great man like this

the danger of becoming non-biblical. He preached justification by

faith as the central theme of his theology, and in so doing he was

thoroughly biblical, but the Catholic opponents who argued with him

kept quoting the book of James against him. They kept quoting,

"Faith without works is dead." Rather than examining closely the

teachings of Paul and James to see that they did not contradict each

other, he was ready to throw the book of James into the river. He

called it a right strawy epistle. He was ready to reject this part of

God's Word when it seemed to conflict with what he thought it

should say. We usually associate this kind of practice with

liberalism, but only the blind can fail to see that fundamentalists and

evangelicals are also guilty. It was a problem in the early church as


James is writing to born again Jewish Christians who are

apparently caught up in religious controversy in which there is more

heat than light. James has to call their attention several times to the

dangers of a hasty and uninformed tongue that can cause so much

trouble. James stresses the place of God's Word in their lives, and he

urges them to make it the basis of all their attitudes and actions. The

dangers of being controlled by our own pride and opinions are still

with us today, and so we can all profit from this lesson of James on

how to be a biblical believer. It is a very simple lesson to learn, but

not as simple to practice, and according to James, if it is not

practiced it really is not learned either. There are two basic

requirements to being biblical.


Since it is by the word of truth that God brought us into the

kingdom, it is by the Word that we are to be guided. It is not only

the source of our salvation, but the source of our sanctification. The

most important qualification for effective Christian growth is an

eagerness and willingness to hear the Word of truth. In our day we

should add, "Be swift to read." When James wrote people did not

have access to the Word of God like we do today. Most of what they

learned came through the hearing of the Word as it was read. That

is why the Bible says very little about reading, but a great deal about

hearing. Jesus in concluding the Sermon On The Mount said, "He

who hears my words and does them is like the wise man who built his

house on the rock."

The idea is that we must be receptive to the Word if we expect our

lives to be guided by it. There is no greater mistake than thinking all

is well when we have gotten someone to make a decision for Christ.

God's goal is that men might be conformed to the image of His Son,

and this is not accomplished by a decision. It is accomplished by a

life of receptivity to the Word of God. You would think Christians

would recognize this, and realize they can never know enough of

God's Word. The greatest of biblical scholars are always students

who are constantly learning more. No one has ever exhausted the

teachings of God's Word, even though some find it hard to admit

they don't have all the answers.

This seems to have been the problem with the Christians James

wrote to. They were authorities from birth. They had the answers,

and they knew how things ought to go, and they were eager to get on

with things according to their expert advice. They were swift to

speak and slow to hear, and, of course, with this attitude you

immediately run into trouble, for experts of this nature seldom agree,

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