I thought I would blog my preaching prep again. I am preaching in 19 days time on James 1:22-25. There is no pressure on me at this point. I can enjoy the text.
My main concern is that I have a similar passage next month (James 2:14-26) and I don’t want to back myself in a corner for then. I could do both at the same time but at this point I have decided to let the text differentiate itself. I will just stick closely to what it says rather than try to separate them myself.
I read through the verses:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 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. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 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. James 1:22-25
It’s possible to grow in knowledge but not really understand. To be like a sieve that God’s word just runs through.
Jump out words
Obviously “do” and “hear” are key words. Others that jump out are : Deceiving yourself, forgets, blessed, persevere, natural face.
Key questions to be investigated
What is the word? What is the perfect law? What is the “law of liberty”? Is he talking about the Law in the OT or all that Jesus said, or New Testament letters, or everything?
What were their mirrors like?
What is the mirror analogy actually saying? I don’t quite get it. What is this the significance of forgetting. Is it to do with being in some religious, theological bubble when reading the bible and not actually letting it out into the rest of your life? Why do you look into a mirror? To do something about it. The whole point of looking in the mirror is to do something about what you see? Or is it to enjoy looking at yourself? Mmmm
Illustrations that immediately occur
A bit of food on your face. A bad hair day. Missed a bit shaving. My lecturer who had shaving foam on his ear.
How do we see ourselves in the word. Obviously we see our sin but what about our status in Christ. It is all about Jesus but we are in Christ! It’s about living out of who you are in Christ.
Next I print out the Greek text and do my best to translate it.
Γίνεσθε δὲ ποιηταὶ λόγου καὶ μὴ μόνον ἀκροαταὶ παραλογιζόμενοι ἑαυτούς. 23 ὅτι εἴ τις ἀκροατὴς λόγου ἐστὶν καὶ οὐ ποιητής, οὗτος ἔοικεν ἀνδρὶ κατανοοῦντι τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐσόπτρῳ· 24 κατενόησεν γὰρ ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀπελήλυθεν καὶ εὐθέως ἐπελάθετο ὁποῖος ἦν. 25 ὁ δὲ παρακύψας εἰς νόμον τέλειον τὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας καὶ παραμείνας, οὐκ ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησμονῆς γενόμενος ἀλλὰ ποιητὴς ἔργου, οὗτος μακάριος ἐν τῇ ποιήσει αὐτοῦ ἔσται.
Unfortunately, I got stuck on passing third word ποιηταὶ. My Analytical Lexicon says it is a masculine, nominative plural word with lexical form ποιητες, but αὶ is a feminine, nominative, plural ending. Are there some funny contractions going on here? What is the root of the word? Where can I find this word fully declined? … Found this on the internet: “The first declension includes mostly feminine nouns, but also some masculine ones, including agent nouns, in τες”. Ah, this must be it. The word is masculine but is first declension. Except it’s nominative, singular form is ποιητής (James 4:11) and its lexicon listing for the genitive is ποιητου which look like masculine endings. Mmmm. I could find no way in Logos to list the full declension paradigms for words, nor does it have Mounce’s morphology of biblical Greek (I hope it is added soon!) so I’ll have to check when I get home…
…I’m home now and Mounce’s “The Analytical Lexicon” tells me ποιητες is a n-1f noun. The Morphology then defined these as “masculine nouns with stems ending in η(ς) and genative in ου.” There endings are a bit feminine like but they are masculine nouns. Bingo. I do wish logos had links to morphological paradigms.
Another thing that stumped me for a while was why ποιηταὶ was not in the accusative? Does γίνομαι take its subject in the nominative? Ah yes. Of course it does, “doers of the word” is not receiving the action of the verb. The subjects are to become “doers”. ειμι “I am” also takes its object in the nominative.
I never got onto the fourth word.
A relevant scriptures I came across was Rom 2:13
So that’s it for the first day. I provably won’t do much for a few days now but I think I have the verses in my head and can be meditating on them for a bit.