“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;”
Sometimes the small things mean so much. This little set of proverbs begins with the word “hoste”, which really doesn’t mean anything like “know this”. I’m not really sure what the logic was that the ESV editors used to insert this word here. Words like “just so” or “therefore” or the KJV “wherefore” are much more appropriate.
As a good little evangelical boy of the Western Church in the 20th century I learned that anytime you find a “therefore” in one of the epistles you need to ask what the therefore is there for. Up to this point James has been talking about the person upon whom the blessing of God rests and finally focused all of that down onto those who are born anew (vs 18). James then calls the recipients of the letter his “beloved brothers,” and by this I think he is specifically speaking to the leadership of whatever church or churches he’s talking to. He clearly is talking to both men and women in the church, no matter how patriarchal the leadership was. He says, "Let all men (adelphoi)..." meaning all people. Here the ESV got it right and the KJV is a product of its times.
Enough with the text criticism. Here's the point: in view of those of us in the New Community being born anew, how should we behave toward one another? We are to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. What a great proverb for the church!
Pastoral Relief and Retreat
- Wethersfield, CT, United States
- I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.