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26 If any man [ei tis] among [en] you [humin] seem [dokeo] to be [einai] religious [threskos], and bridleth [chalinagogeo]
not [me] his [autos] tongue [glossa], but [alla] deceiveth [apatao] his own [autos] heart [kardia], this man's [toutou] religion [threskeia] is
vain [mataios]. KJV-Interlinear
26 If anyone thinks himself to be
religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this
man's religion is worthless. NASB
The religion here, that James is speaking of, is in
reference to Christianity.However, he
is also describing the falsities of Christian behavior and attitude, which can
be grouped with all other religions of the world as to their lack of
efficacious (efficient or successful) results in ones spiritual life.
Now we have always stated that Christianity is not a
religion, but a relationship with God, through Christ, and that religion (in
general), is nothing more than mans efforts to achieve the approbation of God,
by means of mans own efforts.This
definition still stands, of course.
However, James is speaking of the attitude of the
individual based on their lack of attention to their spiritual studies.That is, the hearer verses the doer.
The first word used for religion, '
threskos,' refers to the activities or ceremonies of ones worship.The second word, 'threskeia,' refers to the
traditions, or habit, or principles of ones worship beliefs.
So, if your worship activities are false, then your
worship traditions are false.And
likewise, if your worship traditions or principles are false, then your worship
activities are false.And if your
theological approach to God is false, then you have nothing, but a huge waste of
time in pursuing nothing, because of your arrogant attitude.
So, you have only yourself to blame for your failure.And, you are the fool for doing what you are
You have no one else to blame, and no one else to
complain to when you discover your error.If indeed, you do discover your error during this life.
In short, there are a lot of false religious types out
there in the world.In Christianity,
they can say all the right things, and put on a performance for others to
see.They will even impress others by
their performance in either deed or in word, but they are only fooling
The false believer, or rather the believer who pursues
false principles, spends most of their time trying to convince others in order
to gain the approval of others, or to impress them.
The false believer will spend much of his time, trying
to censure, criticize, scorn, judge, or correct others.
The false believer pursues a course of self-approval
Whether ones religion is Islam or Buddhism, or simply
a Christian who has been misguided in his faith due to his own failure in Bible
study, ones behavior in the carnal side of a false faith is the same.False is false is false.And, false equates to nothing, as far as
advancing in ones spiritual life.
Unbelievers cannot advance because they have no
spiritual side in which to advance.And
believers who are more or less off track, just derail themselves.
The tongue is something that should be driven by the
heart.The heart represents the soul of
the individual.The person should think
before speaking.However, when a person
speaks before thinking, then they demonstrate a lack of inner control, and a
lack of wisdom in their life.
And this is James' whole point.Words that are driven by emotion are not
wisdom.Wisdom is driven by thought, but
then thought comes only from a daily study.
And the hearer, in this case, is someone who dos not
pursue his study, and therefore lacks the resources for thought, therefore
lacks the resources to produce reasonable comments.His speaking is nothing more than the
knee-jerk reaction of an empty soul.
It is far better to impress God (who is able to bless)
by means of learning doctrine and growing up in ones spiritual life, thus
obeying His will, than to attempt to impress people (who cannot bless) and
submitting to the peer pressures of society.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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