Character Day 5 Righteous Anger: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post, Righteous Anger

James 1:19-21 Christian Standard Bible (CSB

19 My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

The Questions

1) Who is James talking to in this passage?

2) What is the greater context of this passage?

3) What instructions does James give to his readers?

4) What contrast does James make for the reader in v. 20?

The Findings for Intention

1) Who is James talking to in this passage?
James 1:1 says this is a letter written by James to twelve tribes that have been dispersed. The mention of the twelve tribes likely means it was a Jewish audience and they were not necessarily in one region. Most think the intended audience for this letter were Jewish believers that had been dispersed throughout Asia Minor due to persecution.

2) What is the greater context of this passage?
In the verses just preceding this passage, James gives practical ways to live out your faith and offers God’s perspective on daily trials. God views our trials as temporary and fleeting and, while difficult, they are opportunities for us to lean into Him and see His good heart that loves us. James continues in chapter 1to give instructions about everyday life and goes on to teach us to be not just hearers of the word but also doers.

3) What instructions does James give to his readers?
James tells his readers, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” He also adds, “receive the implanted word which is able to save you.”

4) What contrast does James make for the reader in v. 20?
In v.20, James contrasts human anger with God’s righteousness. Human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. They cannot exist together. Not that we can’t be angry, but, as Paul teaches in Ephesians 4:26, we are called to “be angry and do not sin.” James’ teachings are meant as a safeguard for us that we do not fall into that sin that comes so easily from reacting in our anger.

The Everyday Application

1) Who is James talking to in this passage?
During the 1st century, there was a great deal of persecution. Letters, like what James writes, were intended to encourage and help those who had been removed from their home. He wrote to instruct those who were living as aliens in a foreign land, reminding them to stay true to what they knew and stick to the gospel. He desired to lead them into authentic faith with works to match. Today, we read this letter and find great encouragement as we live in a dark world as “aliens” awaiting the return of the Father of Light. We can rest assured and be encouraged that we can honor Him daily with our actions and words making our faith real before men.

2) What is the greater context of this passage?
James is sometimes called the Proverbs of the New Testament. It reads very much like Wisdom literature of the Old Testament taking our faith and laying out practical ways to work out our salvation before men. The entire letter of James and specifically chapter one reveals for us a call to action. It creates in a believer a new set of eyes that see as God sees. A perspective change from mourning and darkness, loss and death to one of joy and encouragement is laid out in chapter 1. James tells us that trials produce in us a Christlikeness that God will use to mature us if we submit to Him and His purposes. In these moments, our anger should be slow and our ears should be attuned to those around us. Our goal should be to focus on God and intentionally allowing Him to work in and through us!

3) What instructions does James give to his readers?
Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger! I usually find myself on the reverse of this…quick to speak, quick to anger, and leave out the listen part all together. A friend once told me, “extend grace and give the benefit of the doubt.” I think that exemplifies James 1:19. Humility in angry situations allows for God’s word to take root and for those around us to see God’s influence as He captures and restores our soul. Some say we might be justified in our anger, but it is exactly in those moments that we have an opportunity to put God’s work in us on display as He calls us to react differently than the world. When our focus is honoring the Lord, our response to angry situations becomes less about us being right or venting, and is replaced with a listening ear as we learn to extend His grace in the same manner it has been extended to us at the cross! All of this good “fruit” as we live out our daily lives is a result of “receiving the implanted word” in us, which is the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ.

4) What contrast does James make for the reader in v. 20?
God’s righteousness and human anger are at opposite ends of the spectrum. God’s righteousness is holy, perfect, faithful, and full of grace leading to salvation. Human anger is secular, imperfect, hateful, and desires to be right leading only to self-worship. There is no grace found in human anger. Anger festers and fuels a hatred of all things holy. In anger, we turn away the gospel and seek our own desires rather than allowing God’s living Truth to infiltrate our very being. Praise God that even in our moments of human anger…He offers grace…He offers forgiveness and continues to pursue us!

Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study, Righteous Anger
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I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Character Week One!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Character!