When James exhorts us to “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls” (James 1:21), what does he mean by the word “word”? I think there are two things in his mind. Continue reading . . .
When James exhorts us to “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls” (James 1:21), what does he mean by the word “word”? I think there are two things in his mind.
First, look back for a moment at v. 18. There James describes the experience of being born again, the new birth, or what theologians call regeneration: “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth” (v. 18a). The “word of truth” is unmistakably the gospel of Jesus Christ. When you were born again, when you experienced that incredible transition from spiritual death into spiritual life, God caused it to happen by means of “the word of truth.”
The apostle Peter said much the same thing in 1 Peter 1:23 and 25. There we read:
“since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; . . . And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Pt. 1:23,25).
So the “word” through which a person is “born again” is the “good news” that was “preached” to us or that we read in a book or a tract or that was shared with us by a friend or our parents. That “good news” or “gospel” is the message of what God has done for sinners in and through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to secure the forgiveness of their sins and to reconcile them to himself. In some mysterious way that we don’t fully understand, the Holy Spirit uses that truth as the instrument or means by which he opens our eyes to see the beauty