Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

James 1:23

    James 1:23 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like to a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror:

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Because if any man is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a glass;

    Webster's Revision

    For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror:

    World English Bible

    For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror;

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    For if any one is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror:

    Clarke's Commentary on James 1:23

    Beholding his natural face in a glass - This metaphor is very simple, but very expressive. A man wishes to see his own face, and how, in its natural state, it appears; for this purpose he looks into a mirror, by which his real face, with all its blemishes and imperfections, is exhibited. He is affected with his own appearance; he sees deformities that might be remedied; spots, superfluities, and impurities, that might be removed. While he continues to look into the mirror he is affected, and wishes himself different to what he appears, and forms purposes of doing what he can to render his countenance agreeable. On going away he soon forgets what manner of person he was, because the mirror is now removed, and his face is no longer reflected to himself; and he no longer recollects how disagreeable he appeared, and his own resolutions of improving his countenance. The doctrines of God, faithfully preached, are such a mirror; he who hears cannot help discovering his own character, and being affected with his own deformity; he sorrows, and purposes amendment; but when the preaching is over, the mirror is removed, and not being careful to examine the records of his salvation, the perfect law of liberty, James 1:25, or not continuing to look therein, he soon forgets what manner of man he was; or, reposing some unscriptural trust in God's mercy, he reasons himself out of the necessity of repentance and amendment of life, and thus deceives his soul.

    Barnes' Notes on James 1:23

    For if any be ... - The ground of the comparison in these verses is obvious. The apostle refers to what all persons experience, the fact that we do not retain a distinct impression of ourselves after we have looked in a mirror. While actually looking in the mirror, we see all our features, and can trace them distinctly; when we turn away, the image and the impression both vanish. When looking in the mirror, we can see all the defects and blemishes of our person; if there is a scar, a deformity, a feature of ugliness, it is distinctly before the mind; but when we turn away, that is "out of sight and out of mind." When unseen it gives no uneasiness, and, even if capable of correction, we take no pains to remove it. So when we hear the word of God. It is like a mirror held up before us. In the perfect precepts of the law, and the perfect requirements of the gospel, we see our own short-comings and defects, and perhaps think that we will correct them. But we turn away immediately, and forget it all. If, however, we were doers of the word," we should endeavor to remove all those defects and blemishes in our moral character, and to bring our whole souls into conformity with what the law and the gospel require. The phrase "natural face" (Greek: face of birth), means, the face or appearance which we have in virtue of our natural birth. The word glass here means mirror. Glass was not commonly used for mirrors among the ancients, but they were made of polished plates of metal. See the Isaiah 3:24 note, and Job 37:18 note.

    Wesley's Notes on James 1:23

    1:23 Beholding his face in a glass - How exactly does the scripture glass show a man the face of his soul!