What is a doer of the word? Is it one who reads the bible and obeys its edicts? Well, when you look at the definition of *the word* by Jesus and his first century followers it changes the meaning quite a bit. Jesus and his followers redefined the term word, word of God, to be either the gospel, or Jesus the living gospel. Let’s examine James to see how he defines the term word. James 1:18 “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures.” In James view, the word of truth is the gospel which is what brought him and his followers forth to be first-fruits. However, James goes on to really nail down what he means by the term word. Look at this passage; James 1:21 “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” The implanted word, which is able to save your souls is the gospel.
So when James states in verse 22 “don’t be only a hearer of the word, be a doer of the word also” He is saying be a doer of the gospel. Let’s rephrase the verse with this proper understanding. James 1:22 “But be doers of the gospel, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” So now let me ask this question. What does it mean to be a doer of the gospel? How does one do the gospel? The first thing that should come to mind is this; to be a doer of the gospel one must apprehend the gospel and believe it with all their heart. The first step in doing the gospel is believing that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself not counting sin. Doing the gospel is *believing* the gospel in spite of what you see. Doing the gospel will create peace with God, and provide one the opportunity to really love God based upon being at peace with him. Being at peace with God because of the gospel will promote a Sabbath Rest. The term resting in Jesus is doing the gospel. The epitome of the gospel message is resting in Jesus.
It is the gospel that will produce all of the fruit and works. If you pay attention to James, you will see that doing the word is loving your neighbor as yourself. When James goes on in chapter two to say that faith without works is dead being alone… the works that he is referring to is love works; it is feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless and visiting the sick and prisoners.
It amazes me that we have so misunderstood the scripture. Most evangelicals believe that doing the word is reading the bible and following its instructions. I have shown beyond doubt by James own words that doing the word is believing the gospel and allowing peace with God to transform one into a loving person. Still, people use the passage to cause people to fear. My prayer is that we will shift our paradigm to the one that Jesus and his first century followers had.