James 1:24 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 1:24, NIV: "and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."

James 1:24, ESV: "For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like."

James 1:24, KJV: "For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was."

James 1:24, NASB: "for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was."

James 1:24, NLT: "You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like."

James 1:24, CSB: "For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was."

What does James 1:24 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

James began a simile in verse 23 which he will conclude in verse 25. A person who listens to the Word—the message of Jesus—and does not actually do what it says is like a person who looks at his own face in a mirror and immediately forgets what he looks like. It's an absurd idea to think that we would be unable to recognize ourselves after seeing our own faces in a mirror. It's also ridiculous to bother looking in a mirror in the first place, if we're only going to ignore what we see.

James' point is that it should be equally absurd to think that a Christian could hear the Word of God and fail to do what it says. That just doesn't make any sense. Those who believe the Word of God demonstrate their trust in God by obeying Him. Those who don't obey prove that they don't really trust Him.