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Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and abundance of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)
James has just told us that anger is not the correct response to God, so he now informs us of more of the same and the proper response. James begins 5:21 with the conjunction (διό dio) therefore, which ties this to the previous verse that had dealt with anger. This is followed by the aorist (ἀποθέμενοι apotithemenoi) putting aside, which has the purpose of informing those reading James that they will need to stop themselves from being in the state of being or condition of their former selves. Further, it has the figurative imagery of taking a garment off oneself. In other words, these need to put aside their former lifestyle. They will need to remove (ῥυπαρία rhuparia) all filthiness, that is, their moral imperfection, impurities. They will also need to put aside their (περισσεία perisseia κακίας kakias) abundance (state of being more than full) of wickedness, which is the extreme perversion of virtues and moral principles from their purposes to evil ends. This person is depraved and acts with malice.
James now turns his readers to what they need to (δέχομαι dechomai) receive, that is, react favorably to, considering right and proper (πραΰτης prautēs) with meekness of mind and heart. Yes, they need to act in a gentle manner, mild, and even-tempered, with humility. In this way, they are receiving the implanted (ἔμφυτος emphutos) word (λόγος logos). In the Koine Greek of the day, implanted had the sense of being deeply fixed set with, namely, being “innate,” that is, built-in from birth, as part of human nature. We have within us the same moral code, the conscience, that Adam and Eve received. Although imperfect, we still have a measure of it that is implanted in us from birth and is now spelled out in the Word of God. This allows us to cultivate that moral code, perfecting its ability to guide and direct us. This can only be accomplished with meekness. The Word of God will develop and grow our innate moral code, which can save our souls. In other words, if we come at the Word of God with a meek heart and mind, in humility, the Word can cultivate the inborn moral code that can guide us through this wicked world, saving our lives.