The Expository Files



James 1:22-2:26

Here's a word you didn't use last week: Orthopraxy. The first thing you may see in the term is the familiar prefix, ortho. That is about what is correct or straight. To correct your dental arrangement, you visit an Orthodontist. His work is to correct the alignment of teeth. In religious use, you may know the word orthodoxy: correct doctrine. Orthopraxy refers to correct practice.

For Christians, our orthodoxy is not something we produce, negotiate or revise. Our commitment is, correct teaching has been given. Through Jesus and His apostles, the New Testament came into existence. That's our complete resource and it might be said - when we express our belief in the teachings of the New Testament and deliver those teachings to others, we are involved in biblical orthodoxy.

We cannot stop with orthodoxy. There must be orthopraxy. That occurs when we use the teachings of the New Testament in our lives on a daily basis. We cannot please God, honor Christ or be effective disciples in the world as long as there is an absence of orthopraxy! Both teaching and practice must find good, wholehearted combination, if we are to be the kind of people the gospel calls us to be.

Or as James said, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves," and "So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty," (Jas. 1:22, 2:12).


By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 14.12; December 2007