Receive with Meekness the Engrafted Word


Matthew Henry points out that “meekness can be considered with respect both to God and to our brethren.” We usually think of meekness as referring to the second part of Moses’ law, which is summed up as loving our neighbor as ourselves. But there is also a meekness towards God, which is “easy and quiet submission of the soul to His whole will,” which He makes known to us either through His Word, or through His providential acts in our lives.

Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.–James 1:21

Jesus said that we must be like little children if we want to enter into His kingdom. We “respectable” adults however, are so filled with pride that we almost automatically offer excuses or explanations for why some of Jesus’ words don’t apply to us or don’t really mean what they seem to. Instead we need to speak like the child Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant hears.”

Even Joshua, the highest commander of Israel, who defiantly defeated giant-enemies, submitted himself to God’s Word: “What saith my Lord unto his servant?” Or Paul as a new believer uttered, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Henry quotes another adult who had retained this childlike humility, “Now let the word of the Lord come; and if I had six hundred necks, I would bow them all to the authority of it.”

Henry gives a few illustrations of what meekness towards God’s Word looks like:

  • Meekness opens the stock, so that the Word, like a shoot can be grafted in.
  • Meekness breaks up the fallow ground and makes it fit to receive the seed.
  • Meekness lays the soul like white paper under God’s pen. “Write on me!”
  • Meekness makes the soul to allow divine light inside, which before it rebelled against. It opens the heart as Lydia’s was opened.
  • Meekness sets us down at the feet of Christ with Mary, in the place and posture of a learner.
  • To receive the Word with meekness is to be delivered into it as a mold. (Rom. 6:17)
  • Meekness softens the wax, that it may receive the impression of the seal [or for our times, maybe think ‘play-dough’], whether it be “for doctrine or reproof, for correction, or instruction in righteousness.”
  • Meekness opens the ear to discipline, silences objections, and suppresses the risings of the carnal mind against the word, consenting to the law that it is good and esteeming “all the precepts” concerning all things to be “right” even when they give the greatest check to flesh and blood.

If we receive God’s Word in this way, we will learn! God promises, “The meek will he teach his way.”

In this sense, I think of meekness towards God as being teachable. Do I approach God’s Word with awe, as if I’m receiving my instructions from my King for the day? As if I’m getting a daily washing, something salvific or sanctifying to my soul? Other Bible passages discuss the power of God’s Word. Am I seeing evidence of that power present in my life, changing me? If not, perhaps I am not receiving it with a sincere willingness to be taught and a desire to learn.


This is my attempt to rephrase Matthew Henry’s book The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit.

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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2 Responses to Receive with Meekness the Engrafted Word

  1. Pingback: Dragging My Feet Towards God’s Plan for Me | Ita Vita

  2. Pingback: Be Prepared! (with Meekness) | Ita Vita

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