20 For man's anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].
21 So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls. (James 1:19-21). [Amplified Bible].
Verse 19-21 may seem at first glance to be an isolated section of miscellaneous exhortations. Further examination, however, reveals significant links to the preceeding and folowing contexts. The term "word" is found in vv.18, 21-25 and refers to the Scriptures, the Word of God. Verse 18 indicates that regeneration comes through the instrumentality of the Word; v.21 contains a call to receive the Word; and vv.22-25 discuss the doing of the Word. Thus vv.19-21 emphasize listening to and receiving the Word, while vv.22-25 stress the doing of the Word.
19 In vv.19-21a, James is attempting to clear the way for the reception of God's truth (v.21b). He begins by calling for the readers' attention: "Take note of this." The reception of the Word demands a readiness "to listen". Reluctance at this point will block the acceptance of truth. It also demands restrained speech. A continual talker cannot hear what anyone else is saying and by the same token will not hear when God speaks. Finally, the restraint of anger is demanded, for anger closes the mind to God's truth. A fiercely argumentative attitude is not conducive to the humble reception of truth.
20 "For" indicates that this verse give the reasoning that lies behind the last exhortation. One's anger does not produce "the righteous life that God desires." And angry attitude is not the atmosphere in which righteousness flourishes. James sresses this from the positive side when he later says, "Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness" (3:18).
21 In further preparation for the Word, one must "get rid of all moral filth." The word translated "get rid of" was primarily used of taking off garments (cf. Hebrews 12:1,which speaks of throwing off any excessive weight to make ready for the race of faith). The "moral filth and the evil" that are so abundant must be stripped off like dirty clothes in preparation for "accept[ing] the word." The reception of truth must of necessity be marked by humility or meekness. This not to be construed as spineless weakness. Instead, it is the quality of a strong man that makes him docile and submissive rather than haughty and rebellious. Only in such a spirit can one fully receive God's truth. That Word is described as "planted in you" suggests that the readers were believers who already possessed the truth. The phrase "which can save you" simply describes the truth as saving truth. James is not calling for an initial acceptance of that message, but for full appropriation of the truth as the Christian grows in spiritual understanding.
[NIV BIBLE COMMENTARY Volume 2: New Testament].
JESUS IS LORD.