Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. ~ James (1:19-20)
Know this - He's imploring here for his listeners to know what he's going to say. He is grabbing their attention
my beloved brothers - It's always good to preface what (as it turns out) will be a hard hitting message with kind words. James loved the people he was talking to. He loved them enough to push them, to challenge them.
let every person - He includes everyone in his statement. This isn't for only Aunt Sue or Uncle Joe. However, since he first addresses "beloved brothers", he's talking here to Christians. Everyone should do what he's about to say, but it's to the Christian 'brothers' he's directing his statement.
be quick to hear - I've read many times that one secret to being a success, or to being a leader, or a good manager, or a good speaker (ironically), or a good father, or a good husband, or a good anything, is being a good listener. James is repeating that to me here. Quick to hear. Quick to let someone else speak.
slow to speak - I have nothing to say... (pun intended). Seriously, it's the opposite of above. And one begets the other. If we are quick to hear, we will be slow to speak. If we're quick to speak, we'll be forming our words even as the other person is trying to talk to us.
slow to anger - I just listened to a message from Daniel Bell on this, where he spoke about this 'anger' as being akin in the Greek to Passion and Intensity in general. Not only the emotion of angry. If you take that and the next portion:
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God - he (Daniel) said that it's saying that through our own passions, our own pride, our own abilities, we cannot produce the righteousness of God. That's not saying that God cannot use our passions within his plan, but it can't drive the plan. The head will set the vision for the body, not the other way around.