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FRAMEWORKS: The Letter of James

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Frameworks: James 3


v.1-12 Taming the Tongue

v.13-18 Two Kinds of Wisdom


[Chapter 3 Synopsis: We're all imperfect but the way we use our tongue reveals that and is a potential life-wrecker but this shouldn't be the case in the believer. Our lives should be characterized by wisdom from heaven that generates humility in us which in turn reveals Christlike characteristics in us.]



v.1-12 Taming the Tongue


[Passage Synopsis: Going back to use of the tongue [see 1:26] it can have the potential of wrecking our lives but good and bad words shouldn't come from a believer.]


v.1 (teachers are weighed by God more strictly) Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

v.2 (we're all imperfect, often stumbling, and need controlling) We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

v.3 (the bit in the horse's mouth controls it) When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.

v.4 (the rudder of a ship does the same thing) Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.

v.5,6 (so our tongue, if let loose, can cause havoc) Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

v.7,8 (we can tame animals but often not our tongue) All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

v.9 (we praise God and curse) With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness.

v.10 (this shouldn't be) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

v.11 (fresh and salt water can't come out of the same spring) Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?

v.12 (fruit comes from different trees, so fresh water can't come from a salt spring) My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.



v.13-18 Two Kinds of Wisdom


[Passage Synopsis: God's wisdom is revealed in us in humility which abandons the characteristics of ‘the old life' and replaces them with Christlike characteristics.]


v.13 (true wisdom breeds humility which results in the good life) Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

v.14 (so beware envy, boasting etc.) But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.

v.15,16 (such an outlook does not come from heaven) Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

v.17,18 (the characteristics of heavenly wisdom are clear) But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.



Continue to Chapter 4