AM Nov 16th Jam 3

November 16th

James, 3

1: My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 2: For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3: Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4: Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5: Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6: And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7: For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9: Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10: Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11: Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12: Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 13: Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14: But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15: This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16: For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17: But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18: And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

James in this passage says that among brothers there should not be a spirit of domination. No-one should seek to master the rest. Perhaps he is remembering the struggles among the disciples as to who should be the leader. Those who are leaders will be accounted for greater responsibility. He says that we all offend and especially in word. Then he begins a discourse on the taming of the tongue. He compares the tongue with the rudder on a great ship and on the bridle in the mouth of a horse. The tongue is an instrument that can do great harm, just like a spark can set off a raging forest fire. It is a whole world of iniquity and it can defile the body and it is lit by hell itself. All sorts of animals can be tamed but the tongue, it seems, cannot be tamed at all. It is an evil that has no ruler and can be full of deadly poison. He says that with the tongue men swear and with the same tongue they bless and then he says, this should not be. He asks, can a fountain send out sweet water and bitter water? Can a fig tree bear olives? Or can a vine bear figs? The answer is of course no. No fountain can send out both salt water a fresh, because the source of the water is one reservoir. He pleads – who is wise among you? who has knowledge among you? Then let his show his wisdom by his good manner of living and speech. By his meekness of wisdom. He then shows that true faith is found not in strife and envy but in peace, gentleness, a willingness to listen, impartiality and sincerity. This attitude of heart will bring peace among brethren.


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