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James 3

Taming the Tongue
(Psalm 64:1–10)

1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to control his whole body.

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can guide the whole animal. 4 Consider ships as well. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot is inclined.

5 In the same way, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it boasts of great things. Consider how small a spark sets a great forest ablaze. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of wickedness among the parts of the body. It pollutes the whole person, sets the course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. a 

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be! 11 Can both fresh water and salt water b flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree grow olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring c produce fresh water.

The Wisdom from Above

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good conduct, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast in it or deny the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peace-loving, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap the fruit of righteousness. d 

 

Footnotes:

6 a Greek Gehenna
11 b Literally Can both fresh and bitter
12 c Literally Neither can salt
18 d Literally But the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those making peace.

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