James Chapter 3

(Tap footnote to read it.  Old Testament quotations are underlined.  "Love" with a caret ("^love") is agapé.1"agapé" The Greek words ἀγάπη (agapé, noun), and ἀγαπάω (agapaó; verb) are typically translated "love".  However, unlike our English word "love" – which primarily speaks of affection and feelings – agapé centers on choice and behavior.  It’s the "love" based on will, choice, behavior, and action; not feelings.  (Feelings-based love is the Greek word φιλέω (phileó), which properly means "brotherly love/affection".)  Thus, you could hate someone passionately and still treat him with "agapé".  Agapé "love" is best understood as the pursuit of what is most beneficial to someone or something, regardless of the cost to yourself or the type of response received from the person or thing.  It can also indicate a preference for someone or something over other things. )

The Tongue
  1. My brothers, not many of you should become teachers, *knowing that we will receive greater judgement.
  2. For we all stumble in many ways.  If someone doesn’t stumble in speaking, this is a perfect man; indeed, he’s able to bridle the whole body.
  3. And if we put bits into horses’ mouths for them to be influenced by us, we also direct their whole body.
  4. Also look at the ships: while being so great and being propelled by fierce winds, they are directed by the smallest rudder wherever the impulse of the man steering decides.
  5. In this way also, the tongue is a small part and boasts great things. See how such a small fire ignites such a great forest.
  6. The tongue is also a fire, a world of unrighteousness.  The tongue is appointed among our parts defiling the whole body, even igniting the course of nature, and being ignited by the Valley of Hinnom.1“Valley of Hinnom” is literal, though most translations render it “hell”.  Any lexicon will tell you it’s a proper noun referring to a specific valley – the Valley of Hinnom – just outside Jerusalem. Symbolically, it’s where the Jews believed the wicked were punished in the afterlife.  Further, Israel’s wickedness in this valley provoked God to prophesy and then bring about Israel’s captivity by Babylon, (Jeremiah 19:1-11, and 2 kings 25:1-12) making it one of the most infamous landmarks in Israel.
  7. For every race of both beasts and birds; of both reptiles and aquatic animals is being tamed and has been tamed by the human race.
  8. But no one among men is able to tame the tongue; it’s a completely unstable evil, full of deadly poison.
  9. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men; the men who have been made in the likeness of God.
  10. From the same mouth comes out a blessing and a curse.  My brothers, these things ought not to be this way.
  11. Can fresh and bitter water flow from the same spring’s opening?
  12. My brothers, a fig tree isn’t able to produce olives, is it?  Or a grape-vine, figs?  Neither is a saltwater spring able to produce fresh water.
  13. Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him demonstrate his works from good conduct in the gentle strength2“gentle strength” this Greek word is often translated “meek” or “gentle”.  However, it doesn’t mean the absence of power as “meek” would suggest. Instead, it specifically refers to strength or power that is gently exercised, without undue harshness. i.e. some who is strong but applies their strength gently. of wisdom.
  14. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish-ambition in your heart, don’t boast and lie against the truth.
  15. This isn’t the wisdom coming down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.
  16. For where jealousy and selfish-ambition are, chaos and every wicked deed are also there.
  17. But the wisdom from above is indeed pure first, then peaceful, compassionately just, inclined to obedience, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and without hypocrisy.
  18. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by the men making peace.


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