Chapter Three


** A prerequisite to understanding this teaching and the type of study pattern used makes it necessary for you to first study The Epistle of James Chapter One. Please read at least the first three paragraphs of The Epistle of James Chapter One before proceeding.

CHAPTER THREE: 1) THE UNRULY TONGUE 2) WISDOM [Genuine vs. counterfeit]

1. My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Literal: My brethren, do not have many or numerous teachers for one is your Master, Christ. "Be not many masters" knowing that we shall receive the greater judgement. We are responsible for our actions and have no excuse because we know and have been taught the truth -- God's Word. If we choose to have teachers other than Christ and God, we shall have to answer to God on judgement day and we have no excuses. We shall receive the greater judgement.

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.

Literal: For often, in many ways, we all stumble and fall. If any man does not stumble and fall down in his SPOKEN WORDS (what he utters), as connected with the inward thought, this person is a complete and perfect man wanting nothing. This man is able also to control, restrain, lead and guide the whole body. We will never achieve this perfection in this life, but we can strive towards it and improve every single day.

3. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

Literal: Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths so that they may obey us, and we are able to turn about, control, and guide 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.

Literal: Behold also the ships, which though they be so great are led from one place to another, are turned about with a very small rudder, wherever the steersman wills. This small rudder (helm) guides and controls this great ship which is driven of fierce and violent winds.

5, 6. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 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.

Literal: Even so the tongue is a little member of the body, and talks big -- boasting great things. Take notice, a little fire, how large a forest it kindles -- how large a forest it lights on fire. The tongue is set in flames, it is a fire, a regular disposition and arrangement of doing contrary to right -- doing wrong and injustice and injurious to others -- "a world of iniquity". So is the tongue among our members that it defiles, marks or stains the whole body and sets on fire the course (i.e. anything made round for rolling or running like a circuit) of nature. Nature is defined as "the natural life which is set in motion at birth and rolls on; the course of life." And the source of this world of iniquity setting in flames the course of life is hell -- the god of this world. He is the originator of all that steals, kills or destroys -- the source of all iniquity. You must control what and how you speak. It's not hard to do if you make a conscious effort and stay clear and concerned about your goal.

7, 8, 9, 10, 11. 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: But the tongue can no man tame; it is  an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water  and bitter?

Literal: For every species both of wild beasts and birds and of creeping animals or reptiles and of things in the sea is overpowered/tamed/subdued by mankind. But the tongue can no man conquer or tame. It is an unrestrainable evil and cannot be constrained or coerced even by force. It is full of deadly poison. With it we praise God and with the same tongue we also pray against or wish evil upon men, who are made after the likening of God. Out of the same mouth goes forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things should not be. Does the spring or fountain send forth, out of the same opening, sweet water and bitter water?! The renewed mind should teach us how to act on the Word and then be able to resist and recognize temptation. You should KNOW and APPLY God's Word in the following area:

Romans 12: 19 -- Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather  give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is  mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Resist all temptation to get even. Vengeance is God's job, not yours. Mind your own business and stay out of other people's affairs. ONLY the Word of God LEARNED and APPLIED will change people.

James 4: 7 -- Submit [addict] yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

12. Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can  no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

Literal: Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries?! Or a vine bear figs?! Thus no fountain or spring is able to produce or yield both salt water and sweet water.

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.

Literal: Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show out of good conduct and mode of life, his works or deeds with gentleness or MEEKNESS (i.e. enduring all things with an even temper) of WISDOM (i.e. a right application of knowledge).

14. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

Literal: But if you have cruel or bitter, heart-burning jealousy, emulation (ambitious rivalry) and conflict and dissension (difference of opinion) in your heart, do not boast against and do not lie against the truth.

15, 16. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is  earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is,  there is  confusion and every evil work.

Literal: This type of wisdom descends or comes not from above, but is upon the earth and of it. It is natural and is a stranger to what is of the Spirit of God and it is devilish -- of the god of this world. For where there is ambitious rivalry, strife and division, ("envying and strife"), there is disorder, instability, agitation, emotional disturbance, commotion, unquietness, and every good for nothing, worthless deed, act, fact, matter, business or affair.

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.

Literal: But the wisdom that is from above is first pure from any defilement, peaceful, and good for your health -- wholesome, gentle, fair, kind, considerate, forbearing, not insisting on the letter of the law and easy to comply with or to be persuaded. Wisdom, regarded as residing in the mind coming from above, from the true God, is also full of compassion, sympathy, and admirable results (good works). This wisdom is also without partiality or favoritism and is genuine, real, and sincere -- without hypocrisy.

18. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Literal: But the fruit or product of doing what is just or right according to the Word of God (righteousness) in peace is sown or planted for those that make peace. Peace here meaning the absence or end of strife. It denotes a state of untroubled, undisturbed, well being. It is the result of enjoying our forgiveness.