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Bible Commentaries

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

James 3

Verses 1-18

The writer now proceeded to show the effect of faith on speech. Beginning with the warning against every man setting up to teach, he proceeded to deal with the power of speech. He likened the tongue to the bit in the mouth of a horse, and to the helm of a ship. Surely a contrast between the tongue set on fire by hell and the tongue of fire is suggested. Speech ever waits for inspiration, and such inspiration comes from the depths of evil or from the Spirit of the living God. Follows a contrast between the wisdom which is described as being "earthly,

animal, devilish," and the true wisdom in which the deepest fact is purity. The resulting purity is the character described as "peaceable," that is, desiring peace; "gentle," that is, forbearing; "easy to be entreated," that is, amenable to reason; "full of mercy," that is, capable of forgiving; and "full of good fruits," that is, actually engaged in kindness; "without variance," that is, consistent in the sense of being even and regular in tone and temper; "without hypocrisy," that is, without deceit or acting a part. Evil wisdom produces tempest and conflict, strife and malice. The wisdom from above has the manifestations of calm and certainty, of quietness and love.

The closing words, "the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace," suggest the propagative power of peace. All this teaching shows the effect of faith on that natural character from which speech springs, and therefore it reveals the effect of faith on speech itself.

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Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on James 3". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.