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CONTROL OF THE TONGUE
The third chapter contains instruction or admonition concerning the control of the tongue (James 3:1-18 ). Just as the instruction in the other instances grew out of something written in the first chapter, so also here. He had exhorted them to be “swift to hear and slow to speak”; following that he had showed them how to hear in the sense that they must be doers of what they hear; and now he would show them how to be slow of speech in the sense that they should “set a watch before their mouths and keep the door of their lips.”
“Masters” in James 3:1 is really “teachers.” This shows the direction of their temptation to talk too much. They affected teaching, after the manner of those rebuked by Paul in his letters to Timothy and Titus. There was danger in their doing this, as James 3:1 indicates. A heavier responsibility rested upon teachers than upon the taught, and there was the likelihood of stumbling in that capacity (James 3:2 ).
Note how he speaks first, of the power of the tongue (James 3:3-5 ). What three illustrations does he employ? Secondly, he speaks of the evil of the tongue (James 3:6 ). How is it described? What does it do? Whence the source of its iniquity? Thirdly, he speaks of its uncontrollableness (James 3:7-8 ). With how many wild, and subtle, and strong things, does he compare it in this regard?
After speaking the tongue in general terms, how does he apply the subject to the present condition of things (James 3:9-10 )? By the use of what similes does he seek to better it (James 3:11-12 )? What is the relation between wisdom and speech (James 3:13 )? What does the strife of tongues indicate as to the condition of the heart (James 3:14 )? What is the source of such strife (James 3:15 )? Its product (James 3:16 )? How does true wisdom compare with it as to its source, character, and effects (James 3:17-18 ) ?
The questions in the text of this lesson render unnecessary any at the end.
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Gray, James. "Commentary on James 3". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12