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And look at the ships. Even though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines. In the same sense, the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.

See [by comparison] how great a forest is set on fire by a small spark! And the tongue is [in a sense] a fire, the very world of injustice and unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our members as that which contaminates the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life [the cycle of man’s existence], and is itself set on fire by [a]hell (Gehenna).

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Footnotes

  1. James 3:6 See note Matt 5:22.

Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.(A) Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire,(B) a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body,(C) sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.(D)

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Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet (A)it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And (B)the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, (C)staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,[a] and set on fire by hell.[b]

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Footnotes

  1. James 3:6 Or wheel of birth
  2. James 3:6 Greek Gehenna