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James 3Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Controlling the Tongue

Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment, for we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says,[a] he is a mature man who is also able to control his whole body.[b]

Now when we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide the whole animal.[c] And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.

Every sea creature, reptile, bird, or animal is tamed and has been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. We praise our[d] Lord and Father with it, and we curse men who are made in God’s likeness with it. 10 Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way. 11 Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.

The Wisdom from Above

13 Who is wise and has understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and deny the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.

Footnotes:

  1. James 3:2 Lit in word
  2. James 3:2 Lit to bridle the whole body
  3. James 3:3 Lit whole body
  4. James 3:9 Or praise the
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