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Speak Wisely

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach[a] will be judged more severely than others.[b] For all of us make many mistakes. If someone does not make any mistakes when he speaks, he is perfect and able to control his whole body. Now if we put bits into horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we can guide their whole bodies as well. And look at ships! They are so big that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are steered by a tiny rudder wherever the helmsman directs.

In the same way, the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it can boast of great achievements. A huge forest can be set on fire by a little flame. The tongue is a fire, a world of evil. Placed among the parts of our bodies, the tongue contaminates the whole body and sets on fire the course of life, and is itself set on fire by hell.[c] For all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures can be or have been tamed by humans, but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil filled with deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in God’s likeness. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. It should not be like this, my brothers! 11 A spring cannot pour both fresh and brackish water from the same opening, can it? 12 My brothers, a fig tree cannot produce olives, nor a grapevine figs, can it? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Live Wisely

13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his noble conduct that his actions are done humbly and wisely. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and rivalry in your hearts, stop boasting and slandering the truth. 15 That kind of wisdom does not come from above. No, it is worldly, self-centered, and demonic. 16 For wherever jealousy and rivalry exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil.

17 However, the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure, then peace-loving, gentle, willing to yield, full of compassion and good deeds,[d] and without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is grown from the seed of peace[e] planted by peacemakers.

Footnotes

  1. James 3:1 The Gk. lacks who teach
  2. James 3:1 The Gk. lacks than others
  3. James 3:6 Gk. Gehenna; a Gk. transliteration of the Heb. for Valley of Hinnom
  4. James 3:17 Lit. fruit
  5. James 3:18 Lit. is grown in peace

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