James 3-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Tongue Is a Fire
3 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a [a]stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in [b]what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our [c]life, and is set on fire by [d]hell. 7 For every [e]species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human [f]race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both [g]fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce [h]fresh.
Wisdom from Above
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and [i]selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, [j]natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and [k]selfish ambition exist, [l]there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [m]reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the [n]seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace [o]by those who make peace.
Things to Avoid
4 [p]What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? [q]Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask [r]with wrong motives, so that you may spend it [s]on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “[t]He [u]jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 [v]Yet you do not know [w]what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 [x]Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your [y]arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the [z]right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
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