The Tongue

5 11 2014

James 3:1-12

James is the oldest step-brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3), who did not become a believer until after the resurrection (John 7:5; Acts 1:14). Jesus made a special personal appearance to James before his ascension (1 Corinthians 15:7). He became the pastor of the church at Jerusalem and a pillar of the NT church (Galatians 2:9). Peter and Paul both recognized his authority and wisdom.

James’ writing somewhat resembles the Book of Proverbs as he probably recalls the character of Jesus while they grew up together. The tongue is an important topic of James, mentioned in every chapter of the Book. The premier chapter in the Bible concerning the tongue is this third chapter. With typical Hebrew literary style, he uses analogy (object lessons/comparisons) to reinforce his point.

Realities of the tongue

1. Controlling the tongue (v.1-2)
Definition: Master-Teacher
Definition: Perfect-Mature
Analogy– a horses’ bridle; discipline of the mouth will turn the whole body

2. Directing the tongue (v.3-6)
Analogy– a ships’ rudder; a small object controls a large outcome

3. Taming the tongue (v.7-8)
Definition: Set on fire of Hell- indicates that the tongue can be Satan’s tool, fulfilling hell’s purposes to pollute, corrupt, and destroy.   MacArthur New Testament Commentary
Analogy– the beast; taming an animal is to control its behavior

4. Capacity of the tongue (v.9-12)

Analogy– the fountain; sweetness and bitterness should not come from the same source

The tongue is you in a unique way. It is a tattletale that tells on the heart and discloses the real person.   MacArthur New Testament Commentary

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