Summary of James 3:
James begins by stating that teachers are judged more strictly. We all stumble in our walk with God. Small things can control big objects: a bit controls a horse, a rudder controls the ship. The tongue can as well. A tiny spark can burn and destroy the whole forest. So can the tongue: it can corrupt the whole person. No man can tame it (implying only God can). It is evil.
For out of the same mouth come praises to God and curses to men. This should not be.
The wise are shown by a good life and deeds done in humility. Earthly wisdom harbors bitter envy, selfish ambitions, boasting, denying the truth, disorder, and evil. Heavenly wisdom is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, merciful, impartial, and sincere, leading to righteousness.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 2: James 3
3a) Our evil selves.
b) James says we cannot praise God one moment and then curse our brothers the next with the same tongue. Speech can corrupt the whole person and set the whole course of his life on fire.
4) Personal Question. My answer: To clean up my speech and to speak encouraging words.
5a) Personal Question. My answer: There are two kinds of wisdom: 1) heavenly wisdom that is shown in good deeds and humility is from God 2) earthly wisdom that harbors bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, which is from the devil.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I really don’t consider myself wise at all. There are many more much wiser than me. I can practice heavenly wisdom with everyone.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 2: James 3
I have no erudite words today. I’m honestly tired from the coronavirus stuff to think much.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 2: James 3
It is easy to take the position of teacher lightly in the church, without considering its cost in terms of accountability. Jesus warned to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much have been committed, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48)
The words of Jesus and James remind us that being among the teachers in God’s church is more than a matter of having natural or even spiritual gifts; there is an additional dimension of appropriate character and right living.
Therefore, teachers were both tested more and would be judged more strictly.
The ancient Greek word translated stumble does not imply a fatal fall, but something that trips us up and hinders our spiritual progress. We all stumble; we should still press on.
This is another of the several statements in the Bible which tell us that all men sin (also including 1 Kings 8:46; Job 14:4; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; and 1 John 1:8, 10).
The Power of Words
Jesus demonstrated in Matthew 12:34-37 that words are the revelation of the inner character.
Even so, if we have control over our tongue it is an indication that we have control over our self. Whoever can control the tongue can bridle the whole body (James 3:2).
What others say to us and what we say to others can last a long time, for good or for evil.
James isn’t telling us to never speak or to take a vow of silence;
James tells us that no man can tame the tongue. Nevertheless the tongue can be brought under the power and the control of the Holy Spirit.
The tongue can be used for the highest calling (to bless our God), and it can be used for the lowest evil (to curse men).
Our speech should be consistently glorifying to God.
Jesus taught in Matthew 12:34-37 that a man’s words are a reliable revelation of his inner character. What we say can indicate what we are.
Real wisdom and understanding will show in our lives, by our good conduct. It is full of love and a giving heart, consistent with the holiness of God.
Earthly wisdom is bitter and self-seeking, characteristic of the devil.