James 3

Taming the Tongue

1 c Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For d we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, e he is a perfect man, f able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put g bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet h it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And i the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, j staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, 1 and set on fire by hell. 2 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, k full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people l who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, 3 these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Wisdom from Above

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? m By his good conduct let him show his works n in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter o jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not p the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, q demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But r the wisdom from above is first pure, then s peaceable, gentle, open to reason, t full of mercy and good fruits, u impartial and v sincere. 18 And w a harvest of righteousness x is sown in peace by those who make peace.

  1. Cross References
    Matthew 23:8
    But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.
    Romans 2:20 - 21
    An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth -
    1 Timothy 1:7
    Desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
  2. Cross References
    1 Kings 8:46
    If they sin against you - for there is no one who does not sin - and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near.
    Proverbs 20:9
    Who can say, "I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin"?
    Ecclesiastes 7:20
    Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
    1 John 1:8
    If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
  3. Cross References
    Matthew 12:37
    For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
  4. Cross References
    James 1:26
    If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.
  5. Cross References
    Psalms 32:9
    Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
  6. Cross References
    Psalms 12:3 - 4
    May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts.
    Psalms 73:8 - 9
    They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.
  7. Cross References
    Psalms 120:2 - 4
    Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.
    Proverbs 16:27
    A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.
  8. Cross References
    Matthew 15:18
    But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
  9. Cross References
    Psalms 140:3
    They make their tongue sharp as a serpent's, and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah
    Ecclesiastes 10:11
    If the serpent bites before it is charmed, there is no advantage to the charmer.
    Romans 3:13
    "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips."
  10. Cross References
    Genesis 1:26
    Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
  11. Cross References
    James 2:18
    But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
  12. Cross References
    James 1:21
    Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
  13. Cross References
    James 3:16
    For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, ...
    Acts 5:17
    But the high priest rose up, and all who were w...
    Romans 2:8
    But for those who are self-seeking and do not o...
    2 Corinthians 12:20
    For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find ...
    Galatians 5:20
    Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fi...
    Philippians 1:17
    The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not ...
    Philippians 2:3
    Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humi...
    Romans 13:13
    Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in ...
  14. Cross References
    James 1:17
    Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
  15. Cross References
    1 Kings 22:22
    And the Lord said to him, 'By what means?' And he said, 'I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And he said, 'You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.
    2 Thessalonians 2:9 - 10
    The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders.
    1 Timothy 4:1
    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.
    Revelation 2:24
    But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden.
  16. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 2:6 - 7
    Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.
  17. Cross References
    Hebrews 12:11
    For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
  18. Cross References
    Luke 6:36
    Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
  19. Cross References
    James 2:4
    Have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
  20. Cross References
    Romans 12:9
    Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
  21. Cross References
    Proverbs 11:18
    The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
    Isaiah 32:17
    And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
    Hosea 10:12
    Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
    Amos 6:12
    Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood -
    Philippians 1:11
    Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
  22. Cross References
    Matthew 5:9
    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
    Galatians 6:7 - 8
    Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
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