The Book of James – The Tongue James 3:1-6

11 Jan



We are switching gears in this post. James finished his thought on faith and now covers a subject that has separated friends, ruined marriages, destroyed lives and even led nations into war.

The Tongue

James begins with a discourse on the potential destruction our words can inflict upon our fellow man.  You may already have someone in mind that “really needs to hear this”.  In truth we all need to hear it.  I listened to a speech given by a Supreme Court Justice.  In that speech I heard three words that really stuck with me…words have meaning.  I really took this to heart.  He is right, words do have meaning.  Most conflicts start with careless words spoken in haste or in anger.

Example Time

We certainly have a treasure chest full of sayings to illustrate the importance of choosing our words wisely.

A children’s song… “O be careful little mouth what you say”

Mother’s advice…”If you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all”.

In the text itself, verses 3-4, we have two examples of how that little thing in our mouth, our tongue, can get us into big trouble. (The bit in the horse’s mouth and the rudder of a ship are used to show how a small thing can control a large animal or ship.)

Mr. Know-it-all

know-it-allThere are some who earn a label by offering advice on any subject, Mr. Know-it-all.  They are always telling people what to do.  They want to be in charge, you know the type.  In our very first verse of chapter 3 James points a finger strait at those who try to be bossy and reminds them that God is watching and judgment is coming. If any of us are known as know-it-alls, it’s time to stop. Stop it!

We Can’t Take it Back

In the second verse James states that the tongue is what gets us in trouble.  No one is immune to saying something hurtful; however, some are quite skilled at being offensive. 

    • How many marriages could have been saved if all the hurtful words had not spilled out?
    • How many friendships might still be intact had they chosen their words more carefully?
    • How many sons have not spoken to their father in years due to words said in haste?

Final Thoughts

In the beginning of verse 2 James says that a person who never offends in words is perfect.  I doubt anyone reading this post will say they are perfect but if we are careful about what we say, trying not to offend, this is pleasing to God.  (This works in all relationships)

In verse 6 James speaks very plain: the tongue is compared to a burning fire, a world of iniquity having the ability to defile the whole body.  His final remark in the verse states that the tongue left unguarded is ignited by the fires of hell itself.  That’s some powerful imagery.  Words have meaning, choose wisely.

Until Night,

A Servant


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10 responses to “The Book of James – The Tongue James 3:1-6

  1. limbiley

    January 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Mr know it all,we are friends.

    • A Servant

      January 16, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      I have enjoyed your posts. You open up and what is inside starts pouring out. That takes guts. I admire that.
      Know-it-all is hopefully the last thing I portray.
      My failures would require many more volumes than these few thoughts I have posted.
      A Servant

      • limbiley

        January 16, 2014 at 7:57 pm

        No sorry you misunderstand,I meant it as I ve known a few MR know it alls,in fact I was one myself lol.

    • A Servant

      January 16, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      I was a know-it-all before grace thought me a better way. Praise God for His love
      A Servant

  2. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    January 16, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    There is only one way we can know it all Gary and that is if we have God’s wisdom because He knows it all but we never will in the carnal flesh, that is why we are to put it to death. We can’t know God’s Truth when the flesh is in control because we reason and use our logic in a carnal way and our knowledge and wisdom are worldly but Jesus did not come to condemn us but to save us and to set us free from the slavery of the flesh.

    He tells us we don’t have because we don’t ask, seek or knock, asking for His wisdom brings His Truth and Light, asking for The Holy Spirit brings His empowering. Than as we receive in Faith we can share with others with full assurance it is God’s Truth, as it is confirmed in the Scriptures (1Corinthians 2:9-16 ) and we can also discern error and judge unrighteousness but Love is always our measuring rod because God is Love and His wisdom as empowered by The Holy Spirit is all about Love.

    James 15: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

    Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

    Lamentations 3: 33 For God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne

    • A Servant

      January 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Gary and I both marvel at the blessing He has allowed us through this blog. God bless you both.
      A Servant

  3. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    January 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Sorry but who are you ? I was under the impression after reading and commenting on your About that it was Gary who was writing these messages or is it you, who ever you are.

    I’m sorry to be so direct but when I share with someone I like to know who it is, I’m more than fed up with Blog names, why are people hiding behind them ? and yet claiming to walk in Truth, which is open and honest.

    On your About Gary said his name was Gary Snow, yes there was mention of a fellow servant but it was Garry who I thought I was sharing with, if not please make it clear who I am and who is writing these messages as you both claim to be servants.

    In reference to the message you or Gary ? has Posted above, it is True the carnal flesh does not build up but destroys both in words and actions, this is why we are to put it to death but we can also see by Scripture that Love is not Saccharin sweet either, this leaves a bitter after taste. As Jesus and Paul shows us, Love also expresses itself in a direct and open way and with strength if needed but it is not motivated by carnal physical impulses but what comes from The Spirit and so is in Righteousness and Truth and if needed with a whip, yes there is Righteous anger when there is a just cause for it.

    If we are to share about The Word of God we need to read the Scriptures with His wisdom not in the flesh which is motivated by a carnal agenda. But sadly many don’t even read the Scriptures, they just Trust in what they think or what others tell them without checking the Scripture themselves to confirm if it is God’s Truth, they never ask for His wisdom or for The Holy Spirit they think they are just sapped, but God never goes against our free will , we ask and we receive.

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne.

    • A Servant

      January 16, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      My apologies. In fact the about page is being updated this evening to clarify there are two of us. No deception was intended.
      My intent is to focus on who Jesus is, who I am is of little worth. I will however go to your site, get an email address and introduce myself.
      A Servant

    • A Fellow Servant

      January 16, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      Hello Anne,
      On behalf of myself and my brother in Christ, who does use the pen name ‘A Servant’ only out of humility in desire that all glory and credit go to Christ, we thank you for visiting our blog ministry and apologize for the confusion. I just updated our About page. The original About page was written over a year ago before my good friend joined me in this ministry. I agree with your previous comments and hope you will continue to stop in and visit. I also use a pen name, ‘A Fellow Servant’, as the apostle Paul often introduced himself as sundoulos theos, that is ‘Fellowservant of God’. I am no Paul to be sure but I do desire to possess a servant’s heart. Please accept our apologies as our only intention is to spread the truth and be a blessing.

      Christian love in return – Gary Snow (your fellow servant 🙂 )

  4. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    January 17, 2014 at 12:37 am

    Thank you Gary for your explanation, I appreciate that you both took the time to respond. As strange as it seems we are all Paul or should I say Jesus, when we are walking in Truth and Righteousness, No we are not God, we will always be under His Authority as we are now under Jesus Christ’ our Lord and Saviour who is part of The Godhead or Trinity as They are called today and when having His seed or nature and being perfected in Love, we also have His mind.

    Jesus knows our name it is engraved on the palm of His hands, no not by a tattoo but by the rusty nails of evil that pieced them, yes He knew our name on the cross even when we were far from Him and He knows us by Name now, we Love Him because He first Loved us and His Love does not end.

    The Holy Spirit empowers us to share His Truth and like you both do, with the confirmation of Scripture too. 1Corinthians 2:9-16 Jesus is our Spiritual Husband, we do not walk alone.

    I very much appreciate your humble spirit and your desire not to have God’s glory but regardless of what we are called, all Glory goes to Him when His Truth is shared but He does call us by name and in Him we also are glorified, no not in a worldly way but Spiritually as we soar with Him and not as His servants but as His friends, Luke 12:4 & John 15:14- 15 although we are to always have servant hearts as you both seek to have and I commend you very much for this.

    I do not claim to be perfected yet but like Paul I aim for it in Christ Jesus, putting my fleshy childishness behind me, as my flesh is being put to death by the Spirit as I choose to walk in His Fruit by His empowering.

    Thank you for for your welcome to share again, I appreciate your Loving acceptance.

    Christian Love Always from both of us – Anne


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