Taming the tongue
1-2. Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
- Why should few people seek to teach? Serious ramifications! Set students’ direction – for good or ill.
- What happens if we can control our speech?
3-6. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
- What examples does James give to drive home his point that he who can control his tongue can control his whole body?
- What example does James give of when the tongue is not controlled? Sirach 28:8-26
9-12 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
- What habits and behaviours lead to an untamed tongue?
- What’s the problem with all this? Matthew 12:34
- What can we do about this? Us – Phil 4:8. God – Gal 5:22-24
Two Kinds of Wisdom
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
- What should the wise person do? Demonstrate wisdom by meekness
- What is “meekness”? Controlled strength
- What is the tension between “showing works” and not seeking earthly praise?
- Who has demonstrated this for you?
- How does earthly wisdom manifest itself?
- How does James describe it? Why? “Earthly, unspiritual, devilish”
- How is this ultimately shown?
17-18 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Selfish Ambition, Bitter Jealousy
-> Earthly Wisdom
-> Disorder and every vile practice
-> Heavenly Wisdom
Open to reason
Full of mercy
-> Harvest of righteousness