Vs 1 – Word “master” = instructor or teacher. Many of the Jewish Christians were attempting to teach what they did not clearly understand; there was a call for wise teachers.

Teachers are necessary, but incompetent and unworthy ones do a lot of  harm. I Corinthians 12:28 & 14:26.

Vs 2 – “stumble” = to fall. We all offend in many things: Psalms 32:9.          “perfect” = a man of character.  Be careful what and how we teach; Ephesians 4:15

James teaches that the man who bridles his tongue does not stumble in speech and is able also to control his whole body with all its passions..

Vs 3 – Bits are put in the mouths of the horses so we can turn about their whole body.

This is to illustrate how man turns about his whole body with the little tongue. ”

The body of the horse follows his mouth, guided by the bridle, in a similar way, mans body will follow his tongue.

The same applies to the pen, so be careful what we write.

Vs 4 – Ships are big but the small rudder can turn it around. The ship follows the rudder, the body follows the tongue, the horse follows the bit in his mouth.

“Governor” refers to the wheel which steers the ship with a  pilot moving the wheel

Listeth” = intends or will and it can be of impulse.

Vs 5 – A small tongue can speak or boast (talk big, be egotistical,) and can cause harm.

Illustration: in the same way a small fire can destroy a great forest.

Vs 6 – This is a metaphor that likens a tongue to a fire: 

Proverbs 16:27 & Proverbs 26:18-22

“world of iniquity” = it is big enough to be unjust, unrighteousness, wrong; a little world of evil in itself.

“setteth on fire”  = habitually and continually; it ignites.  While a man inflames others, he passes out of his own power, being consumed in the        flame himself.  Matthew 15:11 & 18-20.

An unruly tongue is worse than the fire of hell which  torments only the wicked; but this afflicts all, both bad and good.

Vs 7 – Man has tamed wild animals, birds etc.

Vs 8 – “unruly evil” = an evil that cannot be restrained;

“full of deadly poison’ Often charged with malice, envy, anger, slander, etc.

Romans 3:13;  Psalms 140:3

Vs 9 – A small tongue can thank God, praise God, and yet, curse men that are made in the image of God.

Vs 10 – You can use your mouth to bless or curse; to say nice things or things that can cause harm, danger and ruin.

Vs 11 – Grace can make the same mouth that “sent forth the bitter” to “send forth the sweet” just as the wood (typical of Christ’s cross) changed Marah’s bitter water into sweet.

Vs 12 – The same metaphor is found in Matthew 7:16.

             Four distinct comparisons here:

            1. A fountain cannot produce sweet water and bitter. 

            2. A fig tree cannot produce olive berries. 

            3. A vine cannot produce figs. 

            4. Salt water cannot be made sweet (some commentators referred to the bitter water as salt water.

Vs 12 –The same metaphor is found in Matthew 7:16.

            Four distinct comparisons here:

            1. A fountain cannot produce sweet water and bitter. 

            2. A fig tree cannot produce olive berries. 

            3. A vine cannot produce figs. 

            4. Salt water cannot be made sweet

Vs 13 –Wiseman – reference to James 3:1 a master of the Word of God. One who cannot bridle or tame other men’s tongues but can restrain his own tongue as he teaches the Word of God.

            “endued with knowledge” = qualified to teach others

Vs 13-18 – These verses show the difference between mans “pretending” to be wise and those who actually have wisdom.

Vs 14 –“and lie not” = don’t live contrary to the Truth you teach.

            “envy and strife” = when envy is the heart, strife soon comes out of the tongue. Envy is the mother of strife

            “glory not” = boasting arrogance, which shows that they lack wisdom

Vs 15 – this is a counterfit wisdom. All true wisdom comes from God – James 1:5 & 17

            “earthly” wisdom is “sensual” = it is animal – like or of the passions of animals

            “devilish” = inspired by the devil (satan), demons and maintained by their influences.

Vs 16 – This verse is a GOOD commentary on verses 14-15

             Titus 3:9 – The Jews were an intolerant people. They would argue and strain at a knat over the things in the Law.

             “envying” = the envious man stands in his own light. He thinks his candle cannot shine in the presence of another’s shining light.

             “envy, strife, confusion & every evil work” = everything is unsettled & agitated.  There is no organized plan & effort, no cooperation nor stability in any plan & purpose = defeat

Vs 17 – God’s wisdom is pure = Holy & clean

             God’s wisdom is peace and gentle = living in peace with others

             “gentle” = appropriate, moderate

             “easy to be entreated’ = not stubborn or obstinate

             “full of mercy” = ready to forgive

             “good fruits’ = God’s wisdom produces what is good, wholesome, productive

             “without partiality” = without making a difference or being partial to others never swayed by self interest, worldly honor or the fear of man.

             “ without hypocrisy” = not pretending to be something you are not.

Vs 18 – Matthew 5:9 – Proverbs 11:18 – Philippians 1:11

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