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James 3 with Metaphysical Footnotes (ASV)

Taming the Tongue

3:1Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment. 3:2For in many things we all stumble. If any stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man1, able to bridle the whole body also.2 3:3Now if we put the horses' bridles into their mouths that they may obey us, we turn about their whole body also. 3:4Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, are yet turned about by a very small rudder, whither the impulse of the steersman willeth. 3:5So the tongue also is a little member, and boasteth great things.

Behold, how much wood is kindled by how small a fire! 3:6And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell. 3:7For every kind of beasts and birds, of creeping things and things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed by mankind. 3:8But the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison. 3:9Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God: 3:10out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.3:11Doth the fountain send forth from the same opening sweet water and bitter? 3:12Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a vine figs? Neither can salt water yield sweet.

  1. If any stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man. It is everyone's responsibility to control one's own life, harmonize one's will with the divine will, and exercise dominion over oneself, one's environment, and one's circumstances. One of the distinctive marks of such a person is poise, which results from one's being in complete command of one's thoughts and words.
  2. able to bridle the whole body also. Words are able to bridle the whole body because every word has back of it an idea, and the power of the word is primarily in that idea. Added power is given by the speaker according to his realization of oneness with the idea and the force of his thought. Words are made active in the body by being received by the mind and carried into the body through the subconscious by thought. Constructive words that renew the body are made part of the body consciousness by prayer and meditation.

Two Kinds of Wisdom

3:13Who is wise and understanding among you? let him show by his good life his works in meekness of wisdom.3:14But if ye have bitter jealousy and faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth. 3:15This wisdom is not a wisdom that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.3:16For where jealousy and faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed. 3:17But the wisdom that is from above1 is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy. 3:18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace2 for them that make peace.

  1. the wisdom that is from above By invoking the “wisdom that is from above” before speaking, we can learn to speak only words that express purity, peace, gentleness, reason, mercy, goodness, steadfastness, and singleness of mind. This places depth of meaning into life through our words.
  2. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace Harmony is indispensable if we are to influence others to follow the true way of life in unity of spirit.

Fillmore Bible Society members who contributed to these annotations include Mark Hicks.

Download PDF of James 3 with Metaphysical Footnotes (ASV) from the Fillmore Study Bible

Preceding Entry: James 2
Following Entry: James 4