Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of James Chapter 3
Metaphysically Interpreting James 3:1-12
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 man, able to bridle the whole body also. 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.
November 2, 1947: James 3:1-6
Is it advisable for us to curb our impulse to teach others what we know? Yes. No one willingly accepts gratuitous instruction, and the would-be teacher assumes a responsibility that he is not always qualified for. Good advice also is better kept than given.
What task is the responsibility of everyone? The task of controlling one's own life, harmonizing one's will with the divine will, and exercising dominion over oneself, one's environment, and one's circumstances.
In what does mental and moral training consist? Largely in self-discipline.
What is one of the distinctive marks of a cultured person? Poise, which results from one's being in complete command of one's thoughts and words.
Why is the control of the tongue of the utmost importance? Because the words that we speak affect every department of our life.
How do we control our words? By first controlling our thoughts. Two things are essential to this: fore-thought and consciousness of God as the directing power in our life.
Why is the tongue considered so powerful? Because back of the tongue are the mighty forces of will and desire, forces that the sense mind cannot control. “The tongue can no man tame.”
What is the only sure way to control the tongue? Transferring our will and desire from the realm of sense to the realm of Spirit. This transfer works a revolutionary change in our life.
How can words control the body? The choice of clean, cheerful, wholesome words expressing constructive thoughts insures a positive mental outlook that keeps the body in health and wholeness.
How can we make sure that our spoken words have the power to establish good? By keeping them true and consistent. When we speak lovingly and kindly of others, but speak disparagingly of ourselves, we hinder the spiritual power within us and render our influence negative through our inconsistency.
June 6, 1909: James 3:1-12
“Philosophers have striven to discover what faculty most clearly separates man from the brute; as that man is the only animal that laughs, or the only animal that cooks, or the only animal that stands upright. Most thinkers, however, agree that the power of speech, with all that has grown out of it, is the clearest and most important distinction of mankind and the surest indication of the superiority that God has conferred upon the human race.” - Peloubet.
The Word of God is expressed in man and as stated in the first chapter of John, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Speech is the expresser of intelligence in its highest degree, and, although as yet in its infancy in the human race, has within it mighty creative capacity, “All things were made by him.” The creative power of being is coming into expression through the speech of mankind, and as we raise our understanding to higher and still higher points of perception, so in the same degree does the power of the tongue evolve greater creative capacity. This may have been a silent thought or a spoken word, as modern healers are proving that both are effective in bringing about changes in bodily conditions.
Words are framed in the mind and formed in speech. The tongue is the central figure in the process because it receives and directs the vibrations from the larynx, and back of the larynx is the mind that sets up its action. The tongue, then, is not the source of the evil that is vented through it, but it is merely the agent of the mind. It is quite evident that the correction of the errors of the unruly member must begin in thought. “Out of the fullness of the heart (subconsciousness), the mouth speaketh.”
The tongue becomes quite obedient, when the thoughts are set in Divine order, and, instead of being an evil member, proves one of the best in the body. The garrulous tongue conserves its energies, and the sharp words of the critic are tempered with tenderness and love, when we “keep the sayings” of Jesus and affirm “The words I speak are not mine but the Father dwelling in me.” This affirmation will cause us to think carefully before we speak, and to refrain from all utterances that in any way express the error side of existence. Physiologists say that the tongues of women are larger than those of men. The tongue is a muscle and it is well known that use increases the size of a muscle.
– UNITY magazine
MAY 26, 1912: James 3:1-12
What gives power to words? 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.
What are the two fundamental attitudes of mind? The positive and negative or affirmation and denial. “Let your speech be. Yea, yea; Nay, nay.”
What determines whether a word is constructive or destructive? The character of the idea it conveys.
How does man make his world? By his word, either silently or audibly expressed.
What ideas make words constructive? Life, Love, Wisdom, Substance, Power, Strength, and every idea that expresses a Divine attribute.
What is the effect of words carrying the Life Idea? They are vitalizing and life giving.
What effect is produced by words that express Divine Love? They are harmonizing.
How are words made active in the body? They are 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.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1916: James 3:1-12
How does the overcomer establish this perfect consciousness? Through denying false thoughts and affirming the good, the Truth. Through thinking and speaking the Word.
How may the tongue be controlled? When we conform our thoughts to the ideas of Divine Mind, and realize ourselves as Divine Being, out of our hearts will come the real issues of life and the fruit of the tongue will be the words of Spirit.
What office has truthfulness in overcoming? When we are true to Principle, performing “unto the Lord” our covenants, a corresponding truthfulness will be evident in all our external affairs, and “with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
– UNITY magazine.
October 1, 1916: James 3:1-12
Of all the unruly members of the body, the tongue is the worst. The tongue can send forth the fire of heaven or hell. It can speak words of life or death. It is the two-edged flaming sword standing at the gate of the garden of Eden.
The philosopher Xanthus ordered his servant AEsop to prepare for a certain important occasion, a banquet of the very best he had. The feast proved to consist merely of tongues – tongues of many animals, cooked in many fashions. When the indignant philosopher summoned his steward, AEsop defended himself by showing how the tongue is “the very best,” being the organ of prayer and exhortation, of wise judgment in the courts and courageous command in battle, the organ that teaches and comforts, and cheers and advises and promises and inspires. “Well” said Xanthus, “if that is the case, make haste and prepare another feast; and give us this time the very worst you have.” The steward obeyed, but the second time he [served] tongues, tongues, nothing but tongues. “Why is this?” asked the angry Xanthus. “Master,” said the wise steward, “The tongue is the worst as well as the best. By it comes treason and lies and slanders. It is the organ of anger and every passion. It cheats and scolds and wheedles. It is frivolous and boastful and sensual. All evil is in the tongue.”
But we should not forget that “the tongue of the wise is health.” “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and the law of kindness is on her tongue.”
– UNITY magazine.
June: 6 , 1897: James 3:1-13
1. The unity of God and man is the highest lesson we have to learn. In learning it we drop the mortal idea “many” and accept the Divine idea of one. For God is one and God is all. There is no room for “many masters” here. When self is swallowed up in God, the “many” disappears in the “one”; for the one is all. Then “He reigns whose right it is to reign.” This is the point of perfect harmony, because only One Will is known – “one master” – not “many”.
In the mortal thought are “many masters” – minds many and diverse, and wills many and diverse. Here is confusion, guilt and “condemnation.” Abiding in the “one”, there is no sense of sin or “condemnation.”
2. But in the mortal thought where “many masters” rule, there is “condemnation” and death. “In many things we offend all.” In the idea of many, “It must be that offenses come.”
Your word is the expression of your thought. If you are at one with the Father, your word will be pure and will not “offend”, because in this at-one-ment you are a “perfect man” consciously, and speak from the high plane of Divine consciousness. In this harmonious state of thought you will “be able to bridle the whole body,” restraining all carnal desires, and so by the power of your word, you bring into manifestation a healthy body.
3. Your word of truth is a “bit” in your mouth by the power of which you “turn about the whole body” from sickness to health. It is your servant, obedient to your spoken word from the understanding of your union with the one.
4. And when that word is your “helm” in the hand of the One Will (“governor”), you will not be “driven of fierce winds” of environment; but your life and affairs will be “turned about” from confusion and failure to harmony and success, obeying your word and will.
5. Your word (“tongue”) may seem a “very little thing,” too small to be considered, but your power of accomplishment for either good or evil resides in it. “It shall accomplish as you please.”
6. You cannot calculate what a “world of iniquity” resides in your burning word, spoken out of the pit of “hell” of an evil heart, “defiling the whole body,” carrying inharmony, sickness and death to the “whole circle of nature,” the whole round of human experience.
7. “For every beast's and bird's and serpent's nature hath been tamed of man's nature;” that is: every groveling thought and every stinging hatred thought hath been brought into subjection to (the true) man's thought.
8. But your spoken word cannot be taken back. It has gone forth on its mission of good or ill to accomplish that “where unto it is sent.”
9-10. It is an engine of great power for “blessing or cursing,” according to the thought that has given it expression. “These things would not be so”, if all men were in the consciousness of union with the One. Yet thoughts must obey the Divine Law of expression. A gentleman came to me with severe toothache. I asked him,” Do you know that you are a spiritual being?” and he said, “Yes.” Then I asked “Can a Spiritual being have toothache?” He replied “No.” Then I said with great force: '“Then you have no toothache, and you know it.” And the pain vanished. If you send forth your word with vehemence and understanding, your word will be “with power.”
11-12. That mind can be both good and evil, sending forth sweet water and bitter water (good thoughts and evil thoughts) arises from a misconception of man's true being.
13. Whoever is wise, being in the understanding of true being, and having knowledge of the power of words, will show his wisdom in the right use of words in his conversation.
– UNITY magazine.
Metaphysically Interpreting James 3:13-18
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 above 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 peace for them that make peace.
October 17, 1937: James 3:1-18
What point is of especial importance? The point of this lesson is the power of the word or the importance of right speech. The lesson emphasizes the negative side, and stresses the difficulty that one meets in controlling the tongue.
What is the result to the speaker, when he speaks words that are right and fitting? Perfect self-control is the reward of wise, true words habitually spoken. “If any stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.”
What figures of speech are employed in the text to show what is accomplished by proper control of one’s thoughts and words? The bridle to control the horse through the mouth and the rudder that controls the course of the ship are both cited in illustration of the power of the tongue to influence life.
What is the cause of inconsiderate or tactless speech? The cause is lack of understanding or lack of love.
Interpret the words “The tongue is a fire.” Negative or destructive words consume peace, love, goodness, and mercy as a fire consumes some priceless thing. On the other hand the word of God is the fire that consumes what is negative and destructive, and frees man to think constructively.
In what respect is the statement “The tongue can no man tame” a true one, and in what respect is it false? It is true that no man in his personal strength can “tame” or control his tongue. It is not true that man as a son of God cannot master the impulse to hasty, unconsidered speech.
From what evil in connection with words does everyone especially need deliverance? Everyone needs to overcome the temptation to see both good and evil and speak of both as real and true. Only the good is true, but habits of speech are bound up with appearances, and clear thinking is needed to deliver everyone who is give to faith in duality.
How can we put depth of meaning into life through our words? 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.
September 14, 1947: James 3:17
Is it the part of wisdom to make peace our unvarying goal? Yes. Harmony is indispensable if we are to influence others to follow the true way of life in unity of spirit.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 10-31-2013