The Untamable Tongue
James 3:5-12
James presents taming tongue as a hopeless, but thankfully we have Christ as our great HOPE!
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Published May 23rd, 2016; Updated May 23rd, 2016
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Main point summary
Main point summary
Warning! The tongue is an untamable fire and a restless evil full of deadly poison.
James 3:5-12
So also the tongue is a small member, yet h it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze
Just as a forest is set on fire
by such a small fire!
by a small blaze
And i the tongue is a fire,
so also the tongue is a fire
a world of unrighteousness.
that is a world of unrighteousness
The tongue is set among our members,
Likewise, the tongue is a part of our body
j staining the whole body,
resulting in defiling our whole body
setting on fire the entire course of life, 1
moreover setting our life on fire
and set on fire by hell. 2
and furthermore is set on fire by hell itself.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,
For all creatures have been tamed by man
but no human being can tame the tongue.
But no one cam tame the tongue
It is a restless evil,
And it is a restless evil
k full of deadly poison.
that is full of deadly poison
With it we bless our Lord and Father,
For with it we bless God
and with it we curse people
on the other hand we curse people
l who are made in the likeness of God.
that is those who are made in God's image
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.
In other words we bless and curse with the same mouth
My brothers, 1 these things ought not to be so.
yet it should not be like this.
Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
Like, can a spring produce fresh and salt water ?
Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives,
And can a fig tree produce olives?
or a grapevine produce figs?
or a grapevine produce figs?
Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
No. Neither can a salt pond produce fresh a water.
The tongue is a great evil set among our members. James compares it to an untamable fire and a deadly poison. In our flesh, we are hopeless. Thankfully, Christ is able to quench that fire and cleanse the poison. While I don't think it it the main point of the passage, I am thankful that we have other passages in the Bible to give us hope. James says that we all stumble in what we say, and if any man does not stumble in what He says, he is a perfect man. We are not perfect, we will never achieve perfection this side of heaven. Unfortunately, this is painfully true regarding the words that come out of our mouth. But Praise be to God for verses like Hebrews 10:14, "For by one offering, He has perfected for all times those who are sanctified. (Or being sanctified)" Because of Christ death on the cross, we are presented blameless and holy before Him. This includes our tongue, one very wicked part of our members that is "being sanctified". It is being set apart for His holy use. Lord, let it be so...set apart our mouths for praise to You and not cursing men. Thanks be to Christ who makes this possible.
Laura Minton
Thank you for the input! I fixed the suggestions in the arc :)
Andy Hubert
I appreciate your Thoughts section very much Laura. Well done. 

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A couple things I noticed on your arc:
 - The Cf connection 5 and 6 should be in the arc over 5 since that side is the metaphor
 - I do not think the A between 9a and 9b-c works as the problem that James is getting at is that we do both these things. (Alternative would suggest one or the other.)
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.