How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
A massive forest is set to burn by a tiny fire!
And i the tongue is a fire,
And the tongue is such a destructive fire
a world of unrighteousness.
that is, it embodies wickedness.
The tongue is set among our members,
That is , the tongue is a part of our body
j staining the whole body,
with the result that it marks the whole body
setting on fire the entire course of life, 1
so that it sends us on a path to destruction
and set on fire by hell. 2
with the result that it is set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind ,
Because, all kinds of wild animals and birds and reptiles and sea-life can and have been tamed by mankind,
but no human being can tame the tongue.
but no person can subdue the tongue.
It is a restless evil,
Explaining ... it is a restless evil
k full of deadly poison.
that is , it is full of deadly poison.
With it we bless our Lord and Father,
Furthermore , we (in the Church) bless our Master and Father with it,
and with it we curse people l who are made in the likeness of God.
and with it we (in the Church) also curse people made in God's image.
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.
that is, from the same mouth come blessing and cursing.
My brothers , 1 these things ought not to be so.
However my brothers and sisters - these things ought not to be this way!
Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
because a single source produces a single product.
Can a fig tree, my brothers , bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs?
and, that product is of the same kind as the source.
Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
Likewise , a corrupt heart can't produce clean words.
Similar to language in 5a.
There are many gifted speakers (actors, comedians, politicians, businessmen) who seem to be on a path to a successful life because of their tongue. Consider this. Perhaps they are not successful from God's perspective.
Man can't make the tongue willingly and consistently obedient.
I'm not sure I've understood this, as I am thinking it should be the other way around. That is, these things ought not to be this way because a fresh spring doesn't yield salty water. But I know the problem will be with my understanding rather than with the text.
The tongue has a destructive power that can not be tamed by man. Without God's intervention, our tongues will send us to hell. But even where God appears to have graciously (and powerfully) intervened, we still encounter words that are out of place - words of corruption in its various guises - words that simply don't belong. They don't belong because God's redeeming work is not a cosmetic make-over; it is a radical and mighty heart transplant. The old has gone and the new has come ( 2 Cor 5:17 ). And so the continuing presence of corrupt speech is as incongruous as a grape vine growing figs. As James says, "These things ought not to be so" . Let the Christian then, with the new heart, and the tongue that God has tamed, bid corruption and cursing farewell, and control his tongue (that God has tamed) for good. A note on how James deals with this issue . James does not sit as a judge and say, "get your act together and start speaking nicely to one another". Instead, he points out that some of the words that are heard around the brothers and sisters are inconsistent with the Spiritual life that comes with God's redeeming work. He is not, at least in the first instance, asking them to reform their words. Rather, he is asking them to reflect on the transformed heart (the clean spring of water) that God has put in them. Only God (through the redemptive work of Christ) can bring this change to a person's heart. And when he has done this for a person, their words should reflect accordingly. Question (I have not figured this out): What is James meaning in 12b and how does it relate to 10b? In my mind, 12b should be the other way around i.e. it should say "neither does a fresh spring yield salty water". And the relationship with 10b would be " These things ought not to be this way because a fresh spring doesn't yield salty water". But instead, James says (12b) "Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water".