Main point summary
If anyone thinks that they’re godly yet doesn’t control their speech then their “godliness” is useless, since pure godliness is to (1) care for the vulnerable and (2) to protect themselves from the poison of the world.
If anyone thinks he is religious
IF someone believes that they’re godly
q and does not bridle his tongue
YET doesn’t control their speech
but deceives his heart,
INSTEAD they trick themselves at the very core of their being [in thinking they’re truly godly],
this person’s r religion is worthless.
THEN their “godliness” is useless.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
BECAUSE true godliness that is pure as seen by the Father, IS THIS :
s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction,
(1) to care for the vulnerable in their hardship,
and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
AND (2) to protect yourself from being poisoned by the world.
James sees control of speech as critical in controlling the whole self 3:2. So continuing with the idea of speech being like a horse, to not bridle it is to let it roam wherever it chooses, so then that means allowing yourself to say anything you please with no regard to it’s potentially harmful impact.
If someone thinks their godly even though they don’t control their tongue then this “godliness” is useless.
Pure godliness is to (1) care for the vulnerable and (2) to protect yourself from being poisoned by the world.
We can fool ourselves into thinking that we’re godly, committed to the Lord, when we study God’s word, be prayerful and keep ourselves pure. Yet James shows that this “godliness” is useless if we don’t control what we say. Because authentic godliness consists of at least two characteristics: Horizontal interaction (27b) - by which I mean how we interact with others. Godliness will express itself here through care for the vulnerable, those who society mistreat and don’t see as people created in God’s image! This care though is particularly done when they’re in affliction, by showing Christ’s love to them as He has done to us. Vertical interaction (27c) - the idea of our personal or private relationship with God. Here we will strive by God’s strength to be pure and spotless, not allowing the world the opportunity to poison us. Observe that true godliness is described by both not just one or the other. So, it seems that this ground holds the claim since to be reckless with speech you are violating both as (1) you’re demonstrating lack of love for others and (2) this likely stems from an improper relationship with God. Oh, Father we pray that we will not deceive ourselves into thinking that we’re godly when our actions betray us, but rather by your power we will be holy by living as you require in both horizontal and vertical interactions!