- B3 Chapter 3
C1 The Christian life—speech James 3:1-12
D1 Believers Should Know That Teachers are Going to be Judged More Strictly James 3:1-2
D2 Believers Should Know That Even If the Tongue Is Small What It Says Can be Troublesome James 3:3-6
D3 Believers Should Know That Wild Animals Have Been Tamed But Not Speech James 3:7-8
D4 Believers Should Know That Good and Bad Things Come From Our Speech, Which Is Wrong James 3:9-12
James 3:1-12 WEL My brothers, not many of you should become teachers, because we know that we will receive the greater condemnation. 2 For all of us often trip up in many ways. If anyone doesn’t slip up in speech, he [is] a matured man also [able] to restrain whole body. 3 Observe, we put bits in the horse’s’ mouth, so they may obey us and turn around their whole body. 4 Also look at the ships, which though so huge and driven by fierce winds, yet are steered with a very small rudder, wherever the pilot wishes, 5 and so the tongue is a little thing, but brags about things. Behold, how great a forest fire a little fire kindles! 6 The tongue [is such] a fire, a world of evil, so the tongue is among the members of our body, in that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of our existence. It is set on fire by Gehenna. 7 For every animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is tamed or has been tamed by mankind, 8 but the tongue can no one tame. [It is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless God, even the Father, and with the same we curse people, who are made according to God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things must not be so. 11 Does a spring bubble up at the same place sweet and bitter [water]? 12 Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olive berries or a vine, figs? So, no fountain can yield both salt and freshwater.
- Those who teach, impart knowledge, through words, visuals, action (what they do), interactions, writing, etc.
- Here James includes himself, for note the word “we.”
- Many might want to become a teacher, but a strict warning is given. It is this, a teacher is held to a higher standard and will be judge accordingly.
- Some things we must be careful for
- We need to know what we are talking about and not to be so cocksure of our interpretation. Note, the Law in this passage refers to Mosaic Law especially in religious rituals. 1 Timothy 1:7 ISV They want to be teachers of the Law, yet they do not understand either what they are talking about or the things about which they speak so confidently.
- The teachers of the Law (Mosaic Law) were corrupted by philosophy, theology, man’s rules, etc.
- The plain sense had been overruled by famous teachers (rabbis).
- These teachers, then, did not understand the Law in its plain, normal sense, context, overall teaching of the Law and Prophets, but they sure were confidence that they did. One example: Matthew 23:23 CSB Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law -- justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These things should have been done without neglecting the others.
- The application would be such things are the same today including experiences, famous personalities, philosophy, theology, etc., which have corrupted us. There is nothing inherently wrong in philosophy or theology, but we must interpret the Bible correctly. A good source on proper interpretation.
- Dr. Abrams (Biblical Principles For Interpreting God's Word) mentions 2 more problems with teachers:
- Dishonest for personal gain
- Dr. Abrams writing again on Bible interpretation: For God not to give us a way to interpret the Bible is to leave the interpretation of Scripture to human wisdom that is at best faulty. To have the interpretation of scripture rest on man's wisdom is to have “flesh” interpreting that which is spiritual.
- They need to be careful. God does not lie, so we must attempt to take God at His word, that is, we are to read the Scriptures in their plain, normal sense.
- Need to know how to interpret
- Need to know how to apply what they are teaching
- Need to know the Gospel and why (to defend it)
- Need to know the teachings of Christianity and why
- Need to know the worldview and lifestyle of Christianity and why
- Need to know how to communicate as clearly as they are able
- Need to know they may need to be corrected
- Need to know others in the congregation may know more than he/she does and the need to learn from them.
- Need to know that teaching, in God’s view, is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Someone may be an awesome teacher without the Spirit, but if it is from the gift of the Holy Spirit, it will be effective as God intends it to be.
- If the teacher is male, they need to know that God may have gifted a female to a greater extent.
- Need to know the right question.
- It IS, “What does this passage mean?”
- It IS NOT, “What does this passage mean to me?”
- Need to know to speak the truth, not what the group wants to hear.
- Need to know that the teacher and the group are to view Bible study as worship to God.
- Need to know that God is the main teacher, chief teacher, and to ask for wisdom in teaching.
Condemnation= Judgment is coming
- By God
- On what we say
- On our motivation and purpose
- On our honoring or dishonoring His words (Bible).
- On the teacher
- If the teacher is a non-Christian, then the last judgment: Revelation 20:11-15 WEL Then, I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it from whose presence earth and heaven fled, and there was no room found for them. 12 Next, I saw the dead, both small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened. Another book was also opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged from what was written in the books according to their works. 13 The sea handed over the dead, which were in it. Death and Hades also handed over the dead, who were in them, and each one was judged according to their works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. 15 Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.
- If the teacher is a Christian, then the Judgment Seat of Christ (Bema Seat) of which all Christians will experience:
- 2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
- This verse is mainly to all Christians but also a teacher is scrutinized: 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 NIV For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved--even though only as one escaping through the flames.
- What we say
- How we say it
- Includes body language
- Includes tone of voice
- Is impossible to be consistently Christian without the help of God—lots of grace.
- Finis Dake writes: Twelve Things About The Tongue
- Boasts great things (James 3:5)
- Is a fire (James 3:6)
- A world of iniquity (James 3:6)
- It defiles the whole body (James 3:6)
- Sets on fire the course of nature (James 3:6)
- It is untameable (James 3:8)
- An unruly evil (James 3:8)
- Full of deadly poison (James 3:8)
- Used to bless God and curse men (James 3:9)
- Capable of good conversation (James 3:13)
- Capable of bitter strife (James 3:14)
- Listening to others is an important part of speech
- We must speak the truth, but it is to be in love: Ephesians 4:15 NIV Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
- Why are teachers judged more strictly than others?
- What must teachers do consistently?
- What kind of speech is God pleased with?
- How can we ensure our speech is pleasing to God?
- Why is listening important?