James 3: 1-5a Tongue One

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

Comment: We will see a lot more about the tongue tomorrow. Today begins talking about teachers. Basically in that era people talked to teach. There were papyri and libraries but there were no presses, many couldn’t read, and most teaching was done by people speaking publicly or by someone reading aloud what was written. James warns against teaching falsehoods. Teachers have a great responsibility and face judgement for their truthfulness. He acknowledges that if you didn’t make mistakes as a teacher you would be a perfect person.

He notes that a great (war) horse is still controlled by that small thing called the bridle; Even when a ship is being driven by a strong wind, it is controlled by that small thing at the back, called the rudder; the tongue is only a small bit of a human body, but note please just how powerful it can be, for good or evil; for truth or falsehood!

Prayer: Teach me to speak and write the truth, O God.

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