Rev. David Appold, pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Paducah, KY joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study James 3:1-12.
Faith that is active in love is given by God through the hearing of His Word, spoken through teachers whom He sends. With this authority comes accountability. Those who speak God’s Word must take care not to speak falsehood in God’s name; the power of God’s Word is seen in the fact that a sinful man can speak it truly. In this way, the tongue, despite its small size, shows its ability to bring about large effects. Though true preaching of God’s Word may seem a small thing, it sets the course for a congregation. Just as the tongue can bring great help, so it can bring great harm. With vivid imagery, James describes the evil that can be done by words in whatever form they are conveyed. He also directs us to our true help. When we are quick to listen to Christ’s Words, His truth brings us forth as His people who bring forth the fruit of truthful, helpful speech.
“Wisdom from Above” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that goes through the Epistle of St. James. Contrary to what some might claim, this short epistle does not contradict St. Paul. Instead, St. James makes different, yet complementary, points concerning the Christian life. Written in a style similar to the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, this insightful epistle comforts, confronts, and strengthens Christians to live a life of good works that flow from God’s gift of faith, even in the midst of trials.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
Taming the Tongue
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 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. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 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. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,[a] and set on fire by hell.[b] 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,[c] these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
- James 3:6 Or wheel of birth
- James 3:6 Greek Gehenna
- James 3:10 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 12
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.