I have started reading James, a short letter towards the back of the bible, and I’m really enjoying it. James is very fiesty. His letter comes after a long list of letters from Paul. Sometimes when I read James, I feel like he has been waiting for a very long time for Paul to finish what he is saying. It’s as though he has been bottled up for so long that he just lets loose! He says what is on his mind and he doesn’t hold back to protect the pride or nice sensibilities of his audience. He just gives it to them.
To share the joy and challenge of James, I’ve decided to put up a short series of posts with my favourite bits of James as I read it. There will be no commentary at all, just the slabs of text that I find thought provoking. Please read, reflect and enjoy. Even if you’ve never picked up a bible in your life, it’s good to read, if just for James’ ecclectic writing style and amazing metaphors.
James writing about the tongue
“…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.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set amoung our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, reptile and sea creature, can be tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse people who were made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”