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Dave Burnette's Commentary

James Chapter 3

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: James
Date Penned: (49 AD)
Overview: James' Concern for the Persecuted Christians (c 1-5)
Theme: General Faith (c 2-3)
Message:  (v 1-26)

James 3 Commentary

(3:1-12) Controlling the Tongue - In the early church, teachers were very important. Both the survival and spiritual depth of believers depended on them. In the church at Antioch, they were ranked in status with the prophets who sent out Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:1). Teachers were the point of contact for all new believers because converts needed instruction in the facts of the gospel, and teachers would build them up in the faith. The problem, however, was that some teachers had the ability to communicate but were driven by very worldly motivations. They would take leading positions in a church, form cliques, and use their teaching positions to criticize others. In this way, they could maintain their position and importance.

(3:13-18) Wisdom from Heaven - James lays down a challenge before the church for those who claim to have true wisdom: they need to observe the true wisdom that comes from heaven. The church James wrote to was a church under pressure. When under pressure, a church can split into factions. There was no formal clergy or ordination process, so self-styled teachers could emerge, claiming to have wisdom. As each teacher promoted his brand of wisdom and gained a following, the community of believers was divided. In the New Testament church there were many problems with factions or a “party spirit” (see Acts 6; 1 Corinthians 1; see also Philippians 1:17; 2:3).Jesus taught that we would know true teachers from false ones by how they lived (Matthew 7:15-23). Good teachers will exemplify good life-disciplines. Their activities, actions, and accomplishments will reveal the true heart of their Christian faith. In this section, good deeds are contrasted with bitterness, and humility is contrasted with selfish ambition.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

The Power of the Words

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of James with Chapter 3 and in our text we see James instructing us in Genuine wisdom of the Lord and to control our tongue. In making application we see that our words are like a rudder on a great ship. Our words can either bless or curse. How about you? Do you see power of your words? Let us learn from our text today and the words of James who reminds us that our words have power so we should use our words to bless others with our speech verse using our words to tear others down.


James 3

James 3

 1My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

 2For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

 3Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

 4Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

 5Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

 6And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

 7For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

 8But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

 9Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

 10Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

 11Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

 12Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

 13Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

 14But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

 15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

 16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

 17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

 18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.