What topics and ideas for further investigation did you find as you read chapter three? Here’s what I found:
Major Topics Discussed
- Tongue troubles (v. 1-12)
- True and false wisdom (v. 13-18)
Words and Phrases to Look Up
- Masters (v. 1)
- Governor (v. 4)
- Similitude (v. 9)
- Easy to be intreated (v. 17)
Let’s take a look at the definitions for these words from Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
1. Masters (v. 1)
From G1321; an instructor (generally or specifically): – doctor, master, teacher.
So masters here are not slave owners, but Bible teachers.
2. Governor (v. 4)
From G2117; to straighten (level); technically to steer: – governor, make straight.
The governor would be the ship’s helmsman.
3. Similitude (v. 9)
From G3666; assimilation, that is, resemblance: – similitude.
God made man in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26).
4. Easy to be intreated (v. 17)
From G2095 and G3982; good for persuasion, that is, (intransitively) compliant: – easy to be intreated.
Those who are truly wise, care also ready to listen to what others have to say, and to comply with wisdom from other people.
Points of Interest / Research
- James says a lot about how hard it is to control our tongues, but doesn’t really offer a solution.
- I don’t know what “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” means (v. 18).
1. The Untamed Tongue
James said that the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity (v. 6) and that no man can tame it (v. 8). This is, of course, true. What stood out to me, though, was that James didn’t offer any guidance on how to deal with this member that is full of deadly poison (v.8). Other Bible passages address the problem and offer solutions:
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Eph 4:29)
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. (Eph 5:4)
In these verses, Paul highlights the problem and suggests suitable substitutes for it.
I guess what I was looking for was for James to say, “You can’t tame your tongue, but God can. God can do anything. Ask for His help with this serious problem.”
Why? Maybe his audience already knew what to do. Did they just need to be reminded of the problem? I know from years of preaching that this is often true. Many sermons don’t teach anything new – they just remind the audience of the need to do what they already know.
Well, I don’t have any new revelation, but remember that I said we were going to compare notes. These are my ideas and impressions as I read and write about this chapter.
2. Verse 18
The last verse of the chapter say, “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” The wording here is a little confusing to me. You sow seeds, not fruit. As I was searching out this verse I came across an explanation by Albert Barnes that seemed clear and reasonable.
And the fruit of righteousness – That which the righteousness here referred to produces, or that which is the effect of true religion. The meaning is, that righteousness or true religion produces certain results on the life like the effects of seed sown in good ground. Righteousness or true religion as certainly produces such effects, as seed that is sown produces a harvest.
Is sown in peace – Is scattered over the world in a peaceful manner. That is, it is not done amidst contentions, and brawls, and strifes. The farmer sows his seed in peace. The fields are not sown amidst the tumults of a mob, or the excitements of a battle or a camp. Nothing is more calm, peaceful, quiet, and composed, than the farmer, as he walks with measured tread over his fields, scattering his seed. So it is in sowing the “seed of the kingdom,” in preparing for the great harvest of righteousness in the world. It is done by men of peace; it is done in peaceful scenes, and with a peaceful spirit; it is not in the tumult of war, or amidst the hoarse brawling of a mob. In a pure and holy life; in the peaceful scenes of the sanctuary and the Sabbath; by noiseless and unobtrusive laborers, the seed is scattered over the world, and the result is seen in an abundant harvest in producing peace and order.
Of them that make peace – By those who desire to produce peace, or who are of a peaceful temper and disposition. They are engaged everywhere in scattering these blessed seeds of peace, contentment, and order; and the result shall be a glorious harvest for themselves and for mankind – a harvest rich and abundant on earth and in heaven…
(Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)
Read James chapter four and note the topics, vocabulary and points of interest so we can review them together tomorrow.