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James 3:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
Yes, two things nothing like each other can come from the same tongue, one a blessing the other a curse. The primary point of James is that the Christian should not be praising God and then curse others who were in the likeness of God. The only curses that Christians should utter are those that have been recorded in his Word. Even then, we cannot direct those curses toward any person because there is but one judge, Jesus Christ. Even if Christians are alone with each other, they should not utter something evil toward another, or even in their own heart. Think of the hypocrisy of standing in a Christian service singing praises to God, then on the car ride home together, they say something evil, gossip, or revile, or slander someone. This will place the reviler in a bad standing with God, causing God to draw away from him.
When we think of cursing another, or calling down evil upon him, not to mention associated wrongs, such as badmouthing, hateful gossip, cruel criticism, and slander, would make known the presence of a depraved heart (inner person). As Jesus said, “How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt. 12:34) If we are honest with ourselves, using the God-given gift of speech in such an unpredictable way is at odds with why God gave us the ability to speak in the first place. But also we would not only be at odds with this divine will of God to evangelize to everyone, to love our neighbor and to pray for our enemy, it would also be a blatant, glaring, grave absurdity.
Do Your Words Stab or Heal?
Proverbs 12:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts: The Hebrew expression here that is rendered there is (yesh) denotes the existence of someone, and in this case, one whose words are rash, which refers to words that are spoken too quickly without careful consideration of the possible consequences; impetuously. Such words can seem like (Heb. chereb madqarah) sword thrusts, which are quick jabs that are piercing motions, stabbing made with a sword, which cause serious wounds and injuries. While the language is figurative, the pain caused by rash words are very real.
but the tongue of the wise brings healing: Once more, as was true in verses 11, 13, 18, 20, 21, and in 31 in chapter 10, we have a part of the body (tongue, mouth, lips) being used figuratively with reference to the speech or words of good people. While the rash words of the thoughtless one can cause serious mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical pain, the well-chosen, well-thought-out words of the wise or wise words can heal or restore the damage caused by the thoughtless one. Healing is the mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical pain that is restored to health or a sound state.
The thoughtless fool with his rash or reckless words hurts others, but the wise person or the person using wise words, which are carefully chosen, well thought out can heal the person who is suffering from such thoughtless ones and their rash words. Even though we may see the one using rash words as thoughtless or a fool, it might not necessarily be intentional, for it is more of one who speaks too quickly without careful consideration of the other person and the possible consequences. While there may be no malice on the thoughtless one the damage to the other is like a sword thrust causing much emotional damage.
The wise person or a person with wise words may undo some of the damage afterward with his well-chosen words, to bring healing to the wounds. This person with his wise words can do more than heal the damage done but can prepare the other with the wisdom of rational thinking. Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” In other words, nothing anyone says can cause us emotional damage, it is what we think about what they say that causes the damage. If we can rationally perceive the truth, dismissing the irrational words, there is no emotional; damage being done.
Colossians 3:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
3:8. In verse 8, Paul switches metaphors. The exhortation remains the same, but the picture changes. The imagery behind the call to rid yourselves, in verse 8, and take off and put on, in verses 9 and 10, is that of taking off clothes. Believers are to discard their old, repulsive habits like a set of worn-out clothes. They are then to adorn themselves with the kind of behaviors that will make them well dressed and appropriately fashionable.
Not only are perverted passions to be eliminated (vv. 5–7), believers must also rid [themselves] of a hot temper. Anger (orge) is a settled feeling, the slow, seething, smoldering emotion that boils below the surface. Rage (thumos) is a quick, sudden outburst, the blaze of emotion which flares up and burns with intensity.
Between the sins of the hot temper (anger, rage) and the sins of the sharp tongue (slander, filthy language), Paul mentions malice. The Greek term (kakian) refers to “ill will, the vicious, deliberate intention of doing harm to others.” This ill will may work itself out through angry outbursts or sinful speech.
Slander (blaspemian) is basically defamation of character. To slander someone is to injure their reputation. This term is sometimes used in reference to God; but in this context, it probably refers to slanderous speech against another person. Filthy language refers to “obscene or abusive speech.”
Romans 1:28-32 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give wholehearted approval to those who practice them.
Before Paul set forth his message of righteousness by faith (3:21–8:31), he showed the need for it. The human race stands condemned, helpless, and hopeless apart from God.
Even though God had given sufficient revelation of his existence and power in the world through creation, men and women had nevertheless become idolatrous and polytheistic with resulting moral degradations. Paul claimed that God gave them up to their dishonorable lusts, passions, conduct, and all kinds of evil. The refusal to acknowledge and glorify God results in a downward path: worthless thinking, moral insensitivity, and religious stupidity.
Ephesians 5:3-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
3 But sexual immorality,* and all uncleanness, or greediness, must not even be named among you, as is proper among holy ones; 4 And there must be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
* Sexual Immorality: (Heb. zanah; Gr. porneia) A general term for immoral sexual acts of any kind: such as adultery, prostitution, sexual relations between people not married to each other, homosexuality, and bestiality.–Num. 25:1; Deut. 22:21; Matt. 5:32; 1 Cor. 5:1.
5:3–4. The opposite of imitating God and giving oneself up for him is living in sexual immorality, impurity, and greed (note the same Greek words for impurity and greed in 4:19). Paul says that it is not proper for these things even to be named among the children of God. These are sins of “deed.” In addition to sinful deeds, there ought not to be sinful “words.” Obscenity, foolish talk, coarse joking ought not be part of the speech patterns of Christians. Rather, we ought to speak from a heart of thankfulness to God.
James does not exclude himself from the rest of the Christian congregation, as all are prone to stumble while walking with God. James presents an obvious truth in that we all stumble in many ways. The fact we all stumble in many ways is confirmed in Romans 2:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Because of human imperfection, weakness and leanings toward bad, all, including teachers, fall short or miss the mark of perfection. (Rom. 7:19-23; 1 John 1:8) In all likelihood, aside from thinking, what we say is the most frequent way we fall short, and the one way that will damage our relationship with God and our fellow humans. It is for this reason that teachers in the congregation and all Christians should be very cautious about the biblical truths that they share. Kurt A. Richardson makes this remark,
The standard for teachers disallows their failing in the matter of speech, and yet human nature is prone to violation of God’s standards. James added this confession for a dual effect: knowing that James himself stumbled in many ways puts the admonition to pursue perfection into perspective; because believers stumble in many ways, their teachers need to be particularly circumspect about their conduct, above all in the way they speak. (Richardson 1997, 148)
Even the best imperfect Christian teacher, the apostle Paul did not fail to stumble in word. (Ac 15:37-41) This should wake us up to the reality of the damage that we are capable of, even if we are quite competent and qualified. Stumbling in word will cause damage within the congregation. If the teacher has erred greatly, this will mean more severe the damage to his fellow brothers and sisters.
James informs his readers that only a perfect man can keep his words under complete control, never erring. If he can prevent himself from uttering wrong understandings, outlooks, feelings, and desires, then such a man has complete, perfect control over himself. At present, all of humankind is imperfect, so any who would claim they can go without erring in speech is a liar, “for we all stumble in many ways,” including with our words. The only man, who had complete, perfect control over himself, was Jesus Christ. (Heb. 7:26) However, we do not want to take on a fatalist attitude, saying, ‘well, we cannot get the tongue under control, and God is very forgiving, so why worry about it.’ No, Christians cannot have complete control, but they can strive to get as close to the goal as possible. Over time, they will make continued improvements as they grow spiritually.
We know that even having significant control is never going to be accomplished in our own strength, and as an evangelist of the good news, the option of remaining silent is on the table. We must apply the Spirit-inspired Word of God in an accurate and balanced manner. We must have our minds molded by “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8) Richard L., Pratt Jr. writes, “As Paul traveled the world proclaiming the gospel of Christ, he encountered pretentious disbelief supported by clever arguments and powerful personalities. But through the “weakness” of preaching Christ, Paul went about taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (Pratt Jr 2000, 2 Cor. 10:5, 417) Jesus said, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45.
There is little doubt in an entire human life that it will be his tongue, which will cause him the most grief. If that man could bridle his tongue, he would also be able to control his whole body.
Monopolizing the Conversation
Proverbs 10:19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but he who restrains his lips is prudent.
When words are many, transgression is not lacking: Transgression: (Heb. pesha) is wantonness, crime, wrongdoing. One who violates a law, a duty, or a moral principle. An action or behavior that is contrary to a standard whether it is a human standard or divine, with emphasis on the rebellious nature of the wrong committed. Here we are dealing with one who lacks good sense in his dealings with others, especially offensive because he has no moral restraint when it comes to what he thinks coming out a what he says. Lacking (Heb. chadal) means that he resists the idea of restraining his many words. This line of the verse could mean that one who has caused an offense to another; there is no amount of talking that is going to make things right. However, it is far more likely that it simply means the one who talks too much with no filter will often offend others.
but he who restrains his lips is prudent: As in most cases lips here refers to speech or talk. Prudent: (Heb. sakal) means to be wise, to have insight, get wisdom, gain understanding, comprehend, be skilled. In other words, the one who is wise enough to filter what he thinks before he says it because he also controls how much he talks.
We have all encountered someone who talks too much, and on some occasions, it might have been us. The odds are the more we talk, the greater the risk that we are going to say something that is foolish, even offensive, or harmful. James is correct, our tongue is like a fire, which can, in our human imperfection, get involved in spreading hurtful gossip and slander. (James 3:5-6) However, when we restrain our lips, speak fewer words, or we filter our words by considering the impact they may have before we say them, we will be wise and discreet, and we will have the respect and confidence of others.
This does not mean that we must go excessively in the opposite direction either by muting ourselves. Nevertheless, give this a try when with a group of people. Hold back in the conversation for a little while. Feel your impulses. Are you noticing that you feel compelled to speak on every subject? When you do speak are you using many words? When you look back on the night, do you feel that you spoke on more subjects than others, and had more to say? If so, you need to ponder Proverbs 10:19, as it will serve as a safeguard for you.
James 1:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and abundance of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Here in these passages after James has told these believers the attitudes that they were to have when they come to the Word, he now tells them the behaviors that they must put away to be able to accept the word of truth. James tells his audience that they are to be putting aside all filthiness and abundance of wickedness. Putting aside carries with it the idea of taking off filthy and dirty clothes and casting them to the side. In other words, they were to take off the old and put it out of the way to be done away with. Keep in mind, while not addressed here, it is important to replace the old with something new. If we do not fill a void, it will return to an unusual extent. If we remove unrighteous anger from our lives, it must be replaced with understanding, compassion, empathy, kindness, and things like these.
For this reason, it is important to note that James is making the point that it is a personal act of the will to do away with these things, and not God’s responsibility. The first thing that James tells his readers is that they are to put aside its filthiness. The word for filthiness is rhuparia and means “dirty or filthy.” (Vine, 1996, pg. 237) Things such as fornication, lust, adultery, immorality, and things like these would be included in the filthiness and wickedness that James is talking about. Also in the context of this verse, James could be specifically referring to the anger of which he just stated does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. The reason James tells them to put aside the filth is that as long as a person lives in filth, it will keep him away from the Word of truth because imperfect humans are naturally drawn to sin. If one is coming to the Word with the wrong attitudes or the bad behaviors, then he is nullifying that which he is reading or hearing from the Word of truth.
After this, James describes the attitude we are to have when coming to the Word, and the behavior changes we must make, he now describes the manner with which we come to the Word of God. We are to receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. Meekness is to have a teachable and willing spirit to be ready to submit to the commands that come with the Word of God. It is a condition of the spirit and heart, which means being willing to yield to the commands coming from the word of truth.
Meekness would be the key for these believers to be able to receive, understand, and apply the Word of God into their lives. James states that the Word was already implanted if they would just become humble enough to receive it. James was talking to believers who were living with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. With the inward law being already written upon their heart and the Holy Spirit dwelling within, these believers knew the Word God because it was already implanted. Edward D. Andrews writes about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit,
The Holy Spirit, through the spirit inspired, inerrant Word of God is the motivating factor for our taking off the old person and putting on the new person. (Eph. 4:20-24; Col. 3:8-9) It is also the tool used by God so that we can “be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may approve what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God.” (Rom 12:2; See 8:9)
Just how do we renew our mind? This is done by taking in an accurate knowledge of Biblical truth, which enables us to meet God’s current standards of righteousness. (Titus 1:1) This Bible knowledge, if applied, will enable us to move our mind in a different direction by filling the void after having removed our former sinful practices, and with the principles of God’s Word, principles that guide our actions, and especially ones that guide moral behavior.
The Biblical truths that lay in between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 will transform our way of thinking, which will in return affect our mood and actions and our inner person. It will be as the apostle Paul said to the Ephesians, We need to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. . . .” (Ephesians 4:22-24) This force that contributes to our acting or behaving in a certain way for our best interest is internal.
James here is telling his readers the reason they are to accept this Word of God in humility and why they needed to come to it with proper attitude and behavior, i.e., it contained the words of eternal life, it contains the words which places them on the path to salvation. Peter in writing of the power of the word of truth wrote,
1 Peter 1:23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
23 having been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
In the Word of God, these believers learned of the salvation that came through Christ alone. It was the message that they, being wicked sinners at heart, can be saved through the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. This was not just some ordinary book but the very book that leads to salvation and eternal life. It has practical benefits even now, as it will guide us through our daily life and then preserve us for all eternity.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome,
Romans 1:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Paul also said to the Christians in Corinth,
1 Corinthians 1:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Matthew 7:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7:12. The “Golden Rule” needs to be seen in a fresh light. For those who know the Bible, this verse has the tendency to go the way of John 3:16, often quoted but seldom applied. Jesus gave his audience a simple and profound principle to guide them in relating to others. We are to treat them the way we would want them to treat us in the same circumstance.
Jesus indicated that this “Golden Rule” sums up much of the Old Testament teaching on interpersonal relationships. Leviticus 19:18, together with Deuteronomy 6:5, quoted by Jesus in Matthew 22:35–40, is essentially an equivalent statement (see also Rom. 13:8–10; Gal. 5:14).
Ephesians 4:29 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear.
This is the Bible’s version of, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” We are to speak only words that build up and encourage others. This one passage, if consistently obeyed, would eliminate the overwhelming majority of life’s conflicts. Words of a mature Christian seek to help the listener, not harm him. Thus the ministerial gifts of Christ’s grace achieve their purposes, and the unity of the body of Christ is preserved and enhanced.
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 Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 329.
 David S. Dockery, “The Pauline Letters,” in Holman Concise Bible Commentary, ed. David S. Dockery (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 545.
 Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 170.
 Or “make mistakes.”
 Lit word
 Or “is able to save you”
 Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 99.
 Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 156.