So is the tongue amongst our members, that it defileth the whole body: the body politic, a whole nation, filling it with contention, strife, division, and confusion; and the ecclesiastical body, the church, by sowing discord, fomenting animosities, making parties, and spreading errors and heresies, whereby the temple of God is defiled; and the natural body, and the several members of it, even the whole person of a man, soul and body, bringing upon him a blot of infamy and reproach never to be wiped off; as for instance, the vice of the tongue, lying, does; and oftentimes through the tongue, the actions done in the body, which seem good, are quite spoiled: and setteth on fire the course of nature, or "wheel of nature": the natural body, as before, in which there is a continual rotation or circulation of the blood, by which it is supported; this is the wheel broken at the cistern at death, in Ecclesiastes 12:6 or the course of a man's life and actions, yea, of all generations, and the vicissitudes and changes which have happened in them, on which the tongue has a great influence; and so the Syriac version renders it, "and sets on fire the series of our genealogies, or our generations, which run like wheels": or it may intend the frame of nature, the whole fabric of the universe, and the general conflagration of it, which will be owing to the tongue; or because men's tongues are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory, because of the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Christ and his people, of which they will be convinced by flames of fire about them: and it is set on fire of hell; that is, by the devil; for as heaven sometimes is put for God, who dwells in heaven, Matthew 21:25 so hell is put for the devil, whose habitation it is; see Matthew 16:18, and the sense is, that the tongue is influenced, instigated, and stirred up by Satan, to speak many evil things, and it will be hereafter set on fire in hell, as the tongue of the rich man in Luke 16:24.

Sorry, an error was encountered while loading the book. (, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. Sorry, an error was encountered while loading comparison. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. It is like to fire, very useful in its place, to warm and comfort; so is the tongue in Christian conversation, and in the ministry of the word; the hearts of God's children burn within them, while they are talking together, and while the Scriptures of truth are opening to them; but as fire should be carefully watched, and kept, so should men take heed to their ways, that they sin not with their tongue, and keep their tongue from evil, and their lips from speaking guile; for as fire kindles and rises up into a flame, so unchaste, angry, and passionate words, stir up the flame of lust, anger, envy, and revenge; and as fire is of a spreading nature, so are lies, scandal, and evil reports vented by the tongue; and as fire devours all that comes in its way, such are the words of an evil tongue; and therefore are called devouring words, Psalm 52:4 they devour the good names of men, and corrupt their good manners, and destroy those who make use of them; and what wood is to fire, and coals to burning coals, that are whisperers, tale bearers, backbiters, and contentious persons to strife, Proverbs 26:20. a world of iniquity; that is, as the world is full of things, and full of sin, for it lies in wickedness, so is the tongue full of iniquity; there is a world of it in it; it abounds with it; it cannot well be said how much sin is in it, and done, or occasioned by it; as blasphemy against God, Father, Son, and Spirit; cursing of men, imprecations on themselves, their souls, and bodies, and on others, with a multitude of profane and dreadful oaths; obscene, filthy, and unchaste words; angry, wrathful, and passionate ones; lies, flatteries, reproaches, backbitings, whisperings, tale bearings, &c. And the Jews say, that he that uses an evil tongue multiplies transgression, and that it is equal to idolatry, adultery, and murder, and the cause of all sin; and which they express by way of fable, in this manner: "when Adam sinned, God laid hold on him, and slit his tongue into two parts, and said unto him, the wickedness which is, or shall be in the world, thou hast begun with an evil tongue; wherefore I will make all that come into the world know that thy tongue is the cause of all this.'.

Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. We mean by it that it is an epitome of the world; that all that there is in the world is represented there on a small scale. Του πιστου ὁλος ὁ κοσμος των χρηματων, του δε απιστου ουδε οβολος, πυρ ὑπεστρωσαν και διηρεθισαν τον τροχον προσεπικατατεινοντες·, οὑ κατατεινομενος εκμελως και εκσφονδυλιζομενος ὑπεκαιετο, και οβελισκους δε οξεις πυρωσαντες, τοις νοτοις προσεφερον, και τα πλευρα διαπειραντες αυτου, και τα σπλαγχνα διεκαιον·, των μεν μαστιγας κομιζοντων, των δε πυρ και τροχον, Commentary Critical and Explanatory - Unabridged, Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the Bible, Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures.

Published by permission. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. Copyright © 2020, Bible Study Tools.

By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. The image which seems to have been before the mind of the apostle was that of a torch which enkindles and burns everything as it goes along - a torch itself lighted at the fires of hell. With all the good which it does, who can estimate the amount of evil which it causes? This is a very expressive phrase, and is similar to one which we often employ, as when we speak of a town as being a world in miniature. James litters his message in the Bible with ethical instructions about how Christians are to speak. Whether applied to an individual life, or to the world at large, every one can see the justice of the comparison. The same sentiment, with a little variation, may be found in Midrash, Yalcut Simeoni, par. Who can number the evils produced by the “honeyed” words of the seducer; or by the tongue of the eloquent in the maintenance of error, and the defense of wrong? 5-6 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Nor is this enough: I have built two walls about thee; the one bone, the other flesh: What shall be given unto thee, and what shall be done unto thee, O thou false tongue?". 159. See the notes at Matthew 5:22. The Message (MSG) Sorry, you don't have permission to view that book. And one of our lexicographers calls his work a world of words; i.e. You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you? The tongue “sets the whole course of his life on fire” (James 3:6).


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