The Tongue as an Analogy in James 3
South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary
Scriptures warn several times about the dangers of the tongue (Ps. 34:13; 39:1; Prov. 6:17; 17:20; Isa. 6:5; 59:3). If one is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Therefore, taming the tongue is fundamental for the Christian. The awareness of how devastating the tongue can be should lead the Christian to repentance, prayer and meditation in the Word of God, for the mouth speaks what is in the heart (Luke 6:45). In his epistle, James speaks about the dangers of the tongue in every chapter (1:19, 26; 2:12; 3:5, 6 (twice), 8; 4:11; 5:12).
Teachers have an even greater responsibility concerning what they teach, because they are judged more strictly (James 3:1). One who controls his speech can also control his whole body and be perfect in God’s sight (3:2). Therefore, holiness is associated with taming the tongue. James proves it by a series of analogies using images common to both the Greco-Roman world and the Jewish Wisdom Literature. Prayer alongside with wisdom from God sanctifies and perfects the believer, as James teaches in his Epistle.