James 3

In this chapter James returns to two subjects that he has already mentioned: the tongue (cf. 1:19, 26) and wisdom (cf. 1:5).

  1. Verses 1-12. Why dose James discourage undue eagerness to take up teaching?
    Ponder his vivid illustrations of the Power, for good or evil, of the tongue.
    How is the malignity of the tongue most clearly shown, and why is it so serious?
    How dose James also show that the tongue’s inconsistency is monstrously unnatural?
  2. Verses 13-18. What are the marks and results of the two kinds of wisdom described in verse 17, 18?
    Consider how these qualities of heavenly wisdom were seen in Lord Jesus.
    Are they evident in my life?


  1. Verse 6. NEB translates: ‘And the tongue is in effect a fire. It represents among our members the world with all its wickedness; it pollutes our whole being; it keeps the wheel of our existence red-hot, and its flames are fed by hell.’
  2. Verse 13. ‘Humility’: a word that today has lost much of its original nobility. For the Greeks it denoted a strong man’s self-discipline and a wise man’s humility. Cf. 1:21.
  3. Verse 14. ‘Do not boast it or deny the truth’: to boast of wisdom when the heart is full of envy and selfish ambition is mere sham. Cf. 1:26.
  4. Verse 18 is to be contrasted with verse 16. Disorder and vileness accompany envy and rivalry, but righteousness (or Justice) is the seed and crop of the peacemakers.