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Compare Translations for James 3:6

James 3:6 ASV
And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 BBE
And the tongue is a fire; it is the power of evil placed in our bodies, making all the body unclean, putting the wheel of life on fire, and getting its fire from hell.
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James 3:6 CEB
The tongue is a small flame of fire, a world of evil at work in us. It contaminates our entire lives. Because of it, the circle of life is set on fire. The tongue itself is set on fire by the flames of hell.
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James 3:6 CJB
Yes, the tongue is a fire, a world of wickedness. The tongue is so placed in our body that it defiles every part of it, setting ablaze the whole of our life; and it is set on fire by Gei-Hinnom itself.
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James 3:6 RHE
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 ESV
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 GW
The tongue is that kind of flame. It is a world of evil among the parts of our bodies, and it completely contaminates our bodies. The tongue sets our lives on fire, and is itself set on fire from hell.
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James 3:6 GNT
And the tongue is like a fire. It is a world of wrong, occupying its place in our bodies and spreading evil through our whole being. It sets on fire the entire course of our existence with the fire that comes to it from hell itself.
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James 3:6 HNV
And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by Gehinnom.
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James 3:6 CSB
And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our [bodies]; it pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 KJV
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
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James 3:6 LEB
And the tongue [is] a fire! The world of unrighteousness, the tongue, is set among our members, defiling the whole body and setting on fire {the course of human existence}, being set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 NAS
And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 NCV
And the tongue is like a fire. It is a whole world of evil among the parts of our bodies. The tongue spreads its evil through the whole body. The tongue is set on fire by hell, and it starts a fire that influences all of life.
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James 3:6 NIRV
The tongue also is a fire. The tongue is the most evil part of the body. It pollutes the whole person. It sets a person's whole way of life on fire. And the tongue is set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 NIV
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 NKJV
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 NLT
And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
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James 3:6 NRS
And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 RSV
And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 DBY
and the tongue [is] fire, the world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set in our members, the defiler of the whole body, and which sets fire to the course of nature, and is set on fire of hell.
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James 3:6 MSG
A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. 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.
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James 3:6 WBT
And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire from hell.
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James 3:6 TMB
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. So is the tongue among our members that it defileth the whole body and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire from hell.
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James 3:6 TNIV
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
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James 3:6 TYN
and the tonge is fyre and a worlde of wyckednes. So is the tonge set amonge oure members that it defileth the whole body and setteth a fyre all that we have of nature and is it selfe set a fyre even of hell.
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James 3:6 WNT
And the tongue is a fire. That world of iniquity, the tongue, is placed within us spotting and soiling our whole nature, and setting the whole round of our lives on fire, being itself set on fire by Gehenna.
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James 3:6 WEB
And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by Gehenna.
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James 3:6 WYC
And our tongue is fire, the university of wickedness. The tongue is ordained in our members, which defouleth all the body; and it is inflamed of hell [and it is inflamed, or set afire, of hell], and inflameth the wheel of our birth.
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James 3:6 YLT
and the tongue [is] a fire, the world of the unrighteousness, so the tongue is set in our members, which is spotting our whole body, and is setting on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by the gehenna.
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James 3 Commentary - Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Concise)

Chapter 3

Cautions against proud behaviour, and the mischief of an unruly tongue. (1-12) The excellence of heavenly wisdom, in opposition to that which is worldly. (13-18)

Verses 1-12 We are taught to dread an unruly tongue, as one of the greatest evils. The affairs of mankind are thrown into confusion by the tongues of men. Every age of the world, and every condition of life, private or public, affords examples of this. Hell has more to do in promoting the fire of the tongue than men generally think; and whenever men's tongues are employed in sinful ways, they are set on fire of hell. No man can tame the tongue without Divine grace and assistance. The apostle does not represent it as impossible, but as extremely difficult. Other sins decay with age, this many times gets worse; we grow more froward and fretful, as natural strength decays, and the days come on in which we have no pleasure. When other sins are tamed and subdued by the infirmities of age, the spirit often grows more tart, nature being drawn down to the dregs, and the words used become more passionate. That man's tongue confutes itself, which at one time pretends to adore the perfections of God, and to refer all things to him; and at another time condemns even good men, if they do not use the same words and expressions. True religion will not admit of contradictions: how many sins would be prevented, if men would always be consistent! Pious and edifying language is the genuine produce of a sanctified heart; and none who understand Christianity, expect to hear curses, lies, boastings, and revilings from a true believer's mouth, any more than they look for the fruit of one tree from another. But facts prove that more professors succeed in bridling their senses and appetites, than in duly restraining their tongues. Then, depending on Divine grace, let us take heed to bless and curse not; and let us aim to be consistent in our words and actions.

Verses 13-18 These verses show the difference between men's pretending to be wise, and their being really so. He who thinks well, or he who talks well, is not wise in the sense of the Scripture, if he does not live and act well. True wisdom may be know by the meekness of the spirit and temper. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion; and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such wisdom comes not down from above, but springs up from earthly principles, acts on earthly motives, and is intent on serving earthly purposes. Those who are lifted up with such wisdom, described by the apostle James, is near to the Christian love, described by the apostle Paul; and both are so described that every man may fully prove the reality of his attainments in them. It has no disguise or deceit. It cannot fall in with those managements the world counts wise, which are crafty and guileful; but it is sincere, and open, and steady, and uniform, and consistent with itself. May the purity, peace, gentleness, teachableness, and mercy shown in all our actions, and the fruits of righteousness abounding in our lives, prove that God has bestowed upon us this excellent gift.

James 3 Commentary - Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

CHAPTER 3

James 3:1-18 . DANGER OF EAGERNESS TO TEACH, AND OF AN UNBRIDLED TONGUE: TRUE WISDOM SHOWN BY UNCONTENTIOUS MEEKNESS.

1. be not--literally, "become not": taking the office too hastily, and of your own accord.
many--The office is a noble one; but few are fit for it. Few govern the tongue well ( James 3:2 ), and only such as can govern it are fit for the office; therefore, "teachers" ought not to be many.
masters--rather, "teachers." The Jews were especially prone to this presumption. The idea that faith (so called) without works ( James 2:14-26 ) was all that is required, prompted "many" to set up as "teachers," as has been the case in all ages of the Church. At first all were allowed to teach in turns. Even their inspired gifts did not prevent liability to abuse, as James here implies: much more is this so when self-constituted teachers have no such miraculous gifts.
knowing--as all might know.
we . . . greater condemnation--James in a humble, conciliatory spirit, includes himself: if we teachers abuse the office, we shall receive greater condemnation than those who are mere hearers (compare Luke 12:42-46 ). CALVIN, like English Version, translates, "masters" that is, self-constituted censors and reprovers of others James 4:12 accords with this view.

2. all--The Greek implies "all without exception": even the apostles.
offend not--literally "stumbleth not": is void of offence or "slip" in word: in which respect one is especially tried who sets up to be a "teacher."

3. Behold--The best authorities read, "but if," that is, Now whensoever (in the case) of horses (such is the emphatic position of "horses" in the Greek) we put the bits (so literally, "the customary bits") into their mouths that they may obey us, we turn about also their whole body. This is to illustrate how man turns about his whole body with the little tongue. "The same applies to the pen, which is the substitute for the tongue among the absent" [BENGEL].

4. Not only animals, but even ships.
the governor listeth--literally, "the impulse of the steersman pleaseth." The feeling which moves the tongue corresponds with this.

5. boasteth great things--There is great moment in what the careless think "little" things [BENGEL]. Compare "a world," "the course of nature," "hell," James 3:6 , which illustrate how the little tongue's great words produce great mischief.
how great a matter a little fire kindleth--The best manuscripts read, "how little a fire kindleth how great a," &c. ALFORD, for "matter," translates, "forest." But GROTIUS translates as English Version, "material for burning": a pile of fuel.

6. Translate, "The tongue, that world of iniquity, is a fire." As man's little world is an image of the greater world, the universe, so the tongue is an image of the former [BENGEL].
so--omitted in the oldest authorities.
is--literally, "is constituted." "The tongue is (constituted), among the members, the one which defileth," &c. (namely, as fire defiles with its smoke).
course of nature--"the orb (cycle) of creation."
setteth on fire . . . is set on fire--habitually and continually. While a man inflames others, he passes out of his own power, being consumed in the flame himself.
of hell--that is, of the devil. Greek, "Gehenna"; found here only and in Matthew 5:22 . James has much in common with the Sermon on the Mount ( Proverbs 16:27 ).

7. every kind--rather, "every nature" (that is, natural disposition and characteristic power).
of beasts--that is, quadrupeds of every disposition; as distinguished from the three other classes of creation, "birds, creeping things (the Greek includes not merely 'serpents,' as English Version), and things in the sea."
is tamed, and hath been--is continually being tamed, and hath been so long ago.
of mankind--rather, "by the nature of man": man's characteristic power taming that of the inferior animals. The dative in the Greek may imply, "Hath suffered itself to be brought into tame subjection TO the nature of men." So it shall be in the millennial world; even now man, by gentle firmness, may tame the inferior animal, and even elevate its nature.

8. no man--literally, "no one of men": neither can a man control his neighbor's, nor even his own tongue. Hence the truth of James 3:2 appears.
unruly evil--The Greek, implies that it is at once restless and incapable of restraint. Nay, though nature has hedged it in with a double barrier of the lips and teeth, it bursts from its barriers to assail and ruin men [ESTIUS].
deadly--literally, "death-bearing."

9. God--The oldest authorities read, "Lord." "Him who is Lord and Father." The uncommonness of the application of "Lord" to the Father, doubtless caused the change in modern texts to "God" ( James 1:27 ). But as Messiah is called "Father," Isaiah 9:6 , so God the Father is called by the Son's title, "Lord": showing the unity of the Godhead. "Father" implies His paternal love; "Lord," His dominion.
men, which--not "men who"; for what is meant is not particular men, but men genetically [ALFORD].
are made after . . . similitude of God--Though in a great measure man has lost the likeness of God in which he was originally made, yet enough of it still remains to show what once it was, and what in regenerated and restored man it shall be. We ought to reverence this remnant and earnest of what man shall be in ourselves and in others. "Absalom has fallen from his father's favor, but the people still recognize him to be the king's son" [BENGEL]. Man resembles in humanity the Son of man, "the express image of His person" ( Hebrews 1:3 ), compare Genesis 1:26 , 1 John 4:20 . In the passage, Genesis 1:26 , "image" and "likeness" are distinct: "image," according to the Alexandrians, was something in which men were created, being common to all, and continuing to man after the fall, while the "likeness" was something toward which man was created, to strive after and attain it: the former marks man's physical and intellectual, the latter his moral pre-eminence.

10. The tongue, says ÆSOP, is at once the best and the worst of things. So in a fable, a man with the same breath blows hot and cold. "Life and death are in the power of the tongue" (compare Psalms 62:4 ).
brethren--an appeal to their consciences by their brotherhood in Christ.
ought not so to be--a mild appeal, leaving it to themselves to understand that such conduct deserves the most severe reprobation.

11. fountain--an image of the heart: as the aperture (so the Greek for "place" is literally) of the fountain is an image of man's mouth. The image here is appropriate to the scene of the Epistle, Palestine, wherein salt and bitter springs are found. Though "sweet" springs are sometimes found near, yet "sweet and bitter" (water) do not flow "at the same place" (aperture). Grace can make the same mouth that "sent forth the bitter" once, send forth the sweet for the time to come: as the wood (typical of Christ's cross) changed Marah's bitter water into sweet.

12. Transition from the mouth to the heart.
Can the fig tree, &c.--implying that it is an impossibility: as before in James 3:10 he had said it "ought not so to be." James does not, as Matthew ( Matthew 7:16 Matthew 7:17 ), make the question, "Do men gather figs of thistles?" His argument is, No tree "can" bring forth fruit inconsistent with its nature, as for example, the fig tree, olive berries: so if a man speaks bitterly, and afterwards speaks good words, the latter must be so only seemingly, and in hypocrisy, they cannot be real.
so can no fountain . . . salt . . . and fresh--The oldest authorities read, "Neither can a salt (water spring) yield fresh." So the mouth that emits cursing, cannot really emit also blessing.

13. Who--(Compare Psalms 34:12 Psalms 34:13 ). All wish to appear "wise": few are so.
show--"by works," and not merely by profession, referring to James 2:18 .
out of a good conversation his works--by general "good conduct" manifested in particular "works." "Wisdom" and "knowledge," without these being "shown," are as dead as faith would be without works [ALFORD].
with meekness of wisdom--with the meekness inseparable from true "wisdom."

14. if ye have--as is the case (this is implied in the Greek indicative).
bitter-- Ephesians 4:31 , "bitterness."
envying--rather, "emulation," or literally, "zeal": kindly, generous emulation, or zeal, is not condemned, but that which is "bitter" [BENGEL].
strife--rather, "rivalry."
in your hearts--from which flow your words and deeds, as from a fountain.
glory not, and lie not against the truth--To boast of your wisdom is virtually a lying against the truth (the gospel), while your lives belie your glorying. 3:15 , 1:18 , "The word of truth." Romans 2:17 Romans 2:23 , speaks similarly of the same contentious Jewish Christians.

15. This wisdom--in which ye "glory," as if ye were "wise" ( james 3:13 james 3:14 ).
descendeth not from above--literally, "is not one descending," &c.: "from the Father of lights" (true illumination and wisdom), James 1:17 ; through "the Spirit of truth," John 15:26 .
earthly--opposed to heavenly. Distinct from "earthy," 1 Corinthians 15:47 . Earthly is what is IN the earth; earthy, what is of the earth.
sensual--literally, "animal-like": the wisdom of the "natural" (the same Greek) man, not born again of God; "not having the Spirit" ( Jude 1:19 ).
devilish--in its origin (from "hell," James 3:6 ; not from God, the Giver of true wisdom, James 1:5 ), and also in its character, which accords with its origin. Earthly, sensual, and devilish, answer to the three spiritual foes of man, the world, the flesh, and the devil.

16. envying--So English Version translates the Greek, which usually means "zeal"; "emulation," in Romans 13:13 . "The envious man stands in his own light. He thinks his candle cannot shine in the presence of another's sun. He aims directly at men, obliquely at God, who makes men to differ."
strife--rivalry [ALFORD].
confusion--literally, "tumultuous anarchy": both in society (translated "commotions," Luke 21:9 ; "tumults," 2 Corinthians 6:5 ), and in the individual mind; in contrast to the "peaceable" composure of true "wisdom," James 3:17 . James does not honor such effects of this earthly wisdom with the name "fruit," as he does in the case of the wisdom from above. James 3:18 ; compare Galatians 5:19-22 , "works of the flesh . . . fruit of the Spirit."

17. first pure--literally, "chaste," "sanctified": pure from all that is "earthly, sensual (animal), devilish" ( James 3:15 ). This is put, "first of all," before "peaceable" because there is an unholy peace with the world which makes no distinction between clean and unclean. Compare "undefiled" and "unspotted from the world," 1:27 , james 4:4 james 4:8 , "purify . . . hearts"; 1 Peter 1:22 , "purified . . . souls" (the same Greek). Ministers must not preach before a purifying change of heart, "Peace," where there is no peace. Seven (the perfect number) characteristic peculiarities of true wisdom are enumerated. Purity or sanctity is put first because it has respect both to God and to ourselves; the six that follow regard our fellow men. Our first concern is to have in ourselves sanctity; our second, to be at peace with men.
gentle--"forbearing"; making allowances for others; lenient towards neighbors, as to the DUTIES they owe us.
easy to be entreated--literally, "easily persuaded," tractable; not harsh as to a neighbor's FAULTS.
full of mercy--as to a neighbor's MISERIES.
good fruits--contrasted with "every evil work," James 3:16 .
without partiality--recurring to the warning against partial "respect to persons," james 2:1 james 2:4 james 2:9 . ALFORD translates as the Greek is translated, James 1:6 , "wavering," "without doubting." But thus there would be an epithet referring to one's self inserted amidst those referring to one's conduct towards others. English Version is therefore better.
without hypocrisy--Not as ALFORD explains from james 1:22 james 1:26 , "Without deceiving yourselves" with the name without the reality of religion. For it must refer, like the rest of the six epithets, to our relations to others; our peaceableness and mercy towards others must be "without dissimulation."

18. "The peaceable fruit of righteousness." He says "righteousness"; because it is itself the true wisdom. As in the case of the earthly wisdom, after the characteristic description came its results; so in this verse, in the case of the heavenly wisdom. There the results were present; here, future.
fruit . . . sown--Compare Psalms 97:11 , Isaiah 61:3 , "trees of righteousness." Anticipatory, that is, the seed whose "fruit," namely, "righteousness," shall be ultimately reaped, is now "sown in peace." "Righteousness," now in germ, when fully developed as "fruit" shall be itself the everlasting reward of the righteous. As "sowing in peace" (compare "sown in dishonor," 1 Corinthians 15:43 ) produces the "fruit of righteousness," so conversely "the work" and "effect of righteousness" is "peace."
of them that make peace--"by (implying also that it is for them, and to their good) them that work peace." They, and they alone, are "blessed." "Peacemakers," not merely they who reconcile others, but who work peace. "Cultivate peace" [ESTIUS]. Those truly wise towards God, while peaceable and tolerant towards their neighbors, yet make it their chief concern to sow righteousness, not cloaking men's sins, but reproving them with such peaceable moderation as to be the physicians, rather than the executioners, of sinners [CALVIN].