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James 3 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 Don't be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. 1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
2 And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
3 A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
4 A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
5 A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything - or destroy it! 5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
6 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. 6 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.
7 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,
8 but you can't tame a tongue - it's never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.
10 Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
11 A spring doesn't gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
12 Apple trees don't bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don't bear apples, do they? You're not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
13 Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here's what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It's the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
14 Mean-spirited ambition isn't wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn't wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn't wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
15 It's the furthest thing from wisdom - it's animal cunning, devilish conniving. 15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
16 Whenever you're trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others' throats. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
18 You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.