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James 3 (Today's New International Version)

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Taming the Tongue

1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers,1 my brothers and sisters, because you know that we who teach will be judged2 more strictly.3 2 We all stumble4 in many ways. Those who are never at fault in what they say5 are perfect,6 able to keep their whole body in check.7 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.8 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 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.9 Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire,10 a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person,11 sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.12 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by human beings, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.13 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness.14 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?15 Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Two Kinds of Wisdom

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it16 by their good life, by deeds17 done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition18 in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.19 15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven20 but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.21 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition,22 there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven23 is first of all pure; then peace-loving,24 considerate, submissive, full of mercy25 and good fruit, impartial and sincere.26 18 Peacemakers27 who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.28
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