For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
1. The use of the tongue constitutes a large portion of human business. It is by that organ that very many of the most important transactions of life are carried on. Speech has been appropriately called "the rudder that steereth human affairs, the spring that setteth the wheels of action on going."(2) Speech is the index of the mind (Psalm 39:3). Thought and feeling dictate the language of the lips; and a habitually right use of speech is an indication of a habitually right condition of the mind. "Speak," said Socrates, "that I may see thee." The whirlwind of the tongue is but the outburst of the tumult of the soul. Wise, meek, and generous discourse is the counterpart of the enlightened, tranquil, and benevolent spirit which possesses "the hidden man of the heart."
3. It is a work of much difficulty tightly to regulate the tongue. On the one hand, it is a very facile member, often called, and easily roused, into active exercise; and on the other, one is apt not to associate the idea of so much guilt as is readily attributed to the sins of outward action with an ill-regulated tongue — insomuch that many who would not blasphemously say, "Our lips are our own, who is lord over us?" do not reckon themselves bound to watch, with any special diligence, over what they say.
4. As fearful evil is wont to result from the violation by the tongue of the laws of piety, truth, charity, chastity, and wisdom, so its right regulation is taught with glorious effects to him who speaks, and, it may be, also to him who hears.
(A. S. Patterson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.