James 3:9

At first the apostle had reminded his readers that speech may be made a great power for good (vers. 2-4). Then he went on to say that in actual fact it is employed by most men as an engine of evil (vers. 5, 6). He proceeds now to justify his strong language on this point.

I. THE UNTAMABLENESS OF THE TONGUE. (Vers. 7, 8.) We have here a fourfold classification of the inferior creatures. God gave man dominion over them at the creation, and intimated his supremacy anew after the Flood. There is no variety of brute nature that has not yielded in the past, and that does not continue to yield, to the lordship of human nature. The horse, the dog, the elephant, the lion, the leopard, the tiger, the hyena; the partridge, the falcon, the eagle; the asp, the cobra; the crocodile; - these names suggest ample evidence of man's power to tame the most diverse species of wild animals. But, says James, there is one little creature which human nature, in its own strength, finds it impossible to domesticate. The tongue of man is fiercer than the most ferocious beast, The rebellion of our race against good is far more inveterate than any insubordination of the brutes. Indeed, the revolt of the lower creatures against the authority of man is only the shadow and symbol of man's revolt against the authority of God. Year by year man is subduing the earth and extending his dominion over it; but his natural power to govern the tongue remains as feeble as it was in the days of Cain. This "little member" reveals the appalling depths of human corruption. "It is a restless evil;" unstable, fickle, versatile; ever stirring about from one form of unrighteousness to another; assuming Protean shapes and chameleon hues; its words sometimes filthy, sometimes slanderous, sometimes profane, sometimes angry, sometimes idle. And the untamed tongue "is full of deadly poison." It is a worse poison-bag than that of the most hurtful serpent. The words of a false tongue are fangs of moral venom, for which no human skill can supply an antidote. Is not calumny just a foul virus injected into the social body, which kills character, happiness, and sometimes even life? Its venom spreads far and wide, and man is powerless to destroy it.

II. THE INCONSISTENCY OF THE TONGUE. (Vers. 9-12.) The same person may just now put the faculty of speech to its highest use; and, almost immediately afterwards, wickedly abuse it. The tongue has been given us that therewith we may "bless the Lord and Father;" and to utter the Divine praise is the most ennobling exercise of human speech. The Christian calls him "Lord," and adores him for his eternal Godhead; he also calls him "Father," and blesses him for his adopting grace. Then, with melancholy inconsistency, the same mouth which has been praising God may be heard invoking evil upon men. How often do those who profess godliness speak passionate and spiteful words! Do not Christians who belong to the same congregation sometimes backbite one another? Do not believers of different communions often, out of mere sectarian rivalry, denounce one another's Churches? Even godly men sometimes cherish the spirit which would "forbid" others to work the work of the Lord, simply because these are not of their company. Now, such inconsistency is seen in all its aggravation when we consider the fact that truly to bless God forbids the cursing of any man. "The Lord" is the "Father" of all men, for men "are made after the likeness of God." In his princely intellect, and his hungering heart, and even in his uneasy conscience, man reflects the image of his Maker. God and he are so close of kin to each other - by nature, and through Christ's incarnation - that real reverence for God requires that we "honor all men." How inconsistent, then, for the same mouth to bless the Father and to curse the children! The inconsistency appears on the very face of the English word "curse." To curse means primarily "to invoke evil upon one, by the sign of the cross. The cross is the symbol of the highest blessing to the world; and yet those who enjoy the blessedness which it brings have used it as an instrument of cursing. We bless God for the cross; and then we curse men in the name of the cross. Such inconsistency, the apostle adds, is flagrantly unnatural (vers. 11, 12). None such is to be met with in the physical world. A spring of water cannot transgress the law of its nature. A fruit tree can only bear fruit according to its kind. How unnatural, then, that in the moral world the same fountain of speech should emit just now a rill of clear sweet praise, and soon afterwards a torrent of bitter slander, or a stream of brackish minced oaths! Where a true believer falls into this sinful inconsistency, it is because the fountain of the old nature within his heart has not yet been closed up. He needs to have the accursed tree on which Jesus died cast into the bitter stream within him, to sweeten it, and to make it a river of living water. In the case of a soul that has experienced the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit, this unnatural inconsistency of speech not only ought not so to be," but does not need to be. - C.J.

Therewith bless we God.
In these concluding sentences of the paragraph respecting sins of the tongue St. James does two things — he shows the moral chaos to which the Christian who fails to control his tongue is reduced, and he thereby shows such a man how vain it is for him to hope that the worship which he offers to Almighty God can be pure and acceptable. He has made himself the channel of hellish influences. He cannot at pleasure make himself the channel of heavenly influences, or become the offerer of holy sacrifices. A man who curses his fellow-men, and then blesses God, is like one who professes the profoundest respect for his sovereign, while he insults the royal family, throws mud at the royal portraits, and ostentatiously disregards the royal wishes. It is further proof of the evil character of the tongue that it is capable of lending itself to such chaotic activity. "Therewith bless we the Lord and Father," i.e., God in His might and in His love; "and therewith curse we men, which are made after the likeness of God." The heathen fable tells us the apparent contradiction of being able to blow both hot and cold with the same breath; and the son of Sirach points out that "if thou blow the spark, it shall burn; if thou Spit upon it, it shall be quenched; and both these come out of thy mouth" (Ecclus. 28:12). St. James, who may have had this passage in his mind, shows us that there is a real and a moral contradiction which goes far beyond either of these: "Out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and. cursing." Well may he add, with affectionate earnestness, "My brethren, these things ought not so to be." Assuredly they ought not; and yet how common the contradiction has been, and still is, among those who seem to be, and who think themselves to be, religious people! There is perhaps no particular in which persons professing to have a desire to serve God are more ready to invade His prerogatives than in venturing to denounce those who differ from themselves, and are supposed to be therefore under the ban of Heaven. There are many questions which have to be carefully considered and answered before a Christian mouth, which has been consecrated to the praise of our Lord and Father, ought to venture to utter denunciations against others who worship the same God and are also His offspring and His image. Is it quite certain that the supposed evil is something which God abhors; that those whom we would denounce are responsible for it; that denunciation of them will do any good; that this is the proper time for such denunciation; that we are the proper persons to utter it? The illustrations of the fountain and the fig-tree are among the touches which, if they do not indicate one who is familiar with Palestine, at any rate agree well with the fact that the writer of this Epistle was such. Springs tainted with salt or with sulphur are not rare, and it is stated that most of those on the eastern slope of the hill-country of Judaea are brackish. The fig-tree, the vine, and the olive were abundant throughout the whole country; and St. James, if he looked out of the window as he was writing, would be likely enough to see all three. It is not improbable that in one or more of the illustrations he is following some ancient saying or proverb. Thus, Arrian, the pupil of Epictetus, writing less than a century later, asks, "How can a vine grow, not vinewise, but olivewise, or an olive, on the other hand, not olivewise, but vinewise? It is impossible, inconceivable." It is possible that our Lord Himself, when He used a similar illustration in connection with the worst of all sins of the tongue, was adapting a proverb already in use (Matthew 12:33-36). And previously, in the Sermon on the Mount, where He is speaking of deeds rather than of words (Matthew 7:16-18). Can it be the case that while physical contradictions are not permitted in the lower classes of unconscious objects, moral contradictions of a very monstrous kind are allowed in the highest of all earthly creatures? Just as the double-minded man is judged by his doubts, and not by his forms of prayer, so the double-tongued man is judged by his curses, and not by his forms of praise. In each case one or the other of the two contradictories is not real. If there is prayer, there are no doubts; and if there are doubts, there is no prayer — no prayer that will avail with God. So also in the other case: if God is sincerely and heartily blessed, there will be no cursing of His children; and if there is such cursing, God cannot acceptably be blessed; the very words of praise, coming from such lips, will be an offence to Him. But it may be urged, our Lord Himself has set us an example of strong denunciation in the woes which He pronounced upon the scribes and Pharisees; and again, St. Paul cursed Hymensaeus and Alexander (1 Timothy 1:20), the incestuous person at Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:5), and Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:10). Most true. But firstly, these curses were uttered by those who could not err in such things. Christ "knew what was in man," and could read the hearts of all; and the fact that St. Paul's curses were supernaturally fulfilled proves that he was acting under Divine guidance in what he said. And secondly, these stern utterances had their source in love; not, as human curses commonly have, in hate. And let us remember the proportion which such things bear to the rest of Christ's words and of St. Paul's words, so far as they have been preserved for us. All this applies with much force to those who believe themselves to be called upon to denounce and curse all such as seem to them to be enemies of God and His truth: but with how much more force to those who in moments of anger and irritation deal in execrations on their own account, and curse a fellow-Christian, not because he seems to them to have offended God, but because he has offended themselves! That such persons should suppose that their polluted mouths can offer acceptable praises to the Lord and Father, is indeed a moral contradiction of the most startling kind. The writer of this Epistle has been accused of exaggeration. It has been urged that in this strongly worded paragraph he himself is guilty of that unchastened language which he is so eager to condemn; that the case is over-stated, and that the highly-coloured picture is a caricature. Is there any thoughtful person of large experience that can honestly assent to this verdict? Who has not seen what mischief may be done by a single utterance of mockery, or enmity, or bravado; what confusion is wrought by exaggeration, innuendo, and falsehood; what suffering is inflicted by slanderous suggestions and statements; what careers of sin have been begun by impure stories and filthy jests? All these effects may follow, be it remembered, from a single utterance in each case, may spread to multitudes, may last for years. One reckless word may blight whole life. And there are persons who habitually pour forth such things, who never pass a day without uttering what is unkind, or false, or impure.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)


1. Its blessing of God. This is the great end for which the human tongue exists — this the highest employment in which it can be engaged. We do this in various ways. We thus bless Him in our praises. These are sung either more privately in our own dwellings or more publicly in the sanctuary. He requires, above everything, the soul, but He will have the body also; the members and organs of the one, not less than the faculties and affections of the other. We thus bless God also in our prayers, whether these be secret, domestic, or public. In them adoring and thankful praises constitute no small or subordinate element. We extol the Lord for His infinite perfections, we give Him the glory due unto His great and holy name. We testify our obligations to Him for His mercies without number, and lay offerings of grateful homage on His altar.

2. Its cursing of men. Even the most orthodox and charitable Christians are not wholly exempt from this tendency. We are far too ready to pass sentence on our brethren, and in effect, if not in form, to curse such as do not happen to agree with us in some respects, and these, it may be, of quite secondary importance. Everything of this sort is of the nature of cursing — it partakes in one degree or another of that character. And mark the aggravating circumstance, that which involves the frightful inconsistency charged against the tongue — "men, which are made after the similitude of God." We were at first created in His image, stamped with His moral lineaments in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. And in a sense too, as the, language here obviously implies, we still bear that likeness. Such cursing is in reality a cursing of God Himself. whom we yet bless — a cursing of Him in man, who is not only His workmanship, but His reflection, His image — not merely a being formed by His hand, but formed after His likeness. We cannot keep the first table of the law, and at the same time set at nought the second. The strangely, outrageously inconsistent nature of the whole proceeding is still more forcibly exhibited by bringing the two contrary things together, placing them side by side, presenting them in sharpest contrast (ver. 10). There it is that the flagrant, shocking contradiction appears.

II. THE UNNATURALNESS OF THIS INCONSISTENCY (vers. 11, 12). "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place" — the same hole, chink, or fissure, as in the rock whence it issues — "sweet water and bitter?" No — nothing of this kind is ever witnessed. The water which flows from the spring may have either, but it cannot have both of these qualities. It may indeed afterwards undergo a change, it may lose its original properties, and be turned into the opposite of what it was, by reason of the soil through which it runs, or the purposes to which it is applied. What was sweet may by certain mixtures become bitter. But at first, in its own nature, and apart from all foreign ingredients, it is wholly the one or the other. There is no inconsistency in the material region. He passes to a higher department, the vegetable kingdom, and shows that there too plants and trees bring forth a single kind of fruit, and that which is suited to the order, the species to which they belong. "Can the fig-tree, my brethren, bear olive-berries, either a vine figs?" Of course it cannot. Any such thing would be a monstrosity. Titan, returning to the spring, not without reference to the internal, hidden source from which all our words proceed, be adds, "So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." He wishes to fix attention on the inconsistency manifested in the use of the tongue, and lead them to the right explanation of its origin. This anomaly does seem to be exhibited in the moral world, if not in the material. But it is so more in appearance than in reality. That water is often the same which looks different. What to some tastes and tests is fresh, when thoroughly examined, is found to be salt as the ocean. Much that to our earthly senses is sweet, to the spiritually-discerning is bitter indeed. Thus the blessing of many is formal, if not even false, having nothing gracious in it, no love or homage of the heart, no element or quality fitted to render it acceptable to the great object of worship. In its origin and essence it is not opposed to, nor, indeed, different from the cursing of man, with which it is associated. The latter reveals the true nature of the common source, or there may be two fountains where only one is perceptible. The former supposition applies to nominal and hypocritical Christians — this latter to living, genuine believers. They have an old man and a new, corruption and grace both existing and working within them; and as the one or the other gains the ascendancy, and, for the time, governs the tongue, the stream of discourse that issues from it is wholesome or deleterious — fresh as that of the bubbling spring, or salt as that of the briny deep.

(John Adam.)

St. James uses three special arguments to restrain Christians from the unruly use of the tongue: the first is the inconsistency of the thing — that the heart touched by the Holy Spirit should do the works of the flesh — that the fountain which hath been purified should again flow with bitter waters and the servants of Christ should serve Belial We have promised to study the strains of angels, and become familiar with and adopt them as our own; so that instead of being now a Babel of confusion, the Church may utter but one language in the presence of the Lamb; and how very inconsistent that from such lips cursing should proceed — how very inconsistent if any of you who have been now repeating David's psalms, the notes of heaven, should to-morrow be found uttering an oath, or even using a passionate expression. It is bad enough for one who only professes Christianity to use the language of the devil, but it is a greater inconsistency when out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing — when you, the same person, bless God, yet curse His image. Let the wicked do it; the heathen who is without God, and without Christ, if it must be. "He that is unjust," &c. But a Christian man — a man who has been baptized into the Holy Trinity; a man who reads the Bible, and comes into God's house and worships there: a man who joins himself to the company of the saints, dead and living, and takes into his mouth the same words, the same prayers, the same Scripture passages with them; — nay, the man who perhaps approaches the awful mystery of the Body and Blood of His Lord;-that from such a mouth should proceed the gibes and imprecations of lost spirits, is it not shockingly inconsistent? Next, St. James reminds us of the consequences both to others and ourselves. "Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth, awed the tongue is a fire." How far may a single spark dropped among stubble reach! Bow does it steal along the floor, creep up the wall, envelop the roof, spread from house to house, and seize churches and noble buildings, till it wrap a whole city in conflagration! So does a single word dropped unadvisedly. If a soft answer turneth away wrath, on the other hand "grievous words stir up anger." If you reply quietly to a provocation, or refuse to answer, the quarrel dies; but one word draws on another, and wrath kindleth wrath; and that is made eternal which might have been extinguished if only one had been a Christian. You see, then, how great a matter a little fire kindleth. Is it surprising "if of every idle word we shall give an account at the judgment"? But again, you say something injurious of .your neighbour. There is a little truth in it, but much more falsehood. It has been added to, and enlarged, and swollen into a crime. But you repeat it. The story spreads. It is told everywhere, and though it wounds your neighbour to death, and from the calumny he loses all acquaintances and friends, yet you cannot recall it now. See "how great a matter a little fire kindleth." Again, you utter impure words before a child, the child treasures them up all through his life; though he lives sixty or seventy years, unhappy being, his thoughts and language take their complexion from your words; but besides, to how many has lie communicated what he first heard from you! Mark again, "how great a little fire kindleth." Surely the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity, and setteth on fire the course of nature. To conclude: if we will not restrain our members by the aid of God's Spirit, and especially that member which St. Peter calls "an unruly evil, full of deadly poison"; if we will, in the indulgence of a wilful spirit, scatter fire-brands about, unkind, malicious, polluting, or injurious words, wide-spread as the evil may be, will it stop short with others? No, it will return upon ourselves; which "setteth on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire of hell." The fire which hath gone forth spreading and consuming, at the judgment hour is stopped in its course, and rolling back again is concentrated on the tongue which gave it existence. You who uttered the word, which has done such mischief to thousands, and ruined so many souls, now feel its burning effects in your own person. Ought not this to make you careful of your words, those winged words, which once launched forth take a flight you know not whither?

(J. M. Chaunter, M. A.)

Made after the similitude of God.
This image of God consisteth in three things —

1. In His nature, which was intellectual. God gave him a rational soul, spiritual, simple, immortal, free in its choice; yea, in the body there were some rays and strictures of the Divine glory and majesty.

2. In those qualities of "knowledge" (Colossians 3:10); "righteousness" (Ecclesiastes 7:29); and "true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).

3. In his state, in a happy confluence of all inward and outward blessings, as the enjoyment of God, power over the creatures, &c. But now this image is in a great part defaced and lost, and can only be restored in Christ. Well, then, this was the g, eat privilege of our creation, to be made like God: the more we resemble Him the more happy. Oh! remember the height of your original. We press men to walk worthy of their extraction. Those potters that were of a servile spirit disgraced the kingly family and line of which they came (1 Chronicles 4:22). Plutarch saith of Alexander, that he was wont to heighten his courage by remembering he came of the gods. Remember you were made after the image of God; do not deface it in yourselves, or render it liable to contempt, by giving others occasion to revile you.

(T. Manton.)

Bless, Curse, God's, Image, Likeness, Praise, Similitude, Therewith
1. We are not rashly or arrogantly to reprove others;
5. but rather to bridle the tongue, a little member,
9. but a powerful instrument of much good, and great harm.
13. The truly wise are mild and peaceable, without envy and strife.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
James 3:9

     1194   glory, divine and human
     4060   nature
     5002   human race, and creation
     5020   human nature
     5023   image of God
     5034   likeness
     5081   Adam, life of
     5193   tongue
     5838   disrespect
     8322   perfection, human

James 3:1-12

     5547   speech, power of
     8339   self-control

James 3:2-12

     5934   restraint
     8476   self-discipline

James 3:3-12

     5193   tongue

James 3:9-10

     5549   speech, positive
     5550   speech, negative
     8471   respect, for human beings

James 3:9-11

     4278   spring of water

James 3:9-12

     4357   salt
     4440   fig-tree

January the Twenty-Sixth the Fire of Envy
"Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work!" --JAMES iii. 13-18. In Milton's "Comus" we read of a certain potion which has the power to pervert all the senses of everyone who drinks it. Nothing is apprehended truly. Sight and hearing and taste are all disordered, and the victim is all unconscious of the confusion. The deadly draught is the minister of deceptive chaos. And envy is like that potion when it is drunk by the spirit. It perverts every moral and spiritual sense.
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

The Tongue.
Preached April 28, 1850. THE TONGUE. "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 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."--St. James iii. 5-6. In the development of Christian Truth a peculiar office was assigned to the Apostle James. It was given to St. Paul to proclaim Christianity
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

How to Make Use of Christ for Taking the Guilt of Our Daily Out-Breakings Away.
The next part of our sanctification is in reference to our daily failings and transgressions, committed partly through the violence of temptations, as we see in David and Peter, and other eminent men of God; partly through daily infirmities, because of our weakness and imperfections; for, "in many things we offend all," James iii. 2; and, "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us," 1 John i. 8; "a righteous man falleth seven times," Prov. xxiv. 16; "there is not
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Whether Wisdom Should be Reckoned among the Gifts of the Holy Ghost?
Objection 1: It would seem that wisdom ought not to be reckoned among the gifts of the Holy Ghost. For the gifts are more perfect than the virtues, as stated above ([2705]FS, Q[68], A[8]). Now virtue is directed to the good alone, wherefore Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. ii, 19) that "no man makes bad use of the virtues." Much more therefore are the gifts of the Holy Ghost directed to the good alone. But wisdom is directed to evil also, for it is written (James 3:15) that a certain wisdom is "earthly,
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Prudence of the Flesh is a Sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that prudence of the flesh is not a sin. For prudence is more excellent than the other moral virtues, since it governs them all. But no justice or temperance is sinful. Neither therefore is any prudence a sin. Objection 2: Further, it is not a sin to act prudently for an end which it is lawful to love. But it is lawful to love the flesh, "for no man ever hated his own flesh" (Eph. 5:29). Therefore prudence of the flesh is not a sin. Objection 3: Further, just as man is
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Inconstancy is a vice Contained under Prudence?
Objection 1: It would seem that inconstancy is not a vice contained under imprudence. For inconstancy consists seemingly in a lack of perseverance in matters of difficulty. But perseverance in difficult matters belongs to fortitude. Therefore inconstancy is opposed to fortitude rather than to prudence. Objection 2: Further, it is written (James 3:16): "Where jealousy [Douay: 'envy'] and contention are, there are inconstancy and every evil work." But jealousy pertains to envy. Therefore inconstancy
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Wisdom is in all who have Grace?
Objection 1: It would seem that wisdom is not in all who have grace. For it is more to have wisdom than to hear wisdom. Now it is only for the perfect to hear wisdom, according to 1 Cor. 2:6: "We speak wisdom among the perfect." Since then not all who have grace are perfect, it seems that much less all who have grace have wisdom. Objection 2: Further, "The wise man sets things in order," as the Philosopher states (Metaph. i, 2): and it is written (James 3:17) that the wise man "judges without dissimulation
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Seventh Beatitude Corresponds to the Gift of Wisdom?
Objection 1: It seems that the seventh beatitude does not correspond to the gift of wisdom. For the seventh beatitude is: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Now both these things belong to charity: since of peace it is written (Ps. 118:165): "Much peace have they that love Thy law," and, as the Apostle says (Rom. 5:5), "the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost Who is given to us," and Who is "the Spirit of adoption of sons, whereby
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Backbiting is a Mortal Sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that backbiting is not a mortal sin. For no act of virtue is a mortal sin. Now, to reveal an unknown sin, which pertains to backbiting, as stated above (A[1], ad 3), is an act of the virtue of charity, whereby a man denounces his brother's sin in order that he may amend: or else it is an act of justice, whereby a man accuses his brother. Therefore backbiting is not a mortal sin. Objection 2: Further, a gloss on Prov. 24:21, "Have nothing to do with detractors," says: "The
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Fasting is a Matter of Precept?
Objection 1: It would seem that fasting is not a matter of precept. For precepts are not given about works of supererogation which are a matter of counsel. Now fasting is a work of supererogation: else it would have to be equally observed at all places and times. Therefore fasting is not a matter of precept. Objection 2: Further, whoever infringes a precept commits a mortal sin. Therefore if fasting were a matter of precept, all who do not fast would sin mortally, and a widespreading snare would
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether any one Can be Perfect in this Life?
Objection 1: It would seem that none can be perfect in this life. For the Apostle says (1 Cor. 13:10): "When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away." Now in this life that which is in part is not done away; for in this life faith and hope, which are in part, remain. Therefore none can be perfect in this life. Objection 2: Further, "The perfect is that which lacks nothing" (Phys. iii, 6). Now there is no one in this life who lacks nothing; for it is written (James
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Our Atmosphere is the Demons' Place of Punishment?
Objection 1: It would seem that this atmosphere is not the demons' place of punishment. For a demon is a spiritual nature. But a spiritual nature is not affected by place. Therefore there is no place of punishment for demons. Objection 2: Further, man's sin is not graver than the demons'. But man's place of punishment is hell. Much more, therefore, is it the demons' place of punishment; and consequently not the darksome atmosphere. Objection 3: Further, the demons are punished with the pain of fire.
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether a Religious Sins More Grievously than a Secular by the Same Kind of Sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that a religious does not sin more grievously than a secular by the same kind of sin. For it is written (2 Paralip 30:18,19): "The Lord Who is good will show mercy to all them who with their whole heart seek the Lord the God of their fathers, and will not impute it to them that they are not sanctified." Now religious apparently follow the Lord the God of their fathers with their whole heart rather than seculars, who partly give themselves and their possessions to God and
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Separated Soul Can Suffer from a Bodily Fire?
Objection 1: It would seem that the separated soul cannot suffer from a bodily fire. For Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii): "The things that affect the soul well or ill after its separation from the body, are not corporeal but resemble corporeal things." Therefore the separated soul is not punished with a bodily fire. Objection 2: Further, Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xii) says that "the agent is always more excellent than the patient." But it is impossible for any body to be more excellent than the separated
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

The Doctrine of Man
Rev. William Evans—The Great Doctrines of the Bible

Man's Inability to Keep the Moral Law
Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God? No mere man, since the fall, is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but does daily break them, in thought, word, and deed. In many things we offend all.' James 3: 2. Man in his primitive state of innocence, was endowed with ability to keep the whole moral law. He had rectitude of mind, sanctity of will, and perfection of power. He had the copy of God's law written on his heart; no sooner did God command but he obeyed.
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Of the Weight of Government; and that all Manner of Adversity is to be Despised, and Prosperity Feared.
So much, then, have we briefly said, to shew how great is the weight of government, lest whosoever is unequal to sacred offices of government should dare to profane them, and through lust of pre-eminence undertake a leadership of perdition. For hence it is that James affectionately deters us, saying, Be not made many masters, my brethren (James iii. 1). Hence the Mediator between God and man Himself--He who, transcending the knowledge and understanding even of supernal spirits, reigns in heaven
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

"If we Confess Our Sins, He is Faithful and Just to Forgive us Our Sins, and to Cleanse us from all Unrighteousness. If we Say We
1 John i. 9, 10.--"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar," &c. And who will not confess their sin, say you? Who doth not confess sins daily, and, therefore, who is not forgiven and pardoned? But stay, and consider the matter again. Take not this upon your first light apprehensions, which in religion are commonly empty, vain, and superficial, but search the scriptures, and
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Whether it is Lawful to Swear?
Objection 1: It would seem that it is not lawful to swear. Nothing forbidden in the Divine Law is lawful. Now swearing is forbidden (Mat. 5:34), "But I say to you not to swear at all"; and (James 5:12), "Above all things, my brethren, swear not." Therefore swearing is unlawful. Objection 2: Further, whatever comes from an evil seems to be unlawful, because according to Mat. 7:18, "neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit." Now swearing comes from an evil, for it is written (Mat. 5:37): "But
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Attributes of Selfishness.
Formerly we considered the attributes of benevolence, and also what states of the sensibility and of the intellect, and also what outward actions, were implied in it, as necessarily resulting from it. We are now to take the same course with selfishness: and-- 1. Voluntariness is an attribute of selfishness. Selfishness has often been confounded with mere desire. But these things are by no means identical. Desire is constitutional. It is a phenomenon of the sensibility. It is a purely involuntary
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Unity of Moral Action.
CAN OBEDIENCE TO MORAL LAW BE PARTIAL? 1. What constitutes obedience to moral law? We have seen in former lectures, that disinterested benevolence is all that the spirit of moral law requires; that is, that the love which it requires to God and our neighbor is good-willing, willing the highest good or well-being of God, and of being in general, as an end, or for its own sake; that this willing is a consecration of all the powers, so far as they are under the control of the will, to this end. Entire
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Concerning Peaceableness
Blessed are the peacemakers. Matthew 5:9 This is the seventh step of the golden ladder which leads to blessedness. The name of peace is sweet, and the work of peace is a blessed work. Blessed are the peacemakers'. Observe the connection. The Scripture links these two together, pureness of heart and peaceableness of spirit. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable' (James 3:17). Follow peace and holiness' (Hebrews 12:14). And here Christ joins them together pure in heart, and peacemakers',
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Tribute Money
"And they send unto Him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, that they might catch Him in talk. And when they were come, they say unto Him, Master, we know that Thou art true, and carest not for any one: for Thou regardest not the person of men, but of a truth teachest the way of God: Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye Me? bring Me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought
G. A. Chadwick—The Gospel of St. Mark

The Third Commandment
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.' Exod 20: 7. This commandment has two parts: 1. A negative expressed, that we must not take God's name in vain; that is, cast any reflections and dishonour on his name. 2. An affirmative implied. That we should take care to reverence and honour his name. Of this latter I shall speak more fully, under the first petition in the Lord's Prayer, Hallowed be thy name.' I shall
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

James 3:9 NIV
James 3:9 NLT
James 3:9 ESV
James 3:9 NASB
James 3:9 KJV

James 3:9 Bible Apps
James 3:9 Parallel
James 3:9 Biblia Paralela
James 3:9 Chinese Bible
James 3:9 French Bible
James 3:9 German Bible

James 3:9 Commentaries

Bible Hub
James 3:8
Top of Page
Top of Page