Summary: James is writing this book to Christians who have scattered out from Jerusalem. He covers multiple concepts throughout this book, but they can be boiled down to “being doers of the word and not just hearers” and “withstanding the trials”. Due to Christian persecution & poverty the church has broken into factions that are at odds with each other and is causing some to fail at putting their faith into practice.
(V. 1-5) When James speaks about “stumbling” referring to our words, understand that this can happen in two ways: we can stumble in words about ourselves (boasting, pride, self inflation) and we can stumble in words about others (criticism, gossip, slander, anger, even flattery with intent of self gain). We have to gain control of our tongues just like taking the reins on a horse to regain control. Our words will direct other areas of life.
(V. 6-12) Here we see that words can have a huge impact on people and Churches as a whole. Our words hold the kind of danger the forest fires in California do. James reminds us that it is easier to tame a wild animal than our own tongues. It’s impossible. This was a call for us to remember to rely on the Holy Spirit to do it’s work in us in order to “tame the tongue”. We have to press deeper into the Gospel so it can change our inner character, because our words are only a reflection of our inner character.
(V. 13-18) Wisdom is not just an intellectual understanding of the word, but is accompanied by walking out the word of God. Wisdom shows itself when people begin living for God’s glory and praise, and not their own. If we evaluate our lives and there seems to be disorder (bitterness, jealousy, selfish ambition) then we know that wisdom does not come from God, and if it doesn’t come from God, then it’s demonic. These type of attitudes in our life will destroy our contentment.
How has your week been spiritually? / What is God teaching you?
What sins are you struggling with that you need to confess?
(V. 1-5) What are a few ways you stumble in words?
(V. 1-5) How can you take the reins of your tongue this week?
(V. 6-12) Why is the tongue such a difficult thing to control?
(V. 6-12) How can something so small shape so many things in life?
(V. 6-12) If Jesus lives in us, how can filth and evil be coming out of our mouths?
(V. 13-18) What in these passages convicts you most?
(V. 13-18) Explain verse 16 using your own life as an example.