James 3


A tour of James 3 with Ken Boa.

The tongue is the hardest thing in nature to control, and our speech can lead to blessing or cursing, to life or to death (3:1-12).  James contrasts two kinds of wisdom, the heavenly and the earthly, and exhorts his readers to turn away from envy and selfish ambition to love, mercy, and peace (3:13-18).

This epistle is the primary wisdom literature of the New Testament, and it is strongly influenced by the Book of Proverbs and the Sermon on the Mount.  It combines the pithy maxims of the Proverbs with the fiery rhetoric of Amos in its relentlessly ethical stance.  It is full of vivid imagery and sharp commands (there are 54 imperatives in its 108 verses).  This is a very formal letter that differs from the Pauline epistles in that James says nothing at all about his personal circumstances.  Because of its specific treatment of so many situations in life, James is the most practical book in the New Testament, and its timeless principles apply just as well to life today as they did in the first century.



Lord, may I walk in the wisdom from above that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

Meditation passage for today: verses 13-18



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