James 3:3-6 - Analogies On The Tongue
Context—James continues to make his argument about the tongue:
James 3:3- a bit is a metal piece placed behind the teeth in the horse’s mouth connected to the reins, the purpose of which is communication and primarily, control. The whole body of the horse is guided by the use of such a little metal piece!
James 3:4- a very small rudder guides or controls the direction of large ships!
James 3:5- “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire.”
James’ emphasis- The tongue is very small but powerful in what it can do or cause! Consider again the analogies used:
1) A horse is very strong; yet, a small bit is enough to control its whole body!
2) A ship is a large vessel; yet, a small rudder controls its direction, wherever the will of the pilot directs!
3) A forest can be huge; yet, it can be set ablaze by just a small fire!
James 3:6- “The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.” Consider the extent of damage it is capable of doing! Prov.16:27 says that the speech of a worthless man “is like a scorching fire.” Isaiah says in Isaiah 6:5 as he beheld the holiness of the Lord, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips.” James says that the tongue “is set among our members, staining the whole body…. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” When it is unbridled, it endangers a great many!
Therefore, be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath (James 1:19).