Demonstrable Christianity
is directly connected with your speech.

Verses 1-12, Warnings against personal presumptions that are expressed through verbal sins.

Verse 1, Warning against teaching presumption

1. My brethren: This is addressed to believers and introduces the possibility that someone without a communication gift, might presume to function as one. This would not only violate the structural and functional policy for the local church, but also bring upon the individual a specialized judgment because of his presumption.

2. Let not many {of you}: There is the possibility that as a believer progresses in his spiritual growth, he will be tempted to assume upon himself the function of a spiritual guide to others in the local assembly. 1 Timothy 1:6-7

3. become teachers: This is the verb ginomai, as a present middle imperative + the negative and the noun didaskalos (teacher). James is not talking about the general function of communicating bible truth to others through both evangelism and exhortation activity, for that is an expected and mandated responsibility of all believers (1 Pet. 3:13-16; Col.4:5-6). However, there is always the possibility for someone to place himself as a communication authority within the local church and thus presume to be an aide to the pastor or even a supplanter. Such "aide" function is to be limited to the communication gifts of exhortation, counseling and evangelist.

God has designed a structure of spiritual gifts for the orderly and beneficent function of the local assembly. Although, all the gifts have a specific role in the church, the primary gift from the standpoint of function, is the communication gift of pastor-teacher (Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:7).

See Topic: Pastor-Teacher

Even outside the local church, each believer must be careful that he not undermine or supplant the communication authority of his pastor-teacher.

At the same time, it needs to be said that disagreement with a particular interpretation made by one's pastor-teacher is not undermining his authority or rebelling. But how one deals with the disagreement he has with his pastor indicates whether he is out of line or not.

The pastor must be accessible to the sheep and the sheep must utilize that accessibility to calmly and objectively discuss differences of viewpoint.

Now, during the post-canon period of the church age, there is no direct revelation from God, but all that He wants us to know is found in the written canon of Scripture which contains the standard 66 books of the bible. Accordingly, our true authority rests in the written word of God and we rely upon certain logical principles of interpretation to come to a clear and consistent understanding of that word. And even though we have the universal indwelling of the Holy Spirit for all believers and we have access to the original written text of Scripture, there are still many occasions where differences of interpretation arise. This reality must be recognized and accepted, and then dealt with through application of humility, objectivity and honesty. Humans, even pastor-teachers, make mistakes. It might be a mistake in judgment, in interpretation, in application, but the reality of this is seen in the variety of viewpoints on any given subject, even among those who are considered to be of like mind.

As these differences are encountered, if it is a minor doctrinal issue, then the believer needs to be able to put the issue "on the back burner" and wait for future resolution. If it is a major doctrinal issue, then resolution is necessary. If a resolution cannot be found, then the believer must separate himself from the public assembly without incident or fanfare. He must not "stick around" and undermine the pastor's teaching authority by sowing discord among the brethren. However, it is possible for a pastor to stray from the fundamentals of the faith and teach false doctrine (3John 9-10). In this case, there needs to be an orderly attempt at accountability which is what Paul teaches at 1 Timothy 5:17-20.

It is also possible for someone to infiltrate the local church and influence the sheep to reject the teaching authority of the pastor who is in office (Acts 20:30; 2 Tim. 3:6-7; 2 Tim. 4:14-15; Titus 1:10-11).

Sometimes this can be prevented and sometimes not. Thus, we find today a huge collection of denominations and factions within the Christian church, all of which are not and indeed, cannot be right.

The protection in such cases is to have a group of elders who are all in agreement with the teaching elder (whether he is right or wrong), because then the status quo of that particular local church body can be maintained, even when infiltrators attempt to alter it.

4. knowing: This is a perfect active participle of oida to indicate a specific "understood" reason for avoiding such teaching presumption.

5. that we shall receive: This is a future middle indicative of lambano, and indicates not only the greater responsibility and accountability of God's communicator's (we), but also the accountability that one assumes upon himself through his teaching presumption.

With the editorial "we," James identifies himself as a bona fide communicator of God's word. James was either a prophet or a pastor-teacher, for it is not likely that he would have been recognized as the leader of the Jerusalem church without one of these gifts. Concerning whether James had the apostle gift or not, I discussed this in chapter one, and indicated that he did not have the gift of apostle since there were only 12 apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14).

6. A greater judgment: the word, krima, indicates an administration of divine justice as God monitors, evaluates and holds accountable those to whom He has given a communication gift.

A. Communicators are to be examples to the flock and accordingly are held to a higher standard. 1 Pet. 5:3; Heb. 13:7

B. The principle of greater responsibility is taught in the parable of the stewards at Luke 12:48. "From everyone who has been given much, shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

C. Although the principle applies to all believers as they advance in spiritual growth, it extends even more so to those who have been given overseer responsibility. At Hebrews 13:17, the concept of "giving account" refers to the communicator's responsibility to "answer to God" for the success and failure of the sheep. Yes, the believer who fails is volitionally responsible for his own demise, but the communicator must answer to God concerning his diligence and faithfulness in seeking and nourishing the sheep. The statement at the end of the verse, "for that would be unprofitable for you," does not remove responsibility from the communicator, but simply confirms that any failure, regardless of who it is, carries serious consequences before God, which will not be beneficial to the one who has failed.

D. The communicator's responsibility is clearly taught in the New Testament.

1. Keep watch over your souls: Heb. 13:17
2. Shepherd the church of God: Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2
3. Be examples: 1 Pet. 5:3; 1 Tim. 4:12;

E. The communicator will receive reward for faithful service in his spiritual gift (1 Pet. 5:4), but this also indicates accountability at the reward seat of Christ whether his works are good or worthless (2 Cor. 5:10; Romans 14:10-12).

See Doctrine: Reward Seat of Christ

7. The believer who presumes upon himself communicator authority, will also give account at the reward seat of Christ, but "good or worthless" will carry additional meaning as this presumptuous believer finds himself to be a failure for assuming upon himself what he should not have.


Verse 2, Verbal sins

James now amplifies the dangers of communicator presumption by discussing general verbal presumption (verbal arrogance). Verbal arrogance is the practice of elevating self above others through the use of any of the many verbal sins. Verbal arrogance can function either as a defense mechanism or a self-promotion mechanism. In either case, the purpose is to elevate self above another and to verbally accomplish some kind of victory over that person or persons.

1. For: the explanatory "gar" is used to explain that communicator presumption, as a form of verbal arrogance, is a clear indication of spiritual immaturity. First, no one should take on communicator responsibility unless they have one of the communication gifts (See Spiritual Gifts). Having recognized this, it is then advisable that one not take on communicator responsibility unless he manifests demonstrable Christianity through control of the tongue. Second, when a person practices communicator presumption, he demonstrates carnality, and not only places himself under divine discipline, but also endangers the souls of those who listen to him.

2. we all stumble in many things: the word stumble (ptaio) simply indicates a failure to express divine love and righteousness and accordingly, constitutes personal sin. James is saying that there are many areas of life (polus in the plural) where the believer errs and many varied ways that we all commit personal sin, but the real sign of Christian maturity and fellowship consistency is control of your speech.

3. If anyone does not stumble in what he says: This is a first class condition of reality used to indicate a clear sign of Christian maturity.

The one who does not sin "in word" (en + logos), shows consistent evidence of his maturity. There is no other overt expression of one's character that demonstrates maturity as does control of the tongue. We are always speaking. It is the primary mechanic of human interaction. Yes, other overt sins are more grievous and damaging, but they are not a "continuous" expression of the soul. It is through our speech that we are continually showing others who we are. And it is so easy for the tongue to immediately express what is going on in the mind, that one's speech becomes a fairly reliable indicator of what is in the soul.

4. he is a perfect man: Lit: This one is a mature man. Teleios, as we have previously seen, speaks of spiritual maturity; the quality of character that consistently reflects divine love and righteousness. Evidence of such maturity is not the absence of the overt "once-in-awhile" sins, for the absence of that which happens infrequently does not demonstrate character. However, when there is consistency in that which is continuously visible to others in many and varied situations of life, then there is a demonstration of Christian maturity which explains the sinless consistency in other areas.

See topic: Sinless Consistency.

5. able to bridle the whole body as well: the adjective, able (dunatos) indicates the possession of divine ability in the form of character strength that wins against temptations to do overt sins. If one is unable to consistently avoid verbal sins, it is highly unlikely that he will have consistency in avoiding overt sins. A SIGNPOST of one's spiritual maturity and the capacity (dunatos) to avoid the more grievous "physical" sins of the body is that person's verbal control.

This concept does not minimize the seriousness and grievousness of verbal sins, for indeed they are very damaging,

Verses 3-4 Two illustrations: A small instrument can affect a large body.

James 3:3 The bridle illustration
James 3:4 The ship illustration

Verse 5, In the same way, the tongue, which is a small part of the human body, can affect the entire body and reach out beyond to affect everyone around you. James gives us two illustrations; one to communicate the self-centered arrogance of the soul, and the other to communicate the serious damage that the uncontrolled tongue can do.

1. FIRST ILLUSTRATION: the tongue is the voice of arrogant self-centeredness.

So also the tongue . . . boasts of great things:

The verb, aucheo, only occurs here in the New Testament, but several times in other literature from the 2nd century forward, so that we do have a clear understanding of its meaning. The idea here is that the tongue, although a small member of the body, figuratively, "lays claim" (boasts) to great accomplishments, so that we have a "see what I have done" type boasting.

2. SECOND ILLUSTRATION: Serious effects are caused by a tongue out of control.

"Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!"

Indeed, it takes just a small spark to cause a forest fire. Likewise, the tongue can inflame those around us and set in motion a chain of sins that is as severe and as permanent as the "ever-burning" fires of Gehenna.


Verse 6 Two metaphors

1. First metaphor.

And the tongue is a fire: the fire metaphor is very applicable to the tongue as that which starts small and spreads throughout an entire forest turning it into a furnace of unrighteousness. This is how our life appears to others as they observe the uncontrolled tongue in action.

2. Second metaphor.

The {very} world of iniquity: The construction with kosmos and adikia should read, "the world of unrighteousness." The tongue as an uncontrolled mirror of the soul, is the whole environment (world) that demonstrates what type of person we are.

We learn in Proverbs 23:7 and 27:19, that we are what we think, but we learn here that we demonstrate who we are by what we say.

3. the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body: The word, defile (spiloo), means to stain. The "deed" of the tongue places one huge stain on our entire life and we are seen as that which is expressed by our speech. The tongue, by its uncontrolled unrighteousness, spreads unrighteousness through every aspect of our life and then overflows to poison others in our periphery.
The word, "set," is from kathistāmi (present passive indicative), and means "is placed" but not "is appointed." It is not an intended appointment, but rather an inherent status that the tongue holds within our body. The focus is not on an intended purpose for the tongue, but a functional result from the communication role that the tongue has.

4. and sets on fire the course of {our} life: the "course of our life" is trochos plus genesis.

A. Trochos means a wheel and is sometimes used for the pathway that
the wheel follows, being formed and well-worn from use.

B. Genesis means birth or origin and then the status of existence.

C. The phrase, "the course of our life," is adequate as indicating an established direction or condition of our life.

D. The uncontrolled tongue places our life in a "rut" of unrighteousness as it reflects the sin nature and burns continually with pride and self-centeredness.

5. and is set on fire by hell: This is a figure of speech to communicate the continuous effects of the uncontrolled tongue. Just as the fires of gehenna (the garbage dump), burn continuously, so the uncontrolled tongue is a continuous expression of unrighteousness.

See Topic: Gehenna: lake of fire

This has nothing to do with the character of evil or of Satanic influence.

Gehenna does not "produce" evil or exude evil. Nor is Satan the "king" of Gehenna or of "hell." He does not live, let alone reign, in hell, but fears "the pit of the abyss" where he will be imprisoned for 1000 years.


Verse 7, Illustration of control as demonstrated by man's management of the animal kingdom.

"For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race."


Verse 8, But the sin-expressions of human speech can not be controlled by human endeavors. It requires the application of divine viewpoint through the power resources found in the bible and through the Holy Spirit.

1. But no one can tame the tongue: Every expression of human character is colored by the self-centeredness of the sin nature. In order to control the sinful expressions of the life, one must control the sin nature. This requires character transformation, but such a transformation is only possible through the influence of God's word in the soul. Social pressure; customs and laws, may restrain the overt expression of the sin nature, but can never bring it under control. Thus, the tongue remains the great fire and poison that causes great harm in people's lives.

2. a restless evil: The word restless, is akatastatos, which is translated at James 1:8, as unstable. At verse 16, the noun, akatastasia, is used to indicate that chaos and disruption result when the tongue expresses the jealousy and prideful ambition of the soul. The adjective communicates the idea of chaotic and disruptive. Evil is the word, kakos, which indicates the overt expression or general appearance of evil; or more specifically, that which is harmful. The underlying issue in the word kakos and the corresponding Hebrew word, ra, is the idea of harm; any kind of harm. In our present statement we find that the tongue is a chaotic, disruptive source of harm; it harms self and it harms others.

3. full of deadly poison: The word, deadly, describes the nature of the poison distributed by the tongue. The Greek word is, thanatāphoros, which is an adjective that means, bringing death (phoros = to carry or bear; thanatos = death). It does not produce physical death, but it produces a neutralization of those who are touched by it. Romans 3:13 relates the sinfulness of the tongue to "the poison of asps" and from this we can picture the tongue as a snake that bites and injects its venom into the unprepared and vulnerable victims who are either the direct recipients of the snake or are simply innocent bystanders. You become poisoned by the verbal sins of others when you allow that speech to cause you to sin in the areas of irritation, anger, bitterness, judging, retaliation, etc.

4. Verbal sins are simply an expression of a person's mental attitude.
What they do in effect, is to transfer those mental sins to others as soul "venom."

A. The venom of sin in the soul is transferred through the tongue.

B. When you gossip, malign, criticize, ridicule and complain, you are a snake shooting your mental poison into the hearers. This causes a potential "miano" (pollution, defilement) epidemic that spreads until "many are defiled," (Heb. 12:15).

C. The only way to prevent this venom from affecting others is to prevent it from residing in your own soul to start with.

1. The believer must learn from the bible, all about venomous mental attitudes. Apply Philip. 2:1-8; Rom. 12:16

2. Recognize his own soul pollution and cleanse it through confession of sin and advance in spiritual growth.

3. Deal with mental sins BEFORE they become verbal so the poisonous pollution will not spread.

4. After verbal sin does occur, use confession and take steps that may be necessary to offset the negative effects of your "bite."
Application of James 5:16; Eph. 4:25, 29 and Mat. 5:23-24.

D. When you "get bit" by a verbal sin, use the doctrinal "snake-bite kit" (A.S.P.) to prevent the negative effects.
A.S.P. (assessment, sterilization, prevention)

1. Assessment: Identify the snake that bit you. Recognize the verbal sin and the probable mental sin behind it.

2. Sterilization: Recognize the nature of the mental pollution and remove the venom from your soul by application of the Divine Value System and confession of sin if necessary so you do not pass on the venom to others through gossip, judging or other verbal sins.

3. Prevention: Keep the "snake" from biting you again by telling him that you do not want to participate in that type of conversation.

a. Apply the doctrine of exhortation and mending. Rom. 15:1-2; Gal. 6:1

b. Apply the doctrine of separation if necessary (1 Cor. 5:9-11).


Verse 9, An instrument of praise and worship should not also be used as an instrument of harm.

1. With it we bless (praise) the Lord and Father: The word, eulogeo, means to speak well of. It can express the idea of wishing or pronouncing good upon someone; or of proclaiming good about someone. Both God and man can "bless" men; that is, wish or pronounce good upon another. However, man does not "bless" God. Man PRAISES God; recognizing the good that is already inherent in His being.

A. The Lord and Father should probably be taken as referring to the same individual; God the Father. It could be referring to both Jesus "the Lord" (kurios) and the Father as two distinct personages, but it is not going to affect the understanding of the verse either way.

B. The point is, that at one moment, God can be honored by the tongue, and at the next moment, the same tongue can dishonor God by vilifying those who are created in His image.

C. James is explaining the inconsistency when we allow the sin nature to influence our speech and to compromise our testimonial impact to others.

2. and with it we curse men: the word for curse is kataraomai, which means to speak down to or against someone.


3. who have been made in the likeness of God: This statement is made in reference to mankind in general and not just to Adam and Ishah. The literal translation here is, "who came into existence (became) according to the image of God."

The word made is ginomai which means to become. It occurs as a perfect active participle (who BECAME) and refers to the the created status that each human shares with the first man, Adam.

The Greek word is homoiōsis, which is a noun that occurs only here in the New Testament.

A. At Gen. 1:26, the LXX uses homoiōsis for demuth, which refers to the "functional" or character image of God.

B. However, at 1 Cor. 11:7, eikōn is used for the image of God and at Gen. 1:26, it translates tselem, which refers to the "structural" image of the Godhead.

C. But at other places, the New Testament uses eikōn for the "functional" image of God (Col. 3:10; 2 Cor. 3:18).

D. It appears that there is no distinction in what eikōn references regarding the two aspects of God's image. But since homoiōsis is only used one time, we should probably interpret James as focusing on the fact that men have all been created IN the "functional" image of God, that is with the PURPOSE of bringing glory to Him. However, the only way that any member of the human race can fulfill that "created" purpose, is through regeneration.

The manner in which James makes this statement establishes the fact that he views all men as currently existing in the likeness of God. This, along with 1 Cor. 11:7 and Genesis 9:6, indicates that when Adam and Eve sinned, they did not lose any of the "image of God" in which they had been created. The image remains and is perpetuated to Adam's progeny. The fall of man did not lose the image of God, (neither the structural or the functional image). What the fall did accomplish was to bring spiritual death upon Adam and all his progeny. Furthermore, because of the acquisition of the sin nature, Adam's "image" changed, but his human structure did not LOSE the image of God; it just acquired an addition. Thus, when Adam procreated, he begat "in his own likeness, according to his image" (Gen. 5:3) an offspring that comprised both the created "image of God" as well as the newly acquired "likeness" of a sinful nature.

See Topic: The Image of God

4. James places a high value on mankind, recognizing the created purpose for each and every person. Accordingly, he takes this opportunity in his discussion to remind the Christian that instead of speaking down against any particular individual, he should seek to bring that person into a place of conformity to God's created purpose for him. This first requires regeneration, and then for those who are born again, a consistent experience of fellowship and spiritual growth.


Verse 10

1. from the same mouth come {both} blessing and cursing.

When the tongue is controlled through maintaining fellowship with God (the filling/control of the Holy Spirit), then God is glorified in thought, speech and action. Verbal integrity is expressed through the influence of God's word in the soul and the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). However, when the Spirit becomes quenched through personal sin, the sin nature takes control of the soul and begins to influence your entire life toward pride and self-centeredness. James is focusing on the inconsistency that is evidenced in the life of the believer when he is careless in maintaining fellowship. James calls upon us to maintain that fellowship with God through pursuit and application of God's wisdom.

2. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way: The believer is left here on earth to glorify God; to represent the standards of the light system in the antagonistic environment of the devil's world, which is the kingdom of darkness. We cannot fulfill this purpose if we allow the sin nature to dictate our thoughts, speech and actions. We need to shine forth a constant light of divine viewpoint in the world around us. When we get out of fellowship and allow our human viewpoint to control our speech, we compromise our testimony before others and there is no demonstrable Christianity upon which they can focus. Paul gives an excellent summary of Christian speech at Col. 4:5-6, "Walk with wisdom toward those outside (the Christian community), redeeming (using efficiently) the time. Let your speech always be in the sphere of grace, seasoned with salt, in order to know how it is proper (necessary) to answer each person."


James 3:11-12 Four illustrations of production consistency

James will apply natural logic to emphasize the need for testimonial consistency in our Christian life.


Verse 11, "Does a fountain send out from the same opening {both} fresh and bitter {water}?" Of course not! Thus, why should we not be concerned when the fountain of our Christian testimony does just that?

Verse 12, "Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Neither {can} salt water produce fresh."

Of course not! Why then should we allow our Christian testimony to produce two different, indeed opposite, fruits?

Verse 13

Demonstrable Christianity is fulfilled through divine wisdom controlling the soul. The believer who is characterized by "wise and understanding," is the one who will have a consistent testimony and spiritual impact on those around him.

1. Who among you is wise and understanding?

A. Wise: the adjective, sophos, indicates either the divine viewpoint that one possesses in his soul, or the capacity to apply divine viewpoint in life. In this case, wise, emphasizes the content in the soul. It is a continuation of James 1:5, where the believer is exhorted to ask for wisdom, which as we saw, is the expression of hunger and teachability concerning the knowledge of God. The result of teachability and the diligence of receiving "the implanted word (verse 1:21) is the possession of wisdom viewpoint in the soul.

B. understanding: This word (epistāmōn) on the other hand, emphasizes the application of that wisdom content to the realities of life.
Understanding is the capacity to relate all the events and contingencies of reality to the character and plan of God, and accordingly, be controlled, relaxed and productive no matter what happens in life.

2. Let him show: the word, deiknumi, as an aorist active imperative, refers to demonstrable Christianity, which is characterized by the humble application and proclamation of divine wisdom.

3. by his good behavior: This term translates kalos anastrophā.
It refers to one's overt life, that is, what is seen through speech and action in a believer's everyday activity. The adjective, good (kalos), refers to that quality of goodness that reflects God's standards of morality; that is, the standards for the proper interaction between members of the human race.

4. his deeds: the word, ergon, refers to individual works, which reflect beneficent love and divine righteousness. The purpose for which the believer remains here on earth is to live out God's viewpoint in good works. Good works do not save us, but they are the expression of love and righteousness. Good works are the key to demonstrable Christianity.

A. Eph.2:8-10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

B. Titus 2:7, in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, {with} purity in doctrine, dignified.

C. Titus 2:14, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

D. Titus 3:8, This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

E. James 1:27, This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of {our} God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, {and} to keep oneself unstained by the world.

5. in the gentleness: The word, prautās, indicates the expression of humility through one's overt way of life. It is usually translated as gentleness, because overt humility is always relaxed and controlled; beneficent and reasonable in every situation in life. This humble gentleness is confident but not arrogant; it is dogmatic but not confrontational; It is authoritative but not abusive; it is insistent but not violent.

6. of wisdom. The word, sophia, indicates that true humility (demonstrable Christianity) is only maintained based on the content and application of God's truth. True humility is defined by divine viewpoint standards and by the expression of beneficent love that consistently seeks what is "divinely" best for everyone else. This includes both moral standards (for the interaction among all peoples within your environment), and spiritual standards (salvation, fellowship and Christian growth standards).

7. Wisdom's humility includes verbal integrity.


Verse 14

1. But if you have bitter jealousy:

A. The Greek particle, de, is used here as a conjunction of contrast to introduce the opposite of true Christian humility.
Two characteristics are specifically mentioned, but 3 are in view; bitterness, jealousy and strifeful ambition.

B. If you have: this is ei plus echo in the present active indicative, which makes a 1st class conditional clause to indicate the very real presence of these kinds of motivations in the heart of Christians.
It is possible that James has some specific people or groups in view, but since this is a "general" letter addressed to the "universal" Christian community, it is more likely that he is dealing in general with many of the common sin-problems that can neutralize believers.

C. Jealousy is zālos, and indicates the attitude of possessiveness, which is the intense desire to keep or guard something or someone for yourself. It can also be a self-centered and selfish attitude/action that is protective of one's own life and lifestyle. This would then lead to any of many protective mechanisms designed to keep self secure and relatively content.

The bitterness (pikros) associated with this jealousy is an attitude that blames others for any discomfort or threats to self's environment. Related to this is the attitude/action of self-promotion which is represented by the next characteristic.

2. and selfish ambition: This is one word in the Greek, eritheia, which combines both the idea of strife and selfish ambition. Thus, the idea of self-promotion to the point of argumentation and strife with others.
This refers to the pursuit of spiritual blessing and promotion on human viewpoint terms instead of on God's terms.

3. in your heart: This, of course, is where these attitudes reside and from where they burst forth with an aggressive intensity that elevates self above the character and plan of God and causes trouble within the person's Christian society.

4. If, as is the case with many Christians, this is true with you, then you need to recognize it and not let it advance further. Thus, the command is given to STOP the arrogant boasting and reject the life style that denies (lies against) the truth of God.

5. do not be arrogant: The word katakauchaomai means to be verbally arrogant. As a present middle imperative + the negative, mā, it communicates the force of an exhortation to cease what one is presently doing. The point is, that when (if) the bitterness, jealousy and strifeful ambition are motivating the life, then that believer will be verbalizing it (kauchaomai) and living in a sphere of knowledge that seeks to elevate itself above God's standards. This further involves making false claims (lying) against the truth of God, which not only attacks God's character and plan, but also potentially deceives others.

6. and lie against the truth: The verb is pseudomai as a present middle imperative and is under the jurisdiction of the same negative.
Lit: Do not be boasting and lying against the truth.


Verse 15

1. This wisdom: The counterfeit wisdom that the spiritual rebel follows as he seeks spiritual blessing and promotion on his own terms.

2. is not that which comes down from above: This construction simply recognizes the divine (heavenly) source of God's wisdom and the "creature" source of the false wisdom. This wisdom is not representative of God's character and plan, but instead is characterized by 3 factors of spiritual limitation. This is referring to human philosophical wisdom rather than scientific knowledge.

A. earthly: epigeios, of or pertaining to the earth. It thus describes this wisdom as that which revolves around man's physical environment.
It also speaks of a "limitation" that cannot fulfill heavenly goals for the human race, although it can fulfill "earthly," materialistic goals.

B. natural: psukikos, of or pertaining to the soul. It thus describes this wisdom as that which revolves around man's human abilities; not only that which comes from within man, but also what is activated by human zeal and passion. It speaks of a "limitation" that excludes resources from the Holy Spirit.

C. demonic: daimoniōdās, of or pertaining to demons. It thus describes this wisdom as being directly promoted by demons or simply reflecting the demon philosophy of life which accuses God of being unjust and unloving. Paul writes of "the doctrines of demons," (1 Tim. 4:1).


Verse 16

1. For where there exists: What is present in the life of a believer and evidenced overtly in that person's immediate Christian community.

2. jealousy: zālos, again, is the self-centered and selfish attitude/action that is protective of one's own life and lifestyle.

3. and selfish ambition: eritheia, again is self-promotion to the point of argumentation and strife with others.

4. there is disorder: akatastasia indicates that this person's attitude and actions bring disruption, unruliness and chaos wherever he goes. After all, he has no beneficent love that places the genuine needs of others above his own and has no concern about how his own life style affects others.

5. and every evil thing:

A. every is pas and indicates that every category of worthlessness is manifested in this person's life.

B. The word for evil is phaulos and means bad in the sense of useless or worthless. It is not necessarily, directly harmful; that is, it does not mean evil as such but indicates that whatever this person does, it is useless in the promotion of Christian values and unity. It becomes "evil" only to the extent that it does HARM to others in any way, shape or form.

C. The word for thing, is pragma and refers to everything in this person's life; every word or action; every event or undertaking; what is within himself and his private environment as well as what he brings to those around him.


Verse 17

The wisdom from above is that which is provided by God for His people as explained at Proverbs 2:1-11.

For us today, it is contained in the 66 books of the bible and is acquired through diligent study and dependence on the filling/control of God the Holy Spirit.

See Topic: Spiritual growth

James says that this wisdom is FIRST (prōtos) pure. I suggest that James is not giving a "description" of wisdom, but rather is teaching what wisdom PRODUCES in us; the results of acquiring wisdom and letting it control our soul. The Greek word, hagnos, focuses on the quality of knowledge content in the soul; viewpoint and policy. It emphasizes the presence of the standards of the divine value system in the soul. The degree of soul conformity to those standards without the distortion of human viewpoint, is the degree to which the soul is pure.

This is why James gives "pure" the priority in the listing; because apart from the quality of divine viewpoint standards in the soul, there can be no manifestation of the six character virtues that are mentioned next.

Purity also emphasizes the consistency of application of those standards to one's life. The degree of sinless consistency is the degree of purity that characterizes one's life.

Accordingly, in the case of the verb (hagnidzo), we see at James 4:8, "purify your hearts," and at 1 Pet. 1:22, "since you have purified your souls by obedience to the truth."

John writes (1 John 3:1-3) that when we have our confidence in the salvation reality of our relationship with God, that we will endeavor to establish and maintain a "pure" condition, just as Christ is pure.

Accordingly, this is directly related to the growth process; learning and utilizing the word of God as we have previously studied in depth.

The adjective occurs 8 times, and the verb occurs 7 times (of which only 3 are relevant to our usage here; Jas 4:8; 1Pet. 1:22; 1Jn. 3:3). The noun, hagnotās, occurs 1 time (2Cor. 6:6); and the adverb, hagnōs, 1 time (Phil. 1:16).

This word covers both moral and spiritual purity as well as ceremonial purity in some cases. To understand the "purity" characteristic of wisdom, it is necessary to observe the uses of this word in other contexts.

Hagnos indicates a purity from human viewpoint and rationale concerning all the issues of life. In other words, PURITY refers to the quality of doctrinal content in the soul and the consistent application of that content in one's life.

At 2 Cor. 11:2, Paul writes of his desire (the goal of the communicator) to bring the Corinthian believers to the place of purity (Divine viewpoint content and the sinless consistency that should result from application). Using the image of a chaste (pure) virgin, Paul teaches that through the growth process, the believer purifies his soul and becomes more consistent in sinlessness with the intent that when Jesus returns, the believer will be in fellowship (abiding in Him) as John discusses at 1 John 2:28, "And now little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink back in shame as His presence."

At 1 Peter 3:2, a wife's sinless consistency is in view with the phrase, "PURE manner of life in the sphere of reverence," with an obvious focus on the overt life. However, such consistency in the overt life is not possible without divine viewpoint in the soul. Thus, in verse 4, Peter mentions "the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible quality of a gentle and relaxed spirit."

The idea of both doctrinal purity and sinless consistency is expressed by Paul when he exhorts Timothy, "keep yourself pure." The NASB adds "from sin," but that does not occur in the original text. However, the emphasis on doctrinal purity (divine viewpoint content) extends logically to the area of sinless consistency through application of that content.

At Titus 2:5, the young women are exhorted to be pure in a list of other virtues. The emphasis seems to be on the overt manifestation of the inner purity within the soul. Thus, again, the idea of sinless consistency is in view. The word that precedes hagnos in this context is sophron (sensible), which speaks of the thoughtfulness and control that comes from a soul that is focused on the divine value system.

Finally, at Philippians 4:8, where we have the list of the 6 virtues of the Divine Value System, we find "pure" listed with "righteous," which challenges us to determine a significant difference between the two.

Righteousness refers to God's standards of what is right and proper for the function and interaction of volitional creatures. It refers to the way God wants things to be done and the way He wants life to be conducted. Purity is the quality of conformity to those standards in the soul and the consistency of practicing those standards in one's life.

God's wisdom is pure and purifies the soul into conformity to the divine viewpoint of life. This wisdom not only teaches about what is right and proper for Christian living, but molds both the character and the will of the believer's soul toward a consistent application of that viewpoint in everything he does. This is what Paul talks about at Philippians 2:12-16.

Once wisdom begins its process of purifying the soul, there are six functional character virtues that begin to be manifested in the life of the believer, which are introduced by the temporal particle, epeita (then).

1. The first functional virtue is peaceable: This indicates the overall disposition and purpose of wisdom; it produces peace within the believer and seeks peace with others. The standards of divine wisdom teach a perspective of humility that is non confrontational with others. It recognizes that, the burden of being at peace with all men (Rom. 12:18), is on the believer.

The adjective, eirānikos, refers to that which produces peace.
The goal of divine wisdom is to promote peace within the human race.
Peace is the absence of chaos, enmity and conflict, and the Bible develops seven different types of peace.

A. Peace with God: salvation peace or reconciliation.
This is the peace of relationship with God when a person trusts in
Christ as Savior. This is called reconciliation and consists in the removal of enmity between God and the person who trusts in Christ, as a result of forgiveness of sins and the imputation of God's righteousness. Rom 5:1-10; Eph 2:17-19; and Luke 1:76-79

See Topic: Reconciliation

B. Peace of God: inner relaxation in all circumstances through confidence in the character and plan of God. Phil. 4:6-7; 2 Thes. 3:16
It is the absence of conflict and disruption (stress, worry, doubt) within the soul of the believer.

C. Unity peace: doctrinal rapport and agreement between believers based on the unity doctrines of Eph. 4:3-6.

D. Mental attitude peace: absence of all enmity toward others. No mental attitude sins. Romans 12:17-21

E. Circumstantial peace: circumstances going right in your life.
Principle reflected at Dan. 4:1; 6:25 and 1 Sam. 29:6-7

F. Social peace: peace within a social structure based on maximum promotion of morality standards. Ps. 34:14; Acts 24:2

G. National peace: absence of enmity between nations which in turn promotes growth and prosperity. 2 Chron. 20:29-30; 1 Kings 4:21-25

H. (8) Eternal peace: not specifically mentioned In the Bible but established by way of contrast with Rev. 14:11 and suggested at Rev. 21:3-4.

However, in our immediate context, the focus seems to be on Mental Attitude Peace and Unity Peace; both of which are directly related to having the "peace of God" reigning in the heart.

The issue at Verse 18, "those who make peace," is not evangelistic, but the function of living out from the inside, the absence of enmity and conflict toward others.

See Topic: The PEACE OF GOD

2. The second functional virtue is gentle: epieikās, is an adjective, that occurs only 4 times in the New Testament (1Tim. 3:3; Titus 3:2; 1Pet. 2:18; James 3:17). The corresponding noun, epieikeia, occurs only 2 times (Acts 24:4; 2Cor. 10:1).

A. 1 Tim. 3:3, gives some character qualities of an elder: Three related words in the context help focus in on the meaning of gentle.

1. pugnacious - not (mā) plāktās - easily brought to blows (plāgā, blow, stroke) One who uses his fists to solve his problems.


2. gentle - epieikās means a "yielding" that lets the other person have his apparent "victory." Notice that one should not use physical violence to "win" or use verbal violence to "win," but to be yielding. In that sense, the translation, gentleness, works, but it too needs to be explained. Gentleness is objective patience that seeks a divine viewpoint solution without recourse to verbal or physical oppression.

3. uncontentious: The word is amachos, which means not quarrelsome, or argumentative. Not characterized by emotional, verbal, conflagratory exchanges. (machā, in the plural: quarrels, strifes, disputes)

B. Titus 3:2, all believes should - -

1. Not malign (blasphemeo): not use VERBAL oppression.

2. be uncontentious (amachos): This embraces both verbal and physical conflagrations. Not physically or verbally quarrelsome, (argumentative). Not characterized by emotional, verbal, or physically conflagratory exchanges.
(machā, in the plural: quarrels, strifes, disputes).

3. epieikās: objective, reasonable, un-oppressive.
The word blasphemeo and amachos say what NOT to be and epieikās says what TO be - and all fulfill the third characteristic of "priority thinking" toward others. That "priority thinking" is taught by the next phrase, "showing every consideration (praotās) for all men." This means to demonstrate overtly the inner attitude of humility (tapeinos).
In other words, instead of entering into verbal or physical conflagrations, "yield" to the other person, giving him the priority in desiring what is spiritually best for him, as the divine solution to the situation is sought.

Paul amplifies this at Philippians 2:3-4

C. 1 Peter 2:18, "servants be submissive to your masters with all respect (phobos), not only to those who are good (agathos) and gentle (epieikās), but also to those who are unreasonable."

1. Unreasonable is the word, skolios, and indicates a distortion of that which is proper or reasonable in human interactions.

2. It is given as a contrast to our word, epieikās, which helps us arrive at a meaning for it that agrees with what we have already seen. Ie, action which treats others with respect & reasonableness.

3. The master can be a man who is reasonable and respectful of others, not abusing them, not misusing them and not being violent toward them. One who seeks for a SOLUTION to problems and not just a victory.

D. epieikeia: This is a noun that occurs two times in the New T.

1.Acts 24:4, is addressed to Felix, "grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing." This appears to be an expression of judicial sensitivity and patience that does not employ either verbal or physical violence to reach a verdict.

It is not the emotional patience, which is represented by makrothumia, but a "reasonable" patience, that considers all the facts and then acts "properly" to others (according to social and moral standards), wanting to find a proper solution to the judicial issue rather than just a victory.

2. 2 Cor. 10:1, Paul urges "by the humility (praotās) and gentleness of Christ."

a. praotās refers to the overt expression of humility, which of course requires the presence of mental attitude humility.

b. gentleness is the mechanics of humility demonstrated by objectivity, optimism, un-oppressive accessibility and patience.
It is the attitude and action that seeks a proper solution to a difficulty without recourse to verbal or physical violence in order to "win" a victory.

3. The third functional virtue, as it is translated in the NASB, is reasonable. The Greek word is, eupeithās, and only occurs here in the New Testament. It has the idea of being well (eu) persuaded (peitho); that is, easily persuaded to do what is right. This is a logical follow-up from the reasonable gentleness of epieikās. This describes the attitude that accepts instruction and counsel. It can be rendered as compliant. That is, when truth comes to bear on the soul of wisdom, that wisdom will trigger teachability and then trigger a humble and honest acceptance of the truth that is revealed. If the new information requires change, then previously learned truth will trigger the wisdom of acceptance and compliance. Thus, the translation, compliant.

4. The fourth virtue is both the attitude and action of mercy. The word mestos (full of) governs both mercy and good fruits. Mercy is grace orientation directed toward others. It is an attitude that recognizes and understands the genuine needs of others and desires to help. Fruits, refers to the actions that are taken in order to fulfill the attitude of mercy. It was summed up previously by James at verse 1:27. In James, good fruits is synonymous with works. The word good, is agathos, and indicates good of intrinsic value; what is good by virtue of an absolute standard and not what is emotionally good (feelings) or what is rationalized as good (human logic). That absolute standard is God's viewpoint. Mercy and good works (fruits) operate within the parameters of God's viewpoint and not on the relative standards of human perceptions.

5. The fifth virtue is constancy, which refers to authority and dogmatism in representing the viewpoint of God in a spiritually antagonistic environment. The triple compound Greek word, adiakritos, is broken down as follows:

A. kritos refers to judgment and evaluation
B. Dia is the preposition, through.
C. Together, the word has either a negative or positive connotation.

In a positive sense, the idea is to evaluate something thoroughly so as to have the precise understanding.
In a negative sense, it means to go beyond what is logical in one's evaluation; to over think; use human viewpoint and emotions instead of the objective absolutes of God's viewpoint. Thus, to be subjective and compromising. The verb, diakrino is used this way at

James 1:6, "doubting," where it expresses the idea of worry, doubt and distrust of God's character and plan.

D. The "a" in front is a negative particle that reverses the idea in the word. Thus, it is a reversal of the negative meaning and results in a constant, authoritative dogmatism on the issues of divine viewpoint.

6. The sixth virtue is genuineness. This is an un-hypocritical balance between one's motives and actions. The adjective, anupokritos, means to be un-hypocritical. The "un" is a negative that reverses the meaning of hupokritos. This word means to discern, evaluate, interpret (krino) out from under a mask (hupo). It was a theatrical term that portrayed the function of the actor who "interpreted" the character by wearing a mask. Obviously, the mask was not the real person. Accordingly, this word came to refer to one who "puts on a mask (front)" and acts differently than he really is; our English understanding of hypocrisy. With the negative, "un," on the front, this idea of hypocrisy is reversed and we have a person who lives his life overtly consistent with his inner character and adopted belief system.


Verse 18

1. And the seed (NASB): The Greek is karpos, which means FRUIT. However, the "seed" that then produces offspring comes from the FRUIT. With this in mind, one can rightly say that it is indeed the FRUIT of the plant that is sown in order to produce more plants. But of course, it is the SEED that is sown rather than the fully grown fruit. The NASB recognizes this and translates it as SEED.

A seed is not only what comes from the parent plant, but is also what produces an imitation of the parent plant. In this case, the seed comes from a righteous life, and in turn, has potential to produce righteousness in others. The seed is the dissemination of divine viewpoint through word and action. It is the reflection of one's character which is demonstrated though his consistent application of God's wisdom. The seed is demonstrable Christianity which has the potential to make an impact on those who hear and see.

2. Of (which IS, or which produces) righteousness: The word, righteousness describes both the demonstrable character of the parent plant (the functional believer) and the potential to produce change in others.

As the believer applies God's wisdom in his life, he produces a reflection of divine righteousness; a demonstration of what is right and proper for the modus operendi of God's creatures. This "sowing" of seed is a representation of God's truth to others and has the potential to produce "life" for the unbeliever (eternal life) and for the believer (the abundant life).

3. is sown in peace: the seed is planted so that it can produce divine righteousness in those who will hear and heed God's wisdom.
The prepositional phrase, "in peace" refers to the attitude, motivation and demeanor of the seed sower. The manifestation of divine wisdom which is "peaceable."

4. by those who make peace: This is a present active participle of poieo, which means to do or make. The word, peace, is eirānā, and refers to the absence of enmity, conflict and disruption. The "peace-maker" is the person who consistently lives by the standards and virtues of divine wisdom as outlined at verse 16. He is one who consistently expresses the absence of enmity and conflict with others.

A. According to Mat. 5:9, the "peacemakers" will be called the sons of God. This refers to the imitation principle. As we live according to the standards and virtues of divine wisdom, we "demonstrate" ourselves to be sons of God; imitators of the Father and true representatives of His character and plan (Eph. 5:1).

B. There are two issues involved with "being" or "becoming" children of God. (1) being born into the family of God as a child and son through regeneration at the very moment of time that a person trusts in Christ as savior. (2) the demonstration that one is a child of God by acting like the Father. That is, reflecting in his life the standards and virtues of divine wisdom.

C. Eph. 5:1, "become imitators of God AS beloved children." Here the focus is on beneficent love as that which truly reflects God's standards and virtues.
See Topic: LOVE: beneficent Love

D. Phil. 2:14-16

"Do all things without grumbling (emotional complaining) or disputing (intellectual complaining); that you may become (prove yourselves to be) blameless (sinlessly consistent) and pure (uncompromised), children of God above reproach (unchargeable) in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, by holding forth the word of life."





İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.


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