The Power of the Tongue
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, 1 because you know that we will be judged more strictly. 2 2 For we all stumble 3 in many ways. If someone does not stumble 4 in what he says, 5 he is a perfect individual, 6 able to control the entire body as well. 3 And if we put bits into the mouths of horses to get them to obey us, then we guide their entire bodies. 7 4 Look at ships too: Though they are so large and driven by harsh winds, they are steered by a tiny rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination directs. 5 So too the tongue is a small part of the body, 8 yet it has great pretensions. 9 Think 10 how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. 6 And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents 11 the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It 12 pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence – and is set on fire by hell. 13
7 For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature 14 is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. 15 8 But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless 16 evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord 17 and Father, and with it we curse people 18 made in God’s image. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters. 19 11 A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? 12 Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, 20 or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings. 21 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. 15 Such 22 wisdom does not come 23 from above but is earthly, natural, 24 demonic. 16 For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, 25 full of mercy and good fruit, 26 impartial, and not hypocritical. 27 18 And the fruit that consists of righteousness 28 is planted 29 in peace among 30 those who make peace.
Passions and Pride
4 Where do the conflicts and where 1 do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, 2 from your passions that battle inside you? 3 2 You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; 3 you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.
4 Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? 4 So whoever decides to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy. 5 Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says, 5 “The spirit that God 6 caused 7 to live within us has an envious yearning”? 8 6 But he gives greater grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.” 9 7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded. 10 9 Grieve, mourn, 11 and weep. Turn your laughter 12 into mourning and your joy into despair. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.
11 Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. 13 He who speaks against a fellow believer 14 or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge. 15 12 But there is only one who is lawgiver and judge – the one who is able to save and destroy. On the other hand, who are you to judge your neighbor? 16
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into this or that town 17 and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” 14 You 18 do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? 19 For you are a puff of smoke 20 that appears for a short time and then vanishes. 15 You ought to say instead, 21 “If the Lord is willing, then we will live and do this or that.” 16 But as it is, 22 you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows what is good to do 23 and does not do it is guilty of sin. 24
Warning to the Rich
5 Come now, you rich! Weep and cry aloud 1 over the miseries that are coming on you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your clothing has become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted and their rust will be a witness against you. It will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have hoarded treasure! 2 4 Look, the pay you have held back from the workers who mowed your fields cries out against you, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived indulgently and luxuriously on the earth. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 3 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person, although he does not resist you. 4
Patience in Suffering
7 So be patient, brothers and sisters, 5 until the Lord’s return. 6 Think of how the farmer waits 7 for the precious fruit of the ground and is patient 8 for it until it receives the early and late rains. 8 You also be patient and strengthen your hearts, for the Lord’s return is near. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, 9 so that you may not be judged. See, the judge stands before the gates! 10 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, 11 take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name. 11 Think of how we regard 12 as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and you have seen the Lord’s purpose, that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 13 12 And above all, my brothers and sisters, 14 do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath. But let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no, so that you may not fall into judgment.
Prayer for the Sick
13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you ill? He should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint 15 him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up – and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 16 So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness. 17 17 Elijah was a human being 18 like us, and he prayed earnestly 19 that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months! 18 Then 20 he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land sprouted with a harvest.
19 My brothers and sisters, 21 if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path 22 will save that person’s 23 soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.