9th August 2017

James: Week 7 (Wednesday, August 9 2017)

(from www.insightforliving.org.uk)

 

James 3: 1-12

 

LET’S BEGIN HERE

Words, words, words, words. They have the power to bless and the power to destroy. In this very convicting section of James’ letter to Christians, he delivered a penetrating reminder of the power of the tongue — both for good and for evil. Anyone desiring to live out his or her faith with a

hands-on Christianity must take heed to this pointed lesson on the importance of what we say.

 

Getting Started: What’s That You Said?

Paying particular attention to James 3:1 – 12, make some initial observations about what you see — for instance, are there any repeated

words? Did James use any connecting words that offer clues into what he was emphasizing? Take some time to make notes on a separate sheet of paper about what you discover.

 

Your Turn in the Scriptures

Take a few moments to read through the material on James 3:1 – 12 in your commentary or in that section of your study Bible. Also, look up this passage in either a Bible dictionary or a Bible background commentary. To get the juices flowing, write down as many Bible passages that you can think of which deal with speech or the proper use of words. You may want to start with the Old Testament book of Proverbs. In fact, if you have a Bible concordance, look up the word

speech or tongue and see how many entries you can find in both the

Old Testament and the New Testament. Look up several examples and makes some notes below about what you discover.

Notes about speech and the tongue from the Scriptures:

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Summarize in one sentence the overall biblical teaching on the power of words, based on your initial search of the Scriptures.

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Now take a few minutes to respond to the following questions using the study resources you have available. In James 3:1 – 2, we read find a strong warning for anyone desiring to be a teacher in the church.

What is the command James issued to these believers (verse 1)?

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What is the explanation James offered for the command (verse 2)?

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Did James say that it is wrong to desire to become a teacher in the church?

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Let’s take a few minutes to examine a correlating passage: 1 Timothy 1:1 – 7. It might be helpful to read 1 Timothy 1 in its entirety, but pay close attention to verses 1 – 7 and Paul’s specific instructions to Timothy in regard to his teaching ministry at Ephesus. How does this passage relate to what James was concerned about in James 3?

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How does this passage differ from James 3?

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Describe briefly how you might use this passage in a Bible study or small group to shed light on James’ serious warning about becoming a teacher in James 3:1 – 2.

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In the searching the Scriptures process, after you’ve done a good amount of study of a passage, you are ready for the process referred to as

exposition

. If you recall from the Searching the Scriptures

study series, exposition is drawing principles and application from the biblical text, verse by verse, and presenting those principles in ways that will be helpful to those with whom you are communicating.

Take some time to read carefully through James 3:3 – 12. James organized his instruction in three sections. Each section concerning the tongue could become a Bible study, sermon outline, or main points in a brief devotional prepared for a group. Take a close look at the following expositional outline. Fill in some observations next to each set of verses about what seems significant to you.

The Tongue . . .

Small but Powerful

( James 3:3 – 5)

• Illustration: a horse with bit and bridle . . . (verse 3)

• Illustration: a ship with a small rudder . . . (verse 4)

• Illustration: a fire with a small spark . . . (verse 5)

What would you say is the overarching principle regarding the tongue, based on these three illustrations?

Principle: _____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Tongue . . .

Necessary but Dangerous

( James 3:6 – 8)

• Fire . . . a danger that has its roots in Satan’s realm (verse 6)

• Beasts . . . and their relationship to humans (verse 7)

• Poison . . . the grim perspective of an uncontrolled tongue (verse 8)

What would you say is the overarching principle regarding the tongue, based on these three illustrations?

Principle: _____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Tongue . . .

Helpful but Inconsistent

( James 3:9 – 12) James explained that the human tongue, in offering both

blessings and curses, is wholly inconsistent with nature.

• An illustration from humanity:

With our words, we can either

bless others or harm them with a curse.

(verses 9 – 10)

• An illustration from nature:

Both bitter water and sweet water

cannot flow from the same fountain.

(verses 11 – 12)

How did James use an example from nature to make his point about the inconsistency of our words?

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Imagine you’re teaching this passage to a small group of college students preparing to leave on a week-long mission trip to Haiti. Write down three specific applications they can apply as they interact with each other

during the trip, based on the preceding exposition.

1.

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2.

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3.

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A FINAL PRAYER

Father, only You truly know the intentions and motivations of my heart. I’m sorry for the words that I have spoken recently that have been dishonoring to You and harmful to others. Place a guard over my mouth, Father, so that by Your Holy Spirit, only gracious words that build others up flow from my mouth. In the

name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I pray, amen.


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