Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Tongue

Today's [three-year series] epistle is from James 3:
We all stumble in many things.
If anyone does not stumble in word,
he is a perfect man,
able also to bridle the whole body.

Then James goes on to talk about how animals can be tamed, but the tongue cannot. And how it is wrong for a mouth to spew forth cursing when it has been used to bless God. And how the evil tongue can defile the whole body.

Usually this passage is used to tell us how important it is to control our speech, to watch our language and choice of words, to not fly off the handle and say words that are unable to be taken back.

But today I'm wondering if maybe it has more to do with doctrine than it does profanity or angry outbursts.

Is the person who doesn't "stumble in word" the person who controls what he says or the person who confesses true doctrine?


  1. I believe it is the pastor who preaches faithfully the Word of Christ (which would be a matter of sound doctrine, yes; faithful teaching). We all stumble in our behavior, but it is possible for the preacher and teacher to speak what is true and sure and certain and correct, by confessing what God has spoken to us by His Son. In doing so, the entire body of the Church is "bridled" like a horse and "guided" like a great ship by its rudder. In contrast, false preaching and false doctrine (the most egregious sins against the Second Commandment), drive the congregation in the wrong direction.

    By extension, the same thing pertains to the catechesis of the home and family. Where the Word of Christ is faithfully confessed, everything is guided and governed by that Word, which is Spirit and Truth. But where a false word is spoken (not simply incorrect information, but a confusion of law and gospel and a flase confession of Christ), there the entire household is led astray into destruction.

  2. At church last night, listening to Sunday's epistle again, I sure did appreciate your comment here.