A man of few words waxes poetic.

Jam 3:1-12; Jam 1:6-11, 13-20, 23-27; Jam 2:1-4, 12-21; Jam 3:1-14, 18; Jam 4:1-3, 11-17; Jam 5:7-8.

PRCHR-86-170129 - length: 54:58 - taught on Jan, 29 2017

Class Outline:

John Farley
January 29, 2017

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Practical Christianity:

A man of few words waxes poetic

JAM 3:1-12

The tongue is a major big deal in the letter of James.

The biggest trouble with most of the people James is writing to comes down to what they SAY.

When something is a major big deal for James, he goes into his poet mode.

This whole James the poet thing is kind of funny when you think about it.




So coming from a straight shooter like James, the poetic passages pack a potent punch.

The tongue is a major big deal in the letter of James.

And one of the ways we know this is the amount of poetic language that James uses to describe the tongue.

Poetry (imagery, figurative language) in James

JAM 1:6-8
JAM 1:9-11
JAM 1:15
JAM 1:23-24

JAM 3:1-12
JAM 4:14

While the majority of poetic language in James describes negative things about human beings, …

… he does also use poetic language occasionally to describe good things.

JAM 1:17
JAM 3:18
JAM 5:7-8

Now in our passage JAM 3:1-12, James uses nine different images to describe the tongue:

horse’s mouth,
ship’s rudder,

contrasted with every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea as untamable,

deadly poison,
fountain with fresh and bitter water,
fig tree producing olives, vine producing figs,

salt water producing fresh.

Features of poetic language in James

It’s primarily used to describe something negative about people:

Double-minded man.
Rich man fading away.
Lust conceiving, giving birth to sin , and bringing forth death.

Hearer of the word and not a doer.
The tongue as a restless evil.
Those who boast.

Most (but not all) of the images come from nature.

With the exception of JAM 3:1-12, James uses one or at most two images to paint a picture of his subject.

James uses poetic language to describe something so we can’t forget it.