James 1:26
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

New Living Translation
If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

English Standard Version
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

New American Standard Bible
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.

King James Bible
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself.

International Standard Version
If anyone thinks that he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, but instead deceives himself, his religion is worthless.

NET Bible
If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And if a man thinks that he serves God, and does not hold his tongue, but deceives his heart, this person's service is worthless.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If a person thinks that he is religious but can't control his tongue, he is fooling himself. That person's religion is worthless.

Jubilee Bible 2000
If anyone among you thinks to be religious and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, his religion is vain.

King James 2000 Bible
If any man among you seems to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

American King James Version
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

American Standard Version
If any man thinketh himself to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his heart, this man's religion is vain.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

Darby Bible Translation
If any one think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his heart, this man's religion is vain.

English Revised Version
If any man thinketh himself to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his heart, this man's religion is vain.

Webster's Bible Translation
If any man among you seemeth to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

Weymouth New Testament
If a man thinks that he is scrupulously religious, although he is not curbing his tongue but is deceiving himself, his religious service is worthless.

World English Bible
If anyone among you thinks himself to be religious while he doesn't bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man's religion is worthless.

Young's Literal Translation
If any one doth think to be religious among you, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his heart, of this one vain is the religion;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

1:26,27 When men take more pains to seem religious than really to be so, it is a sign their religion is in vain. The not bridling the tongue, readiness to speak of the faults of others, or to lessen their wisdom and piety, are signs of a vain religion. The man who has a slandering tongue, cannot have a truly humble, gracious heart. False religious may be known by their impurity and uncharitableness. True religion teaches us to do every thing as in the presence of God. An unspotted life must go with unfeigned love and charity. Our true religion is equal to the measure in which these things have place in our hearts and conduct. And let us remember, that nothing avails in Christ Jesus, but faith that worketh by love, purifies the heart, subdues carnal lusts, and obeys God's commands.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 26. - Seem (δοκεῖ); seems to himself rather than to others; translate, with R.V., thinketh himself to be. Vulgate, Si quis Putat se esse. Religious (θρῆσκος). It is difficult to find an English word which exactly answers to the Greek. The noun θρησκεία refers properly to the external rites of religion, and so gets to signify an over-scrupulous devotion to external forms (Lightfoot on Colossians 2:18); almost "ritualism." It is the ceremonial service of religion, the external forms, a body of which εὐσεβεία is the informing soul. Thus the θρῆσκος (the word apparently only occurs here in the whole range of Greek literature) is the diligent performer of Divine offices, of the outward service of God, but not necessarily anything more. This depreciatory sense of θρησκεία ισ well seen in a passage of Philo ('Quod Det. Pot. 'Jus.,' 7), where, after speaking of some who would fain be counted among the εὐλαβεῖς on the score of diverse washings or costly offerings to the temple, he proceeds: Πεπλάνηται γὰρ καὶ οϋτος τῆς πρὸς εὐσεβείαν ὁδοῦ θρησκείαν ἀντὶ ὁσιότητος ἡγούμενος (see Trench on 'Synonyms,' from whom the reference is here taken). "How delicate and fine, then, St. James's choice of θρῆσκος and θρησκεία! 'If any man,' he would say, 'seem to himself to be θρῆσκος, a diligent observer of the offices of religion, if any man would render a pure and undefiled θρησκεία to God, let him know that this consists, not in outward lustrations or ceremonial observances; nay, that there is a better θρησκεία than thousands of rams and rivers of oil, namely, to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God (Micah 6:7, 8); or, according to his own words, ' to visit the widows and orphans in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world'" (Trench on 'Synonyms,' p. 170: the whole passage will well repay study. Reference should also be made to Coleridge, 'Aids to Reflection,' p. 15). Bridleth not (μὴ χαλιναγωγῶν). The thought is developed more fully afterwards (see James 3:2, etc., and for the word, cf. Polyc., 'Ad Philippians,' c.v.).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

If any man among you seem to be religious,.... By his preaching, or praying, and hearing, and other external duties of religion, he is constant in the observance of; and who, upon the account of these things, "thinks himself to be a religious man", as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions render it; or is thought to be so by others:

and bridleth not his tongue; but boasts of his works, and speaks ill of his brethren; backbites them, and hurts their names and characters, by private insinuations, and public charges without any foundation; who takes no care of what he says, but gives his tongue a liberty of speaking anything, to the injury of others, and the dishonour of God, and his ways: there seems to be an allusion to Psalm 39:1.

But deceiveth his own heart; with his show of religion, and external performances; on which he builds his hopes of salvation; of which he is confident; and so gives himself to a loose way of talking what he pleases:

this man's religion is vain; useless, and unprofitable to himself and others; all his preaching, praying, hearing, and attendance on the ordinances will be of no avail to him; and he, notwithstanding these, by his evil tongue, brings a scandal and reproach upon the ways of God, and doctrines of Christ.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

26, 27. An example of doing work.

religious … religion—The Greek expresses the external service or exercise of religion, "godliness" being the internal soul of it. "If any man think himself to be (so the Greek) religious, that is, observant of the offices of religion, let him know these consist not so much in outward observances, as in such acts of mercy and humble piety (Mic 6:7, 8) as visiting the fatherless, &c., and keeping one's self unspotted from the world" (Mt 23:23). James does not mean that these offices are the great essentials, or sum total of religion; but that, whereas the law service was merely ceremonial, the very services of the Gospel consist in acts of mercy and holiness, and it has light for its garment, its very robe being righteousness [Trench]. The Greek word is only found in Ac 26:5, "after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee." Col 2:18, "worshipping of angels."

bridleth not … tongue—Discretion in speech is better than fluency of speech (compare Jas 3:2, 3). Compare Ps 39:1. God alone can enable us to do so. James, in treating of the law, naturally notices this sin. For they who are free from grosser sins, and even bear the outward show of sanctity, will often exalt themselves by detracting others under the pretense of zeal, while their real motive is love of evil-speaking [Calvin].

heart—It and the tongue act and react on one another.

James 1:26 Additional Commentaries
Context
Hearing and Doing
25But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. 26If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. 27Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Cross References
Psalm 34:13
keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.

Psalm 39:1
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David. I said, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked."

Psalm 141:3
Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Luke 8:18
Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them."

James 3:2
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
Treasury of Scripture

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

seem.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are …

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are …

Luke 8:18 Take heed therefore how you hear: for whoever has, to him shall be …

1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise …

Galatians 2:6,9 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatever they were, it makes …

Galatians 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he …

bridleth.

James 1:19 Why, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to …

James 3:2-6 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, …

Psalm 32:9 Be you not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: …

Psalm 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile.

Psalm 39:1,2 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: …

Psalm 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

Proverbs 10:19,31 In the multitude of words there wants not sin: but he that refrains …

Proverbs 13:2,3 A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the …

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools …

Proverbs 16:10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresses …

Proverbs 19:1 Better is the poor that walks in his integrity, than he that is perverse …

Proverbs 21:26 He covets greedily all the day long: but the righteous gives and spares not.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that …

Ephesians 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not …

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you …

1 Peter 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his …

but. See on ver.

James 1:22 But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Deuteronomy 11:16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and you …

Isaiah 44:20 He feeds on ashes: a deceived heart has turned him aside, that he …

Galatians 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he …

this.

James 2:20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Isaiah 1:13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination to me; the …

Malachi 3:14 You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that …

Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Mark 7:7 However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments …

1 Corinthians 15:2,15 By which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached …

Galatians 3:4 Have you suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

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