James 3:6
Parallel Verses
New International Version
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

New Living Translation
And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

English Standard Version
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

New American Standard Bible
And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

King James Bible
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.

International Standard Version
The tongue is a fire, a world of evil. Placed among the parts of our bodies, the tongue contaminates the whole body and sets on fire the course of life, and is itself set on fire by hell.

NET Bible
And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence--and is set on fire by hell.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And the tongue is a fire and a world of sin; it is like a jungle. And that tongue by itself, while it is among our members, defiles our whole body and sets on fire the successions of generations, which roll on like wheels; it also burns with fire.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The tongue is that kind of flame. It is a world of evil among the parts of our bodies, and it completely contaminates our bodies. The tongue sets our lives on fire, and is itself set on fire from hell.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of our nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

King James 2000 Bible
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

American King James Version
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

American Standard Version
And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body, and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell.

Darby Bible Translation
and the tongue [is] fire, the world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set in our members, the defiler of the whole body, and which sets fire to the course of nature, and is set on fire of hell.

English Revised Version
And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell.

Webster's Bible Translation
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire from hell.

Weymouth New Testament
And the tongue is a fire. That world of iniquity, the tongue, is placed within us spotting and soiling our whole nature, and setting the whole round of our lives on fire, being itself set on fire by Gehenna.

World English Bible
And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by Gehenna.

Young's Literal Translation
and the tongue is a fire, the world of the unrighteousness, so the tongue is set in our members, which is spotting our whole body, and is setting on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by the gehenna.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:1-12 We are taught to dread an unruly tongue, as one of the greatest evils. The affairs of mankind are thrown into confusion by the tongues of men. Every age of the world, and every condition of life, private or public, affords examples of this. Hell has more to do in promoting the fire of the tongue than men generally think; and whenever men's tongues are employed in sinful ways, they are set on fire of hell. No man can tame the tongue without Divine grace and assistance. The apostle does not represent it as impossible, but as extremely difficult. Other sins decay with age, this many times gets worse; we grow more froward and fretful, as natural strength decays, and the days come on in which we have no pleasure. When other sins are tamed and subdued by the infirmities of age, the spirit often grows more tart, nature being drawn down to the dregs, and the words used become more passionate. That man's tongue confutes itself, which at one time pretends to adore the perfections of God, and to refer all things to him; and at another time condemns even good men, if they do not use the same words and expressions. True religion will not admit of contradictions: how many sins would be prevented, if men would always be consistent! Pious and edifying language is the genuine produce of a sanctified heart; and none who understand Christianity, expect to hear curses, lies, boastings, and revilings from a true believer's mouth, any more than they look for the fruit of one tree from another. But facts prove that more professors succeed in bridling their senses and appetites, than in duly restraining their tongues. Then, depending on Divine grace, let us take heed to bless and curse not; and let us aim to be consistent in our words and actions.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 6. - Application of illustration The translation is doubtful, οὕτως of the Received Text must certainly be deleted. It is wanting in א, A, B, C, K, Latt., Syriac. Three renderings are then possible.

(1) "And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body and setteth on fire the wheel of nature."

(2) "And the tongue is a fire, that world of iniquity: the tongue is among our members that which defileth the whole body," etc.: so Vulgate.

(3) "And the tongue is a fire: that world of iniquity, the tongue, is among our members that which defileth the whole body," etc. Of these, the first, which is that of the Revisers, appears to be preferable. A fourth rendering, which is wholly untenable, deserves notice for its antiquity, viz. that of the Syriac, "The tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity (is the forest)." The world of iniquity (ὁ κόσμος τῆς ἀδικίας). The tongue is thus characterized, because it leads to and embraces all kinds of wickednesses. As Bishop Wordsworth points out, it contains within itself the elements of all mischief. A somewhat similar use of κόσμος is found in the LXX. of Proverbs 17:6, Τοῦ πιστοῦ ὅλος ὁ κόσμος τῶν χρημάτων τοῦ δὲ ἀπιστου οὐδὲ ὀβελός, "The whole world of wealth is for the faithful: for the faithless not a penny." Καθίσταται: "is set" or "has its place," and so simply "is." The tongue

(1) defiles the whole body, and

(2) sets on fire τὸν τροχὸν τῆς γενέσεως, "the wheel of birth" or "of nature" - a very strange expression, and one almost without parallel. (Τροχός only here in the New Testament. There is, however, no doubt about its meaning "wheel." The A.V., which took it as τρόχος, equivalent to "course," is universally given up (see Winer, 'Gram. of N. T.,' p. 62). For γένεσις, comp. James 1:23. The Vulgate has retain nativitatis nostrae.) Alford translates the phrase, "the orb of the creation," and in favor of this the use of the word τροχός in Psalm 77. (76.) 19 may be appealed to. But more natural is the interpretation of Dean Plumptre, who takes it as "a figure for the whole of life from birth, the wheel which then begins to roll on its course and continues rolling until death." So Huther and Dean Scott in the ' Speaker's Commentary.' This view has the support of the Syriac Version: "The course of our generations which run as a wheel;" and is implied in the (false) reading of א, τῆς γενέσεως ἡμῶν, (compare the Vulgate). It should also be noticed that life is compared to a wheel in Ecclesiastes 12:6 (LXX., τροχός). And is set on fire. The tongue has already been called a fire. It is now shown how that fire is kindled - kern beneath, kern Gehenna. A similar expression is found in the Targum on Psalm 120:2, "Lingua dolosa ... cum carbonibus juniperi, qui incensi sunt in Gehenna interne." Gehenna, here personified, is mentioned also in Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 18:9; Matthew 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5. Thus the passage before us is the only one in the New Testament where the word is used except, by our Lord himself. The word itself is simply a Graecised form of גֵּי הִנּום, "valley of Hinnom," or fully, "valley of the sons of Hinnom" (variously rendered by the LXX. φάραγξ Ανννόμ or υἱοῦ Αννόμ or Γαιέννα, Joshua 18:16). This valley, from its associations, became a type of hell; and hence its name was taken by the Jews to denote the place of torment. In this sense it occurs in the New Testament, and frequently in Jewish writings (see Buxtorf, 'Lexicon,' sub verb. גְהִנָּם), and it is said that the later rabbis actually fixed upon this valley as the mouth of hell.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And the tongue is a fire,.... It is like to fire, very useful in its place, to warm and comfort; so is the tongue in Christian conversation, and in the ministry of the word; the hearts of God's children burn within them, while they are talking together, and while the Scriptures of truth are opening to them; but as fire should be carefully watched, and kept, so should men take heed to their ways, that they sin not with their tongue, and keep their tongue from evil, and their lips from speaking guile; for as fire kindles and rises up into a flame, so unchaste, angry, and passionate words, stir up the flame of lust, anger, envy, and revenge; and as fire is of a spreading nature, so are lies, scandal, and evil reports vented by the tongue; and as fire devours all that comes in its way, such are the words of an evil tongue; and therefore are called devouring words, Psalm 52:4 they devour the good names of men, and corrupt their good manners, and destroy those who make use of them; and what wood is to fire, and coals to burning coals, that are whisperers, tale bearers, backbiters, and contentious persons to strife, Proverbs 26:20

a world of iniquity; that is, as the world is full of things, and full of sin, for it lies in wickedness, so is the tongue full of iniquity; there is a world of it in it; it abounds with it; it cannot well be said how much sin is in it, and done, or occasioned by it; as blasphemy against God, Father, Son, and Spirit; cursing of men, imprecations on themselves, their souls, and bodies, and on others, with a multitude of profane and dreadful oaths; obscene, filthy, and unchaste words; angry, wrathful, and passionate ones; lies, flatteries, reproaches, backbitings, whisperings, tale bearings, &c. And the Jews say, that he that uses an evil tongue multiplies transgression, and that it is equal to idolatry, adultery, and murder (h), and the cause of all sin; and which they express by way of fable, in this manner (i):

"when Adam sinned, God laid hold on him, and slit his tongue into two parts, and said unto him, the wickedness which is, or shall be in the world, thou hast begun with an evil tongue; wherefore I will make all that come into the world know that thy tongue is the cause of all this.''

The Syriac version renders this clause thus, "and the world of iniquity is as wood"; or the branch of a tree; the tongue is fire, and a wicked world is fuel to it.

So is the tongue amongst our members, that it defileth the whole body: the body politic, a whole nation, filling it with contention, strife, division, and confusion; and the ecclesiastical body, the church, by sowing discord, fomenting animosities, making parties, and spreading errors and heresies, whereby the temple of God is defiled; and the natural body, and the several members of it, even the whole person of a man, soul and body, bringing upon him a blot of infamy and reproach never to be wiped off; as for instance, the vice of the tongue, lying, does; and oftentimes through the tongue, the actions done in the body, which seem good, are quite spoiled:

and setteth on fire the course of nature, or "wheel of nature": the natural body, as before, in which there is a continual rotation or circulation of the blood, by which it is supported; this is the wheel broken at the cistern at death, in Ecclesiastes 12:6 or the course of a man's life and actions, yea, of all generations, and the vicissitudes and changes which have happened in them, on which the tongue has a great influence; and so the Syriac version renders it, "and sets on fire the series of our genealogies, or our generations, which run like wheels": or it may intend the frame of nature, the whole fabric of the universe, and the general conflagration of it, which will be owing to the tongue; or because men's tongues are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory, because of the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Christ and his people, of which they will be convinced by flames of fire about them:

and it is set on fire of hell; that is, by the devil; for as heaven sometimes is put for God, who dwells in heaven, Matthew 21:25 so hell is put for the devil, whose habitation it is; see Matthew 16:18, and the sense is, that the tongue is influenced, instigated, and stirred up by Satan, to speak many evil things, and it will be hereafter set on fire in hell, as the tongue of the rich man in Luke 16:24. To which purpose are those words of the Talmud (k);

"whoever uses an evil tongue, the holy blessed God says to hell, I concerning him above, and thou concerning him below, will judge him, as it is said, Psalm 120:3. "What shall be done to thee, thou false tongue? sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper", there is no arrow but the tongue, according to Jeremiah 9:8 and there is no mighty one but God, Isaiah 42:13 "coals of juniper", , these are hell.''

(h) T. Bab. Erachin, fol. 15. 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 100. 1.((i) Otiot R. Aquiba in Ketoreth Hassammim in Gen. fol. 12. 4. (k) T. Bab. Erachin, fol. 15. 2. Yalkut, par. 2. fol. 127. 2.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

6. Translate, "The tongue, that world of iniquity, is a fire." As man's little world is an image of the greater world, the universe, so the tongue is an image of the former [Bengel].

so—omitted in the oldest authorities.

is—literally, "is constituted." "The tongue is (constituted), among the members, the one which defileth," &c. (namely, as fire defiles with its smoke).

course of nature—"the orb (cycle) of creation."

setteth on fire … is set on fire—habitually and continually. While a man inflames others, he passes out of his own power, being consumed in the flame himself.

of hell—that is, of the devil. Greek, "Gehenna"; found here only and in Mt 5:22. James has much in common with the Sermon on the Mount (Pr 16:27).

James 3:6 Additional Commentaries
Context
Taming the Tongue
5So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.…
Cross References
Psalm 120:2
Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.

Psalm 120:3
What will he do to you, and what more besides, you deceitful tongue?

Proverbs 16:27
A scoundrel plots evil, and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.

Isaiah 50:11
But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.

Matthew 5:22
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Matthew 12:36
But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

Matthew 15:11
What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them."

Matthew 15:18
But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.

James 3:7
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind,
Treasury of Scripture

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

the tongue.

Judges 12:4-6 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought …

2 Samuel 19:43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have …

2 Samuel 20:1 And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, …

2 Chronicles 10:13-16 And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the …

2 Chronicles 13:17 And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there …

Psalm 64:3 Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot …

Psalm 140:3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison …

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 16:27 An ungodly man digs up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

Proverbs 26:20,21 Where no wood is, there the fire goes out: so where there is no talebearer, …

Isaiah 30:27 Behold, the name of the LORD comes from far, burning with his anger, …

a world.

James 2:7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which you are called?

Genesis 3:4-6 And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die…

Leviticus 24:11 And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the Lord, …

Numbers 25:2 And they called the people to the sacrifices of their gods: and the …

Numbers 31:16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel …

Deuteronomy 13:6 If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, …

Judges 16:15-20 And she said to him, How can you say, I love you, when your heart …

1 Samuel 22:9-17 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of …

2 Samuel 13:26-29 Then said Absalom, If not, I pray you, let my brother Amnon go with …

2 Samuel 15:2-6 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: …

2 Samuel 16:20-23 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do…

2 Samuel 17:1,2 Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve …

1 Kings 21:5-15 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, Why is your spirit …

Proverbs 1:10-14 My son, if sinners entice you, consent you not…

Proverbs 6:19 A false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brothers.

Proverbs 7:5,21-23 That they may keep you from the strange woman, from the stranger …

Jeremiah 20:10 For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say …

Jeremiah 28:16 Therefore thus said the LORD; Behold, I will cast you from off the …

Matthew 12:24,32-36 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow does not …

Matthew 15:11-20 Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which …

Mark 7:15,20-22 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile …

Mark 14:55-57 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against …

Acts 6:13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceases not to speak …

Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, …

Romans 3:13,14 Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used …

Romans 16:17,18 Now I beseech you, brothers, mark them which cause divisions and …

Ephesians 5:3,4 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not …

Colossians 3:8,9 But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, …

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 And with all delusion of unrighteousness in them that perish; because …

Titus 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching …

2 Peter 2:1,2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there …

2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, …

3 John 1:10 Why, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, prating …

Jude 1:8-10,15-18 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, …

Revelation 2:14,15 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them …

Revelation 13:1-5,14 And I stood on the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of …

Revelation 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in you…

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked …

it is.

Luke 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send …

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to …

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves …

2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power …

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, …

Jump to Previous
Body Course Cycle Defiles Defileth Evil Fire Gehenna Getting Hell Iniquity Life Making Members Nature Parts Placed Putting Round Sets Setting Tongue Unclean Unrighteous Unrighteousness Wheel Whole Within World
Jump to Next
Body Course Cycle Defiles Defileth Evil Fire Gehenna Getting Hell Iniquity Life Making Members Nature Parts Placed Putting Round Sets Setting Tongue Unclean Unrighteous Unrighteousness Wheel Whole Within World
Links
James 3:6 NIV
James 3:6 NLT
James 3:6 ESV
James 3:6 NASB
James 3:6 KJV

James 3:6 Bible Apps
James 3:6 Bible Suite
James 3:6 Biblia Paralela
James 3:6 Chinese Bible
James 3:6 French Bible
James 3:6 German Bible

Alphabetical: a also among and as body by corrupts course defiles entire evil fire hell his iniquity is It itself life members of on our parts person set sets that The tongue very which whole world

NT Letters: James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire (Ja Jas. Jam) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools

Bible Hub
James 3:5
Top of Page
Top of Page