|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.
Verses 9, 10. - Examples of the restless character of the tongue: "With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it too we curse men who are made in his image." In the first clause we should read Κύριον (א, A, B, C, Coptic, Syriac, ff, and some manuscripts of the Vulgate) for Θεόν (Receptus, with K, L, and Vulgate). Made after the similitude of God; better, likeness (ὁμοίωσις). The words, which are taken from Genesis 1:26 (καὶ εῖπεν ὁ Θεὸς ποιήσωμεν ἄνθρωπον κατ εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν καὶ καθ ὁμοιώσιν) are added to show the greatness of the sin. Theologically they are important, as showing that the "likeness of God" in man (in whatever it may consist) was not entirely obliterated by the Fall. St. James's words would be meaningless if only Adam had been created in the image and likeness of God. So St. Paul speaks of fallen man as still "the image (εἰκών) and glory of God" (1 Corinthians 11:7; and cf. Genesis 9:6).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therewith bless we God, even, the Father,.... Of Jesus Christ, and of spirits, and of mercies: this is the instrument that is used in blessing God daily every meal that is eaten; and in joining with the saints, though only verbally and outwardly, in blessing God for all spiritual blessings in Christ, both in prayer, and in singing psalms:
and therewith curse we men: make imprecations, and wish evils upon them:
which are made after the similitude of God as man was originally, Genesis 1:26 and though sin has greatly defaced it, yet there are still some remains of it: and now, what an absurd and monstrous thing is this, that one and the same instrument should be used in blessing God, the Father of all creatures, and in cursing his children, his offering, as all men are by creation, and bear some resemblance to him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. God—The oldest authorities read, "Lord." "Him who is Lord and Father." The uncommonness of the application of "Lord" to the Father, doubtless caused the change in modern texts to "God" (Jas 1:27). But as Messiah is called "Father," Isa 9:6, so God the Father is called by the Son's title, "Lord": showing the unity of the Godhead. "Father" implies His paternal love; "Lord," His dominion.
men, which—not "men who"; for what is meant is not particular men, but men genetically [Alford].
are made after … similitude of God—Though in a great measure man has lost the likeness of God in which he was originally made, yet enough of it still remains to show what once it was, and what in regenerated and restored man it shall be. We ought to reverence this remnant and earnest of what man shall be in ourselves and in others. "Absalom has fallen from his father's favor, but the people still recognize him to be the king's son" [Bengel]. Man resembles in humanity the Son of man, "the express image of His person" (Heb 1:3), compare Ge 1:26; 1Jo 4:20. In the passage, Ge 1:26, "image" and "likeness" are distinct: "image," according to the Alexandrians, was something in which men were created, being common to all, and continuing to man after the fall, while the "likeness" was something toward which man was created, to strive after and attain it: the former marks man's physical and intellectual, the latter his moral pre-eminence.
James 3:9 Parallel Commentaries
James 3:9 NIV
James 3:9 NLT
James 3:9 ESV
James 3:9 NASB
James 3:9 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible