James 3:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

King James Bible
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Darby Bible Translation
Be not many teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive greater judgment.

World English Bible
Let not many of you be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment.

Young's Literal Translation
Many teachers become not, my brethren, having known that greater judgment we shall receive,

James 3:1 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

My brethren, be not many masters - "Be not many of you teachers." The evil referred to is that where many desired to be teachers, though but few could be qualified for the office, and though, in fact, comparatively few were required. A small number, well qualified, would better discharge the duties of the office, and do more good, than many would; and there would be great evil in having many crowding themselves unqualified into the office. The word here rendered "masters" (διδάσκαλοι didaskaloi) should have been rendered "teachers." It is so rendered in John 3:2; Acts 13:1; Romans 2:20; 1 Corinthians 12:28-29; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 2:11; 1 Timothy 4:3; Hebrews 5:12; though it is elsewhere frequently rendered master. It has, however, in it primarily the notion of "teaching" (διδάσκω didaskō), even when rendered "master;" and the word "master" is often used in the New Testament, as it is with us, to denote an instructor - as the "school-master."

Compare Matthew 10:24-25; Matthew 22:16; Mark 10:17; Mark 12:19, et al. The word is not properly used in the sense of master, as distinguished from a servant, but as distinguished from a disciple or learner. Such a position, indeed, implies authority, but it is authority based not on power, but on superior qualifications. The connection implies that the word is used in that sense in this place; and the evil reprehended is that of seeking the office of public instructor, especially the sacred office. It would seem that this was a prevailing fault among those to whom the apostle wrote. This desire was common among the Jewish people, who coveted the name and the office of "Rabbi," equivalent to that here used, (compare Matthew 23:7), and who were ambitious to be doctors and teachers. See Romans 2:19; 1 Timothy 1:7. This fondness for the office of teachers they naturally carried with them into the Christian church when they were converted, and it is this which the apostle here rebukes. The same spirit the passage before us would rebuke now and for the same reasons; for although a man should be willing to become a public instructor in religion when called to it by the Spirit and Providence of God, and should esteem it a privilege when so called, yet there would be scarcely anything more injurious to the cause of true religion, or that would tend more to produce disorder and confusion, than a prevailing desire of the prominence and importance which a man has in virtue of being a public instructor. If there is anything which ought to be managed with extreme prudence and caution, it is that of introducing men into the Christian ministry. Compare 1 Timothy 5:22; Acts 1:15-26; Acts 13:2-3.

Knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation - (μεῖζον κρὶμα meizon krima. Or rather, "a severer judgment;" that is, we shall have a severer trial, and give a stricter account. The word here used does not necessarily mean "condemnation," but "judgment, trial, account;" and the consideration which the apostle suggests is not that those who were public teacher would be condemned, but that there would be a much more solemn account to be rendered by them than by other men, and that they ought duly to reflect on this in seeking the office of the ministry. He would carry them in anticipation before the judgment-seat, and have them determine the question of entering the ministry there. No better "stand-point" can be taken in making up the mind in regard to this work; and if that had been the position assumed in order to estimate the work, and to make up the mind in regard to the choice of this profession, many a one who has sought the office would have been deterred from it; and it may be added, also, that many a pious and educated youth would have sought the office, who has devoted his life to other pursuits. A young man, when about to make choice of a calling in life, should place himself by anticipation at the judgment-bar of Christ, and ask himself how human pursuits and plans will appear there. If that were the point of view taken, how many would have been deterred from the ministry who have sought it with a view to honor or emolument! How many, too, who have devoted themselves to the profession of the law, to the army or navy, or to the pursuits of elegant literature, would have felt that it was their duty to serve God in the ministry of reconciliation? How many at the close of life, in the ministry and out of it, feel, when too late to make a change, that they have wholly mistaken the purpose for which they should have lived!

James 3:1 Parallel Commentaries

Library
How to Make Use of Christ for Taking the Guilt of Our Daily Out-Breakings Away.
The next part of our sanctification is in reference to our daily failings and transgressions, committed partly through the violence of temptations, as we see in David and Peter, and other eminent men of God; partly through daily infirmities, because of our weakness and imperfections; for, "in many things we offend all," James iii. 2; and, "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us," 1 John i. 8; "a righteous man falleth seven times," Prov. xxiv. 16; "there is not
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Whether Inconstancy is a vice Contained under Prudence?
Objection 1: It would seem that inconstancy is not a vice contained under imprudence. For inconstancy consists seemingly in a lack of perseverance in matters of difficulty. But perseverance in difficult matters belongs to fortitude. Therefore inconstancy is opposed to fortitude rather than to prudence. Objection 2: Further, it is written (James 3:16): "Where jealousy [Douay: 'envy'] and contention are, there are inconstancy and every evil work." But jealousy pertains to envy. Therefore inconstancy
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Man's Inability to Keep the Moral Law
Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God? No mere man, since the fall, is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but does daily break them, in thought, word, and deed. In many things we offend all.' James 3: 2. Man in his primitive state of innocence, was endowed with ability to keep the whole moral law. He had rectitude of mind, sanctity of will, and perfection of power. He had the copy of God's law written on his heart; no sooner did God command but he obeyed.
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Of the Weight of Government; and that all Manner of Adversity is to be Despised, and Prosperity Feared.
So much, then, have we briefly said, to shew how great is the weight of government, lest whosoever is unequal to sacred offices of government should dare to profane them, and through lust of pre-eminence undertake a leadership of perdition. For hence it is that James affectionately deters us, saying, Be not made many masters, my brethren (James iii. 1). Hence the Mediator between God and man Himself--He who, transcending the knowledge and understanding even of supernal spirits, reigns in heaven
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Cross References
Matthew 23:8
"But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

Acts 13:1
Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Romans 2:20
a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,

1 Timothy 1:7
wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

James 1:16
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

James 1:19
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;

James 3:10
from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

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