James 3:5
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

King James Bible
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

American Standard Version
So the tongue also is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how much wood is kindled by how small a fire!

Douay-Rheims Bible
Even so the tongue is indeed a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how small a fire kindleth a great wood.

English Revised Version
So the tongue also is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how much wood is kindled by how small a fire!

Webster's Bible Translation
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

Weymouth New Testament
In the same way the tongue is an insignificant part of the body, but it is immensely boastful. Remember how a mere spark may set a vast forest in flames.

James 3:5 Parallel
Commentary
Vincent's Word Studies

Boasteth great things (μεγαλαυχεῖ)

The best texts separate the compound, and read μεγάλα αὐχεῖ, of course with the same meaning. Αὐχεῖ, boasteth, only here in New Testament.

How great a matter a little fire kindleth (ἡλίκον πῦρ ἡλίκην ὕλην ἀνάπτει)

The word ὕλη (only here in New Testament) means wood or a forest, and hence the matter or raw material of which a thing is made. Later, it is used in the philosophical sense of matter - "the foundation of the manifold" - opposed to the intelligent or formative principle νοῦς, mind. The authorized version has taken the word in one of its secondary senses, hardly the philosophical sense it would seem; but any departure from the earlier sense was not only needless, but impaired the vividness of the figure, the familiar and natural image of a forest on fire. So Homer:

"As when a fire

Seizes a thick-grown forest, and the wind

Drives it along in eddies, while the trunks

Fall with the boughs amid devouring flames."

Iliad, xi., 155.

Hence, Rev., rightly, "Behold how much wood or how great a forest is kindled by how small a fire.

This, too, is the rendering of the Vulgate: quam magnam silvam.

James 3:5 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

so.

Exodus 5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

Exodus 15:9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied on them; I will draw my sword...

2 Kings 19:22-24 Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? and against whom have you exalted your voice, and lifted up your eyes on high...

Job 21:14,15 Therefore they say to God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of your ways...

Job 22:17 Which said to God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?

Psalm 10:3 For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire, and blesses the covetous, whom the LORD abhors.

Psalm 12:2-4 They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak...

Psalm 17:10 They are enclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.

Psalm 52:1,2 Why boast you yourself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endures continually...

Psalm 73:8,9 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily...

Proverbs 12:18 There is that speaks like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Jeremiah 9:3-8 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth on the earth...

Jeremiah 18:18 Then said they, Come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise...

Ezekiel 28:2 Son of man, say to the prince of Tyrus, Thus said the Lord GOD; Because your heart is lifted up, and you have said, I am a God...

Ezekiel 29:3 Speak, and say, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt...

Daniel 3:15 Now if you be ready that at what time you hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer...

Daniel 4:30 The king spoke, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power...

2 Peter 2:18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness...

Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaks great swelling words...

Revelation 13:5,6 And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given to him to continue forty and two months...

matter. or, wood.

Cross References
Psalm 12:3
May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,

Psalm 39:1
I said, "I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence."

Psalm 73:8
They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.

Proverbs 26:20
For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

James 3:4
Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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