Offences of Speech
James 3:2
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

The offences of speech are various in kind; so many as there be of thought and of action, unto which they do run parallel: accordingly they well may be distinguished from the difference of objects which they do specially respect. Whence

1. Some of them are committed against God, and confront piety;

2. Others against our neighbour, and violate justice, or charity, or peace;

3. Others against ourselves, infringing sobriety, discretion, or modesty; or,

4. Some are of a more general and abstracted nature, rambling through all matters, and crossing all the heads of duty. Now I shall confine my discourse to the first sort, the offences against piety; and even of them I shall only touch two or three, insinuating some reasons why we should eschew them.These are —

1. Speaking blasphemously against God, or reproachfully concerning religion, or to the disgrace of piety, with intent to subvert men's faith in God, or to impair their reverence of Him. This of all impieties is the most prodigiously gigantic, the most signal practice of enmity towards God, and downright waging of war against heaven. Of all "weapons formed against God," the tongue most notoriously doth impugn Him; for we cannot reach heaven with our hands, or immediately assault God by our actions: other ill-practice indeed obliquely or by consequence dishonoureth God, and defameth goodness; but profane discourse is directly levelled at them.

2. To speak loosely and wantonly about holy things, to make such things the matter of sport and mockery, to play and trifle with them.

3. Rash and vain swearing in common discourse; an offence which now strangely reigns and rages in the world, passing about in a specious garb and under glorious titles, as a gentle and graceful quality, a mark of fine breeding, and a point of high gallantry.

4. Finally, consider, that as we ourselves, with all our members and powers, were chiefly designed and framed to serve and glorify our Maker, so especially our tongue and speaking faculty were given us to declare our admiration and reverence of Him, to express our love and gratitude toward Him, to celebrate His praises, to acknowledge His benefits, to promote His honour and service.

(I. Barrow, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

WEB: For in many things we all stumble. If anyone doesn't stumble in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.

Not to Offend in Word, an Evidence of a High Pitch of Virtue
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