New International Version
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
King James Bible
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.
Darby Bible Translation
For we all often offend. If any one offend not in word, *he* [is] a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body too.
World English Bible
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.
Young's Literal Translation
for we all make many stumbles; if any one in word doth not stumble, this one is a perfect man, able to bridle also the whole body;
James 3:2 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
In many things we offend all - Πταιομεν ἁπαντες· We all stumble or trip. Dr. Barrow very properly observes: "As the general course of life is called a way, and particular actions steps, so going on in a regular course of right action is walking uprightly; and acting amiss, tripping or stumbling." There are very few who walk so closely with God, and inoffensively with men, as never to stumble; and although it is the privilege of every follower of God to be sincere and without offense to the day of Christ, yet few of them are so. Were this unavoidable, it would be useless to make it a subject of regret; but as every man may receive grace from his God to enable him to walk in every respect uprightly, it is to be deplored that so few live up to their privileges. Some have produced these words as a proof that "no man can live without sinning against God; for James himself, a holy apostle speaking of himself, all the apostles, and the whole Church of Christ, says, In many things we offend all." This is a very bad and dangerous doctrine; and, pushed to its consequences, would greatly affect the credibility of the whole Gospel system. Besides, were the doctrine as true as it is dangerous and false, it is foolish to ground it upon such a text; because St. James, after the common mode of all teachers, includes himself in his addresses to his hearers. And were we to suppose that where he appears by the use of the plural pronoun to include himself, he means to be thus understood, we must then grant that himself was one of those many teachers who were to receive a great condemnation, James 3:1; that he was a horse-breaker, because he says, "we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us," James 3:3; that his tongue was a world of iniquity, and set on fire of hell, for he says, "so is the tongue among our members," James 3:6; that he cursed men, "wherewith curse we men, James 3:9. No man possessing common sense could imagine that James, or any man of even tolerable morals, could be guilty of those things. But some of those were thus guilty to whom he wrote; and to soften his reproofs, and to cause them to enter the more deeply into their hearts, he appears to include himself in his own censure; and yet not one of his readers would understand him as being a brother delinquent.
Offend not in word, the same is a perfect man - To understand this properly we must refer to the caution St. James gives in the preceding verse: Be not many masters or teachers - do not affect that for which you are not qualified, because in your teaching, not knowing the heavenly doctrine, ye may sin against the analogy of faith. But, says he, if any man offend not, ου πταιει, trip not, εν λογῳ, in doctrine, teaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the same is τελειος ανηρ, a man fully instructed in Divine things: How often the term λογος, which we render word, is used to express doctrine, and the doctrine of the Gospel, we have seen in many parts of the preceding comment. And how often the word τελειος, which we translate perfect, is used to signify an adult Christian, one thoroughly instructed in the doctrines of the Gospel, may be seen in various parts of St. Paul's writings. See among others, 1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 14:20; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 3:15; Colossians 4:12; Hebrews 5:14. The man, therefore, who advanced no false doctrine, and gave no imperfect view of any of the great truths of Christianity; that man proved himself thereby to be thoroughly instructed in Divine things; to be no novice, and consequently, among the many teachers, to be a perfect master, and worthy of the sacred vocation.
Able also to bridle the whole body - Grotius, by body, believed that the Church of Christ was intended; and this the view we have taken of the preceding clauses renders very probable. But some think the passions and appetites are intended; yet these persons understand not offending in word as referring simply to well guarded speech. Now how a man's cautiousness in what he says can be a proof that he has every passion and appetite under control, I cannot see. Indeed, I have seen so many examples of a contrary kind, that I can have no doubt of the impropriety of this exposition. But it is objected "that χαλιναγωγεω signifies to check, turn, or rule with a bridle; and is never applied to the government of the Church of Christ." Probably not: but St. James is a very peculiar writer; his phraseology, metaphors, and diction in general, are different from all the rest of the New Testament writers, so as to have scarcely any thing in common with them, but only that he writes in Greek. The sixth verse is supposed to be a proof against the opinion of Grotius; but I conceive that verse to belong to a different subject, which commences James 3:3.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
See on ch.
a perfect. See on ch.
LibraryJanuary the Twenty-Sixth the Fire of Envy
"Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work!" --JAMES iii. 13-18. In Milton's "Comus" we read of a certain potion which has the power to pervert all the senses of everyone who drinks it. Nothing is apprehended truly. Sight and hearing and taste are all disordered, and the victim is all unconscious of the confusion. The deadly draught is the minister of deceptive chaos. And envy is like that potion when it is drunk by the spirit. It perverts every moral and spiritual sense. …
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year
Whether Wisdom Should be Reckoned among the Gifts of the Holy Ghost?
Whether Our Atmosphere is the Demons' Place of Punishment?
Whether a Religious Sins More Grievously than a Secular by the Same Kind of Sin?
2 Chronicles 6:36
"When they sin against you--for there is no one who does not sin--and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near;
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David. I said, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked."
Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.
Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
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