James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
There is no doubt that the tongue gets us into trouble. Of course, it is well understood that it is not our tongues that James is referring to but our words. Words are power. Used wrong it will do three things:
- defile or blemish your reputation
- sets on fire the course of nature
- empowered by hell
I believe that we all can conclude what it is to blemish your reputation. We have seen that done or even experienced it. I think that we could come up with some ideas as to how our words could be empowered by hell. But, what about this course of nature?
The Greek word that is used here for “course” means “wheel or cycle.” The word for “nature” is the word we get our English word “Genesis.”
Therefore, this verse literally says that the tongue sets on fire the cycles of Genesis. What are the cycles of Genesis.
- the evening and the morning is the cycle of a day
- from sabbath to sabbath is the cycle of a week
- from spring to fall is the cycle of the harvest
- from birth to death is the cycle of a life
- when a plant produces seed the life cycle begins again
In our Greek thinking that we have inherited we see history as a time line. In the Hebrew way of thinking everything is a cycle. As long as you do not step out of God’s path the cycle continues from generation to generation with the same outcome, God’s will. Once we break the cycle to do our own thing the outcome is different.
So, what is James, or his Hebrew name, Jacob, saying to us with the destructive tongue setting the cycle of genesis on fire?
How about this time you give some thought into it and let me know what you think it might be?