Study # 51
August 26, 1998
Harlingen, Texas

Thesis: Fallen humanity's use of language is predominantly geared toward self-exaltation, and, as such, is the basis for severe condemnation by God. Introduction: Last week we looked primarily at James' claim that the tongue is a very powerful instrument. This is so because of the power of words. The theology of speech is that speech is designed by God to foster the progress of influence from person to person. This is a critical issue because human beings are enduring creatures and the quality of their experience is directly tied to the way people think and the consequent actions that arise from those thoughts. So speech is a critical matter because it not only expresses the thoughts of the world-view, it promotes the world-view by calling for faith. This evening, we are going to move along with James from the thesis of power to the thesis of harm. The first illustrations James used (of a bit and a rudder) were solely focused upon power. However, from the middle of verse 5 on, James switches from a primary focus upon power to a primary focus on destructive power. He uses two primary illustrations; one of fire; the other of poison. This evening we shall look into the focus upon fire and its destructive impact as an illustration of the tongue's negative identity.