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For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.


James turns from the significance of works in chapter two to the magnitude of words in chapter three. 


The significance of the word “for” shows that teachers (v. 1) do stumble in many things.  A pastor/teacher must not get the idea that he is infallible. 

we all stumble in many things.

The word “stumble” means trip, fall.  Every Christian makes false steps and fail somewhere along the line.  No one is without moral lapse or flaw. 

James includes himself in the word “all.”  The idea is all without exception.  There is an exception in Christ, but there is no exception among fallen men.  No matter how good a pastor might be, he still falls short of God’s standard.  Sin is anything that comes short of God’s absolute character. 

Ro. 3:10, “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one…’”

Ro 3:23, ”…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

James not only admits to tripping in a few things but in “many things.”  The word “many” modifies “stumble.”  We stumble over many things.  This shows the degree of our stumbling. 


A sense of sinfulness is necessary for our spiritual health. 


It is important for spiritual health not to lose our sense of sinfulness.  Neither should we drop our wonder of the cost that Jesus paid for our forgiveness.  

1 Jn 1:7-10, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

Ecc 7:20, “For there is not a just man on earth who does good

And does not sin.”

Ga 3:22, “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”

The reality that Jesus forgives Christians for their sins does not excuse justification for sin.  Some of us have the audacity to assume that sins of the tongue are not that important to God. 

The more a teacher teaches, the more he will stumble.  The more we attempt for Christ, the more likely we will fail.  The more we say, the more we open ourselves to criticism.  It takes courage and independence from people to teach and lead.