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Read Introduction to James


“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.”


James now describes the far-reaching effects of what the tongue can do.

And the tongue is a fire,

The tongue will kindle or ignite anger, but it also is a fire.

a world of iniquity.

The word “iniquity” means wrongdoing, unrighteousness, wickedness, injustice. Iniquity describes an unjust activity. We bring up in the bucket of speech what is in the well of the heart.

The idea of the “world” of iniquity conveys the idea that the tongue involves every sort of evil. It involves the attitude sins of jealousy, bitterness, lust, wrath, anger, malice, or greed. All these sins find their outlet in the tongue.


The tongue can cause widespread damage.


The tongue is a fire that burns extensively in our attitudes. The evil tongue exists in a universe of unrighteousness and injustice. This says something about the vastness of iniquity the tongue produces. The possibilities of this sin are endless.

Ro 3:13-14, “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips“; 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”