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The Tongue Set on Fire by Hell (James 3:6)

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Chapter Summary

James 3:6 is a notoriously difficult verse. The problems usually discussed concern the middle part of the verse. The last two phrases of the verse are commonly regarded as relatively unproblematic. Whatever the meaning of the middle part of the verse, it is clear that the two concluding phrases continue the image of the tongue as a destructive fire which was introduced in verses 5b-6a. By contrast with the extensive debates about the meaning of much of verse 6, most commentators are agreed on the meaning of its last four words. They think that these words refer to the source of the tongue's power for evil. The tongue derives its dangerous power from the devil or the forces of evil, here symbolized by or located in hell. In Moo's words: 'The power of Satan himself, the chief denizen of hell, gives to the tongue its great destructive potential'.

Keywords: evil; hell; James; Moo; Satan; tongue's power

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