31My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers. As you know, we teachers will be judged with greater strictness than others. 2All of us often make mistakes. But if a person never makes a mistake in what he says, he is perfect and is also able to control his whole being. 3We put a bit into the mouth of a horse to make it obey us, and we are able to make it go where we want. 4Or think of a ship: big as it is and driven by such strong winds, it can be steered by a very small rudder, and it goes wherever the pilot wants it to go. 5So it is with the tongue: small as it is, it can boast about great things.
Just think how large a forest can be set on fire by a tiny flame! 6And the tongue is like a fire. It is a world of wrong, occupying its place in our bodies and spreading evil through our whole being. It sets on fire the entire course of our existence with the fire that comes to it from hell itself. 7Human beings can tame and have tamed all other creatures — wild animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 8But no one has ever been able to tame the tongue. It is evil and uncontrollable, full of deadly poison. 9
We use it to give thanks to our Lord and Father and also to curse other people, who are created in the likeness of God. 10Words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen! 11No spring of water pours out sweet water and bitter water from the same opening. 12A fig tree, my brothers and sisters, cannot bear olives; a grapevine cannot bear figs, nor can a salty spring produce sweet water.
13Are there people among you who are wise and understanding? They are to prove it by their good lives, by their good deeds performed with humility and wisdom. 14But if in your heart you are jealous, bitter, and selfish, don't sin against the truth by boasting of your wisdom. 15Such wisdom does not come down from heaven; it belongs to the world, it is unspiritual and demonic. 16Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil. 17But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. 18And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.
41Where do all the fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your desires for pleasure, which are constantly fighting within you. 2You want things, but you cannot have them, so you are ready to kill; you strongly desire things, but you cannot get them, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it. 3And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures. 4Unfaithful people! Don't you know that to be the world's friend means to be God's enemy? People who want to be the world's friends make themselves God's enemies. 5Don't think that there is no truth in the scripture that says, “The spirit that God placed in us is filled with fierce desires.”4.5 The spirit… fierce desires; or God yearns jealously over the spirit that he placed in us. 6
But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7So then, submit to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you. 8Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners! Purify your hearts, you hypocrites! 9Be sorrowful, cry, and weep; change your laughter into crying, your joy into gloom! 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
11Do not criticize one another, my brothers and sisters. If you criticize fellow-Christians or judge them, you criticize the Law and judge it. If you judge the Law, then you are no longer one who obeys the Law, but one who judges it. 12God is the only lawgiver and judge. He alone can save and destroy. Who do you think you are, to judge someone else?
Now listen to me, you that say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will stay a year and go into business and make a lot of money.” 14You don't even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. 15What you should say is this: “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.” 16But now you are proud, and you boast; all such boasting is wrong.
17So then, those who do not do the good they know they should do are guilty of sin.
51And now, you rich people, listen to me! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you! 2
Your riches have rotted away, and your clothes have been eaten by moths. 3Your gold and silver are covered with rust, and this rust will be a witness against you and will eat up your flesh like fire. You have piled up riches in these last days. 4
You have not paid any wages to those who work in your fields. Listen to their complaints! The cries of those who gather in your crops have reached the ears of God, the Lord Almighty. 5Your life here on earth has been full of luxury and pleasure. You have made yourselves fat for the day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent people, and they do not resist you.5.6 people, and they do not resist you; or people. Will God not resist you?
7Be patient, then, my brothers and sisters, until the Lord comes. See how patient a farmer is as he waits for his land to produce precious crops. He waits patiently for the autumn and spring rains. 8You also must be patient. Keep your hopes high, for the day of the Lord's coming is near.
9Do not complain against one another, my brothers and sisters, so that God will not judge you. The Judge is near, ready to appear. 10My brothers and sisters, remember the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Take them as examples of patient endurance under suffering. 11
We call them happy because they endured. You have heard of Job's patience, and you know how the Lord provided for him in the end. For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion.
Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not use an oath when you make a promise. Do not swear by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Say only “Yes” when you mean yes, and “No” when you mean no, and then you will not come under God's judgement.
13Are any of you in trouble? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14
Are any of you ill? You should send for the church elders, who will pray for them and rub olive oil on them in the name of the Lord. 15This prayer made in faith will heal the sick; the Lord will restore them to health, and the sins they have committed will be forgiven. 16So then, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed. The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect. 17
Elijah was the same kind of person as we are. He prayed earnestly that there would be no rain, and no rain fell on the land for three and a half years. 18
Once again he prayed, and the sky poured out its rain and the earth produced its crops.
19My brothers and sisters, if any of you wander away from the truth and another one brings them back again, 20
remember this: whoever turns a sinner back from his or her wrong way will save that sinner's soul5.20 that sinner's soul; or his own soul. from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.