Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

James 3:8

    James 3:8 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    But the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    But the tongue may not be controlled by man; it is an unresting evil, it is full of the poison of death.

    Webster's Revision

    But the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison.

    World English Bible

    But nobody can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    but the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison.

    Clarke's Commentary on James 3:8

    But the tongue wan no man tame - No cunning, persuasion, or influence has ever been able to silence it. Nothing but the grace of God, excision, or death, can bring it under subjection.

    It is an unruly evil - Ακατασχετον κακον· An evil that cannot be restrained; it cannot be brought under any kind of government; it breaks all bounds.

    Full of deadly poison - He refers here to the tongues of serpents, supposed to be the means of conveying their poison into wounds made by their teeth. Throughout the whole of this poetic and highly declamatory description, St. James must have the tongue of the slanderer, calumniator, backbiter, whisperer, and tale-bearer, particularly in view. Vipers, basilisks; and rattlesnakes are not more dangerous to life, than these are to the peace and reputation of men.

    Barnes' Notes on James 3:8

    But the tongue can no man tame - This does not mean that it is never brought under control, but that it is impossible effectually and certainly to subdue it. It would be possible to subdue and domesticate any kind of beasts, but this could not be done with the tongue.

    It is an unruly evil - An evil without restraint, to which no certain and effectual check can be applied. Of the truth of this no one can have any doubt, who looks at the condition of the world.

    Full of deadly poison - That is, it acts on the happiness of man, and on the peace of society, as poison does on the human frame. The allusion here seems to be to the bite of a venomous reptile. Compare Psalm 140:3, "They have sharpened their tongues like serpent; adders" poison is under their lips." Romans 3:13, "with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips." Nothing would better describe the mischief that may be done by the tongue. There is no sting of a serpent that does so much evil in the world; there is no poison more deadly to the frame than the poison of the tongue is to the happiness of man. Who, for example, can stand before the power of the slanderer? What mischief can be done in society that can be compared with that which he may do?

    - 'Tis slander;

    Whose edge is sharper than the sword; whose tongue

    Outvenoms all the worms of Nile; whose breath

    Rides on the posting winds, and doth belie

    All corners of the world: kings, queens, and states,

    Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave

    This viperous slander enters.

    Shakespeare in Cymbellna.

    Wesley's Notes on James 3:8

    3:8 But no man can tame the tongue - Of another; no, nor his own, without peculiar help from God.