2. Stay calm
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Harmless—pure, unmixed from guile, innocent, simple. Beware—caution, keep an eye on. Take no thought—don’t be anxious, troubled, seeking your own interest. Given—granted, supplied. Not just what to say, but also how to say it.
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.3 Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Bridle body—want control over your body—start with your mouth.
Offend—stumble to sin. Great things—has great influence. Tame—constrain. Unruly—not to be held back, restless, incapable of restraint. Apart from God’s help.
James 3:14-16—in between is passage about plants and fountains
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Envying—heat, zeal, ardor, fierceness of indignation. Strife—partisanship, factions. Intrigue, seeking own party’s advancement above all else. Rivalry.