We are studying James 3:1-12 for Sunday, August 23 – we might call it a text on speech, or perhaps self-expression, probably not “communication,” although we could think about that. Also, a text we studied just a couple of years ago. [Some notes on the text are here, and also here.] We may find the questions from last time still relevant; but now that we have a couple more years under our belts, we might want to ask ourselves:
What comes to mind when we read this text? Does this include anything we have not thought of before? What? Why that, do we think?
Do we notice anything in the text that we didn’t notice before? What? Again, why that, do we think?
[Wonder what has changed since we last studied this text? How is that affecting the way we read it, do we think? What is going on with that?]
Which seems to come first for James, “perfection” [or, maturity] of the person, or “perfection” in speech? What makes us say this? What clues do we get from the text?
[More theoretical – maybe] Do we ourselves have a model for how what we say is related to who we are, and what we do? That is: do we think what we say “is an expression of who we are”? Or, that “the stories we tell ourselves make us who we are”? Or … what? How does that seem to fit with what James is telling us here? Does James seem to support us, or challenge us?
[Here’s one that keeps coming up in book group] Do we have to agree with people to bless them, or can we bless “people made in the image of God” even when we disagree with them? What if we disagree with people? Can we do that without “cursing” them? Does James give us any help with this?
How is what James is saying here related to James 1:19-26, do we think? [“be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger”; thinking one is religious but not bridling the tongue; keeping oneself unstained by the world …]
What about James 2, and the things we might “say” to rich and poor people? Or what we might “say” about having faith?
Would we say James is making a central point so far? What is it?
What could this have to do with “wisdom,” do we think?