Six New Releases Today!

We have 6 new releases today!

Christ and the Kingdoms of Men: Foundations of Political Life by David C. Innes

264 pages | $19.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER | Kindle: $9.99 | iTunes: $9.99

About

What are a Christian’s civic responsibilities, and why? David Innes provides a principled political theology for understanding our civic “life together” in God’s world. God calls our human officeholders and their civic business to a high moral purpose. His involvement in earthly rule reveals the nobility of political life—a practice it rarely conforms to but to which we should aspire.

Endorsements

“Dr. Innes is far wiser than those such as former Rep. Barney Frank, quoted within as saying, ‘Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.’ Christ and the Kingdoms of Men shows that we have many ways to do things together: all who read it will learn which activities should involve government, and which should not.”

—Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-chief, World magazine

“At once learned and lucid, sophisticated and accessible, the book certainly serves its principal audience—students and the reading public—exceedingly well. But teachers and Christian intellectuals should not be misled by the word Foundations in the subtitle. The book is a formidable synthesis of deep scriptural and theological learning, on the one hand, and a broad and rich understanding of the history of political philosophy, on the other. We will long be in Professor Innes’s debt.”

—Joseph M. Knippenberg, Professor of Politics, Oglethorpe University

“This book is long overdue and much needed. . . . The Lord of heaven desires that we serve him in the governmental-political-legal realm here on earth, and this book helps us know how to do that. In addition, it enables us to ask the important questions that might take us deeper into this most crucial subject. Dr. Innes has given all of us, of whatever theological stripe, a critical work at a critical time.”

—Kevin L. Clauson, Director, Center for Faith, Freedom, and the Constitution, Bryan College

David C. InnesThe Author

David C. Innes (PhD, Boston College; MDiv, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary) is professor of politics and chairman of the program in politics, philosophy, and economics at The King’s College.

 


Created to Care: God’s Truth for Anxious Moms by Sara Wallace

160 pages | $15.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER | Kindle: $9.99 | iTunes: $9.99

About

Young motherhood is a flurry of activity and endless laundry.

God created moms with a heightened sense of awareness in this precious season. Our hearts are uniquely vulnerable to joy and fear at the same time. Between experiencing real trials and just-as-stressful hypothetical ones, we’re a mess. We need an anchor. We need something to tether our minds to when the waves of anxiety threaten our joy.

If you struggle with anxiety as a mom, Sara Wallace wants you to know you’re not alone. What’s more, God’s Word has specific, practical comfort that will help you to embrace this season with peace and confidence. Sara shows how we can learn to have peace in ten critical areas—from our personal insecurities to the spiritual well-being of our children—and provides practical tips from other moms.

Endorsements

“The gospel is the foundation for what it means to be a mother. It is always through this lens that Sara’s wisdom comes shining into our everyday lives, where joining all the dots can be tricky.”

—Kristyn Getty, Soloist; Composer; Hymnwriter; Coauthor, Sing!

“Sara shows anxious moms the great care God has for them and their children. Through personal stories, insightful reflections, and the truth of God’s Word, she points readers to the truth of who God is and what he has done.”

—Christina Fox, Speaker; Author, Sufficient Hope

“Sara Wallace hands anxious mothers a heaping helping of grace that is seasoned with practical advice and one clear message: peace. . . . All mothers should read Sara’s excellent book.”

—Melissa Edgington, Blogger, Your Mom Has a Blog

Sara WallaceThe Author

Sara Wallace is author of For the Love of Discipline and the Bible study The Gospel-Centered Mom and has written articles for the Gospel Coalition and RELEVANT magazine. She and her husband have five sons.

 


The Promise is His Presence: Why God is Always Enough by Glenna Marshall

200 pages | $14.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER | Kindle: $9.99 | iTunes: $9.99

About

What if you didn’t have to go looking for God’s presence? What if you could enjoy it all the time?

Glenna Marshall’s awakening to God’s presence began in the depths of winter. Rereading her journal, she realized that for six months she’d been cataloging all the ways God had abandoned her. What if that . . . wasn’t true? Interweaving her own story of faith and doubt amid suffering, Glenna traces the theme of God’s presence from Genesis to Revelation and shows what it means for us in our own daily joys and struggles.

God’s presence among his people set him apart from the pagan gods of ancient times. His presence on earth as God Incarnate split history in two. And today his presence is one of the most significant means of his goodness to us.

Endorsements

“A truly refreshing read that has forever changed my perspective on suffering.”

—Sara Wallace, Author, For the Love of Discipline and Created to Care

“I commend this book to all those who are seeking the secret to experiencing the nearness of God in the darkest of places.”

—Brian Croft, Senior Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church, Louisville

“A discovery of new and more meaningful ways that God is always near and good and faithful and kind and enough.”

—Kristie Anyabwile, Editor, His Testimonies, My Heritage

“I found a fellow sojourner and was reminded of a faithful shepherd in The Promise Is His Presence.”

—Gillian Marchenko, Author, Still Life: A Memoir of Living Fully with Depression

Glenna MarshallThe Author

Glenna Marshall is a pastor’s wife and mom of two boys. Through infertility, illness, and difficult ministry, she has learned that God’s presence is the answer to life’s every ache. As a writer, speaker, and musician, she loves to point women to the Bible to see God’s goodness in all of life.

 


We also have 3 new Reformed Academic Dissertations

P&R’s Reformed Academic Dissertation (RAD) series consists of top-tier dissertations (Ph.D., Th.D., D.Min., and Th.M.) that advance biblical and theological scholarship by making distinctive contributions in the areas of theology, ethics, biblical studies, apologetics, and counseling. Dissertations in the RAD series are carefully selected, on the basis of strong recommendations by the authors’ supervisors and examiners and by our internal readers, to be part of our collection. Each selected dissertation provides clear, fresh, and engaging insights about significant theological issues.

   


Do Good to All People as You Have the Opportunity: A Biblical Theology of the Good Deeds Mission of the New Covenant Community by John A. Wind

344 pages | $39.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER

About

This book argues for a positive, biblically rigorous vision of the local church’s (and the individual Christian’s) weighty responsibility to do good to all people as they have the opportunity, as well as the continuing priority of the local church’s mission of verbal proclamation to those beyond the New Covenant community.

Endorsements

“This is an engaging book about the work of missions and raises the important questions about good deeds and lasting fruit.”

—Owen Anderson, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Arizona State University

“As evangelicals we need to think clearly about cultural and political realities and how they relate to the gospel, to the kingdom, and to evangelism. John Wind has thought carefully and deeply about these matters, and in this clearly written work he points a way forward that should be considered by all.”

—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Associate Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Verbal proclamation and social action: which is more important in the church’s mission? In his book Do Good to All People as You Have the Opportunity, John Wind helpfully surveys a very important debate in the church and creatively shows how they fit together. He also gives us a timely admonition to use our words carefully lest we dilute the gospel.”

—Donald W. Sweeting, President, Colorado Christian University

“John Wind has taken up a controversial subject with a host of practical implications for the life of the church. . . . This work will be a blessing to the church as it pursues the mission Christ has given it.”

—David Vandrunen, Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics, Westminster Seminary California

The Author

John A. Wind (Adv. M.Div., Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is assistant professor of theology at Colorado Christian University. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Missiological Society. He and his wife, Rachel, have five children.


I See Dead People: The Function of the Resurrection of the Saints in Matthew 27:51–54 by Raymond M. Johnson

232 pages | $39.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER

About

Matthew 27:51–54 and 28:1–10 both focus on Christ’s death and resurrection—so these texts must be read together in order to understand their theological significance. However, over time, interpreters have separated these two pericopae, seeing 27:51–54 as the theological interpretation of the resurrection scene described in 28:1–10. This book instead proposes a literary reading that properly interprets Matthew 27:51–54 in light of the entire death-resurrection scene, rather than seeing it as an isolated occurrence.

Endorsements

“In this perceptive and thoughtful work, Dr. Johnson shows how literary sensitivity can work with theological depth, and how these together support solid historical confidence. There is so much to like here.”

—C. John (“Jack”) Collins, Professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

“This volume should help scholars rethink the resurrection narratives and aid pastors in preaching the riches of believing in a risen Savior.”

—Paul R. House, Professor of Divinity—Old Testament, Beeson Divinity School

“[Raymond Johnson’s] unique and outstanding contribution to the study of Matthew is a great gift to both the academy and the church.”

—Charles L. Quarles, Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology; Director for Ph.D. Studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“This work does justice to Matthew’s literary as well as historical and theological intentions, and in so doing helps all readers appreciate the richness, integrity, and coherence of Matthew’s Gospel and its singular identification of Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world.”

—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Raymond M. JohnsonThe Author

Raymond M. Johnson (M.Div., Th.M., Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is senior pastor at Christ Church West Chester (SBC) in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He has published with The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology as well as Currents in Theology in Mission.

 

200 pages | $39.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER

About

There has been little interaction between the biblical counseling and church planting movements, which have been developing in parallel over the past fifty years. This book explains how to strengthen church plants by incorporating a three-part strategy for biblical counseling; how to evaluate, appoint, and train counseling leaders; and how small-group ministry helps to establish a foundation of soul-care in the new congregation.

Endorsements

“I wish I’d had this book as I stepped into the choppy waters of church planting more than two decades ago. If you’re just getting started in ministry or you’re frustrated by the lack of changed lives, read this book, live it out, and pass it on to others who can do the same!”

—Brad Bigney, Lead Pastor, Grace Fellowship Free Church, Florence, Kentucky

“This book demonstrates the essential nature of biblical counseling in carrying out the Great Commission while offering a strategic plan to implement it, and it would serve as an incredible blessing to any church planter.”

—Kim Kira, Primary Teaching Elder, Lighthouse Community Church, Torrance, California

“Church-planting models have historically focused heavily on identifying church planters with the gifting of entrepreneurship and evangelism. Rush Witt presents an alternative model that emphasizes the call and gifting of the church planter as shepherd and counselor.”

—Zach Nelson, Executive Director, Pillar Church Planting Network

“Rush Witt provides a needed prescription for one often-overlooked tool for bringing the Word of God to bear on unreached communities in a winsome and loving, yet truth-filled fashion through biblical counseling.”

—Matt Rogers, Assistant Professor of Church Planting, Southeastern Seminary

“An invaluable guide in establishing the rich ministry of counseling and training in the church.”

—John D. Street, Professor, The Master’s University & Seminary

Rush WittThe Author

Rush Witt (MDiv, DMin, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is lead pastor of Paramount Church in Bexley, Ohio, and a certified counselor.

 


 

Author Interview with Glenna Marshall

This week’s author interview is with Glenna Marshall. She is the author of The Promise is His Presence: Why God is Always Enough which is releasing 1 week from today — August 1st. Read a sample chapter of his book HERE.

  • Question #1—Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Tennessee and lived there until my husband was called to pastoral ministry at a church in Missouri. We’ve now lived in our small farming community for fourteen years doing local church ministry and raising our boys. In between writing, parenting, and church duties, I also teach piano lessons, lead a women’s Bible study, and disciple a young teen from church. I spend any spare time playing the piano, reading fiction, running, or biking.

 

  • Question #2—When did you first want to write a book?

One of my earliest memories is from grade school when I wrote a story on notebook paper and stapled it together on the sides to form a book. I created a cover for it and wrote my name across the front with a great flourish. It was a terrible story about a princess and her pet monkey and was likely derivative of every fairy tale I’d ever read, but I was proud of it at the time. I majored in creative writing in college after a high school English teacher encouraged me to use the gifts she saw in me. I suppose I’ve always wanted to write books, but I probably better stick to the non-fiction side of book writing!

 

  • Question #3—Do you have a specific spot where you enjoy writing most?

Except for the days I wrote at my local coffee shop, I wrote most of my manuscript at my dining room table. I don’t have an office, so every day I set up my laptop, books, Bible, and notes on the table and write for a few hours. Then I clean it all up so we can eat dinner at the table. I would love to have a dedicated writing space, but in the end, the discipline of writing daily matters more than the location.

 

  • Question #4—Other than the Bible, do you have a favorite book?

A book I return to over and over is Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot. This book is a collection of Jim Elliot’s journals and letters from early college until his death in 1956. His personal writings are relatable and convicting and always leave me loving and longing for Jesus more. Another book I reread regularly is John Calvin’s A Little Book on the Christian Life. This is a very accessible, practical book on the intersection of theology and everyday life. It’s beautifully written and greatly encouraging.

 

  • Question #5—What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write every day and treat it like your job, even if it’s not your job. Set aside hours where you “clock in” and do nothing but write. That means turning off your phone, not answering the door, ignoring household chores, and using your writing time only for writing. That writing muscle will grow as you exercise it regularly. Even if your writing isn’t ready for public consumption just yet, keep writing privately as often as possible. Additionally, read widely. And not just theological books, but fiction. Reading stories will train you to show rather than tell, and you’ll add a lot of descriptive words to your vocabulary which will make your writing richer and more enjoyable for the reader.

 

  • Question #6—Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

I cannot listen to music when I write! I need either absolute silence or white noise. If I write at a coffee shop, I plug in my headphones and listen to a white noise and rain playlist. I find music, even instrumental, to be incredibly distracting.

 

  • Question #7—Favorite flavor of ice cream?

Peppermint

 

  • Question #8—Tea or coffee?

Always coffee, and the stronger the better! I drink Starbucks Sumatra blend as often as possible.

 

  • Question #9—What famous person (living or dead) would you like to meet and why?

I would love to meet Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. Both of their writings shaped my faith in high school and college and continue to have a lasting effect on the way I view suffering and what it means to follow Christ faithfully.

 

  • Question #10—If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?

It’s tough to choose, but aside from the Psalms, 1 Peter has ministered to me and shaped my views of suffering more than just about anything else in my life. I love knowing that Peter was an uneducated fisherman but because he spent so much time with Jesus, he was able to pen such beautifully encouraging words that point us to the radiance of Christ.


How can readers discover more about you and your work?


 

Reformed Expository Bible Studies Series

These Reformed Expository Bible Studies are designed for personal and group use. Each lesson connects to the rest of the Bible and holds to the same standards as the Reformed Expository Commentary series: a high view of Scripture; a Christ-centered focus; a Reformed theological basis; and an emphasis on personal application and prayer.


“Having benefitted, along with many others, from the excellent and accessible Reformed Expository Commentary series, I heartily commend this companion initiative.” —Harry Reeder

“I am thankful to see this development in the Reformed Expository Commentary series, allowing these excellent, pastoral commentaries to get an even wider use in the church.” —Bryan Chapell

“Jon Nielson asks questions on the text that will make the reader think. . . . The Reformed Expository Bible Study series will help readers to understand every text in light of the whole of the Bible—as well as the person and work of Christ.” —Nancy Guthrie

“I highly recommend the Reformed Expository Bible Study series for those who desire to read the Bible through a redemptive-historical lens that will help them to draw out good gospel implications for all of life and ministry.” —Stephen T. Um


Daniel: Faith Enduring through Adversity, A 13-Lesson Study by Jon Nielson

120 pages | $8.49 from Christianbook.com | Mobi: $7.99 | ePub: $7.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER

The fiery furnace. The lions’ den. We all know the stories. But the book of Daniel, with its high moral standard and bewildering prophecies, is daunting nonetheless. Dare to be a Daniel? How could we even begin? Yet one greater than Daniel has perfectly lived a life of exile on our behalf.

 

Galatians: The Gospel of Free Grace, A 13-Lesson Study by Jon Nielson

120 pages | $8.49 from Christianbook.com | Mobi: $7.99 | ePub: $7.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER

We’re all tempted to think there must be something we can do to make ourselves good enough for God—or at least to put ourselves more in his favor. But Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians to liberate us from any form of performance-based religion, no matter how alluring.

 

James: Portrait of a Living Faith, A 13-Lesson Study by Jon Nielson

120 pages | $8.49 from Christianbook.com | Mobi: $7.99 | ePub: $7.99 | SAMPLE CHAPTER

The letter of James, overflowing with literary simplicity and theological depth, rewards thoughtful study. Moreover, it contains the wisdom of God for daily life and points to Christ as the Lord of the church and the giver of grace.


Upcoming Titles

  • Hebrews: Standing Firm in Christ, A 13-Lesson Study
  • Esther & Ruth: The Lord Delivers and Redeems, A 13-Lesson Study
  • Matthew: Making Disciples for the Nations, A 26-Lesson Study

Author Interview with David Innes

This week’s author interview is with David C. Innes. He is the author of Christ and the Kingdoms of Men: Foundations of Political Life which is releasing 2 weeks from today — August 1st. Read a sample chapter of his book HERE.


  • Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I was raised Canadian in a Scottish household. But having come to this great country for graduate studies in 1985, I eventually married a girl from a log house in Massachusetts. We had four children in Iowa where I was a pastor. For the last 15 years, I have been a professor of politics at The King’s College in New York City. I became a U.S. citizen in 2010. In my spare time, I think about what to do in my work time, Sundays excepted.

 

  • What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

I have no patience for the religion of men. Give me God’s thoughts and God’s ways for God’s glory. It is also true in politics that the ill-advised traditions of men are passed off as the wisdom of God’s will. There is much confusion, flotsam, and imprecision on this subject, and I found myself in a position to contribute what no one else was offering.

 

  • Do you have a specific spot where you enjoy writing most?

I have a chair in my study from a living room set my parents bought in 1978 when I was 16. It is very comfortable, suitably sized, and surrounded by all that I need for writing.

 

  • What book are you reading now?

This summer I read The Children of Men, by P.D. James, set in England just 30 years after suddenly and inexplicably everyone in the world lost the capacity to reproduce. She thinks through the effects – political, economic, moral, and psychological – of there being no children and of the awareness of being the final generation on earth.

 

  • Do you have a favorite movie? What is it and why?

The Inner Circle with Tom Hulse about a newly married young projectionist in Stalin’s Kremlin. It’s about politics making itself everything and snuffing out private life and private affections and the tragedy of that. It’s a love story and it gets me every time.

 

  • Do you have a favorite quote? What is it and why?

My favorite quote is my senior quote in my high school yearbook: “But when one is young one must see things, gather experience, ideas; enlarge the mind.” Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

 

  • Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sport’s team?

Hockey, but only the Stanley Cup series. As a boy, I watched Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday at 8. But now you have to buy an extra cable passage to watch hockey, so I don’t. My favorite team is the New York Rangers because they’re mine. Then the Boston Bruins because they were once mine. Then the Toronto Maple Leafs for old time’s sake. But I never see them.

 

  • Favorite food?

Mince and tatties. It is a Scottish meal. Ground beef simmered in a gravy salt (Bisto) and served over mashed potatoes. If it turns out that I’ll be eating this every night for all eternity in the eschatological kingdom, I’ll be fine with that.

 

  • Favorite animal? Why?

A liger. Definitely a liger.

 


How can readers discover more about you and your work?


 

Excerpt from James (REC) by Dan Doriani

Here is an excerpt taken from Chapter 9 of James (Reformed Expository Commentary) by Dan Doriani.


9 — WHO CAN TAME THE TONGUE?

James 3:1–12

THE TRAITS OF THE TONGUE (3:6)

James rightly says, “The tongue . . . is a fire” (3:6a). Its propensity to gossip and its capacity to suggest sin establish it as a source of great wickedness.*4 It stains the whole body. It sets all of life on fire “and is itself set on fire by hell” (3:6b). James describes the tongue three ways.

Its character. The tongue is a microcosm, a concentration point of this world’s evils. James says the tongue is “a world of evil among the parts of the body” (3:6a). The tongue is not necessarily more evil than other members of the body, but speech is involved in almost every form of wickedness. Words themselves are often evil, but we also add wicked words to wicked deeds. Before we strike someone, we may curse him or abuse him. Before we rob someone, we plan it with words, or excuse it with words. So the tongue has a central place in this world’s evils. Yet the tongue is not simply “involved” in evil. It also has great influence.

Its influence. It corrupts “the whole body,” that is, the whole person. James says, “It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire” (3:6b). The tongue plans evil and utters hateful thoughts. We say someone is selfish or lazy because we think it, but when we say it, we think it all the more. Thus the tongue sets the whole course or cycle of life on fire. Throughout the changing circumstances of life, the tongue continues to create evils. When young, we whine; when old, we criticize. When we fail, we excuse ourselves and blame others. When we succeed or our children succeed, we foul it by boasting.

Through every turn of life, the tongue promotes evil. Jesus said, “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean’” (Matt. 15:11). So our mouths corrupt us. The tongue can create evil. Of course, all evils ultimately come from the heart, as Jesus also said: “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’” (15:18).

Its allegiance. In one sense, the evils of the tongue flow from the heart. In another sense, James says Satan himself gives the tongue its destructive power. Hell sets the tongue on fire (James 3:6b). If we wonder why the tongue generates so much trouble, James answers that it is set on fire by hell.

WE CAN TAME ANYTHING BUT THE TONGUE (3:7–8)

James begins the next verse with the word “for” (ESV). That shows he is explaining what he just said. By this we know the tongue is enflamed by hell: mankind can tame anything but the tongue.*5 Every kind of animal “can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:7–8 ESV).

The tongue is restless, unstable, and liable to break out at any time. It is half-tamed at best. At an aquarium, we may behold whales, dolphins, and seals heeding human commands. At the circus, we see birds, horses, camels, elephants, and even tigers perform their routines. If an animal fails to perform, the trainer barks commands to bring it back into line. But who can force the tongue back into line? There is a touch of poetry in James’s answer:

Every kind of beast can be tamed by humankind,

but no one among humans can tame the tongue.

Humankind subdues every kind of animal, but it cannot subdue itself. James’s literal phrasing is a bit awkward: “No one is able to tame the tongue—among humans.” This stilted language makes us think. Human nature cannot control the tongue, yet the tongue must be tamed. Who then, will tame the tongue?

Augustine explains that James “does not say ‘no one can tame the tongue,’ but ‘no man,’ so that, when it is tamed, we admit that it was done by the mercy of God, the assistance of God, the grace of God.”*6 This clarifies James’s pessimism about the tongue. James says two things: The tongue has vast influence, so we ought to control it. Yet no human can tame the tongue. This is a paradox: James says we must do something that we cannot do. There are two ways to approach this problem.

First, we can soften James’s message. He means it is almost impossible to tame the tongue, therefore we must redouble our efforts. This view says: Since the tongue is the key to holy living, we must bend every effort to control it, for if we do, we control all. James’s illustrations seem to support this view. Just as a bit turns a large horse, just as a rudder turns a large ship, so the tongue the lives of men.

One writer compares the tongue to a master switch. The words that the tongue forms control our thoughts and plans. If the tongue were “well under control” so that it refused to formulate “words of self-pity” or “thoughts of anger . . . then these things are cut down before they have a chance to live.”*7

Rudders certainly are important. During World War II, the mightiest German battleship, the Bismarck, sank because its rudder failed. Germany launched the Bismarck to attack Allied shipping. When the British navy intercepted it, the Bismarck sank the Hood, the pride of Britain’s navy, in less than ten minutes. The British put everything into a counterattack while the Bismarck, lightly damaged, steamed to harbor. But one tiny plane dropped a torpedo that struck and irreparably damaged the Bismarck’s rudder. The Bismarck could only go in circles. Within hours, dozens of ships and planes brought all their firepower against that one ship until it sank.

Metaphorical rudders are crucial, too. A misdirected chief officer can wreak havoc upon a corporation. A heedless pastor can decimate a church. The first view says it is very difficult, but we can and must control the tongue, for it is the rudder for human life.

The second view interprets James rather literally. It says: It would be good to tame the tongue, but James says we cannot. Therefore, we must turn elsewhere for help. No one has sufficient self-control to govern his tongue: “We all stumble in many ways” (3:2).“No one”—no mere human—“can tame the tongue” (3:8).


This is an excerpt taken from the middle of chapter 9, pages 110—113 of James (Reformed Expository Commentary) by Dan Doriani.


4. Although many translations (NIV, RSV) say the tongue “is” a fire, the Greek verb kathistatai is not the common word for “is.” Kathistatai is typically translated as “set,” “appoint,” or “establish.” James says the tongue is set or established as a world of evil.

5. The four terms—“beast,” “bird,” “reptile” and “sea creature” (ESV)—correspond to the classes of animals listed in Genesis 1:26, suggesting that humans can tame the whole range of animal life.

6. Augustine, On Nature and Grace, in The Fathers of the Church, trans. John A. Mourant and William J. Collinge (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1992), 86:33.

7. Motyer, The Message of James, 121.