July 20, 2018

Waggin’ Tongues and Wagon Wheels

By Jim R. Everett

"And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell (gehen-na)" (James 3:6) (ASV).

It is difficult to understand exactly what James has in mind by "the wheel of nature," or as expressed in the King James Version, "the course of nature." The Greek word trokon means a wheel (Thayer). There are three possible explanations for the meaning of this phrase: (1) the machinery of life; (2) the whole world being pictured as a wheel with societies being the spokes which when set on fire destroy one another; (3) or in connection with the word "nature" (genete) which means source, origin, birth, nativity, existence or life; it might well be that James is picturing the cycle of life which begins at birth and runs its course. I believe the last explanation to be the more plausible of the three, but whichever is true, James says there is a connection between the tongue and the wheel of nature such that the waggin' tongue sets on fire the wagon wheel.

How very much the tongue is like a fire: it flicks its flame and sears the soul of a man; it spreads its sparks of propaganda, warming the tempers of men and leaving behind its smoldering coals of resentment and hate. Its inflammation is from hell itself, WHICH MUST CERTAINLY BE THE END OF THOSE WHO HAVE WAGGIN' TONGUES!

Truth Magazine VIII: 7, p. 3
April 1964