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James 3:3 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Now if we put the horses' bridles into their mouths that they may obey us, we turn about their whole body also.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Behold, we put bits in the mouths of horses, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Behold, we put the bits in the mouths of the horses, that they may obey us, and we turn round their whole bodies.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Now, if, the horses bits, into their mouths, we thrust, to the end they may be yielding to us, their whole body also, do we turn about.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— lo, the bits we put into the mouths of the horses for their obeying us, and their whole body we turn about;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— For if we put bits into the mouths of horses, that they may obey us: and we turn about their whole body.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Behold, we put bittes in the horses mouthes, that they may obey vs, and we turne about their whole body.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— For, behold, bridles into the mouth of horses we throw that we may make them submissive to us, and their whole body we turn.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Behold, we put bridles into the mouth of horses, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Behold, 2400
{2400} Prime
ἰδού
idou
{id-oo'}
Second person singular imperative middle voice of G1492; used as imperative lo!.
z5628
<5628> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Imperative (See G5794)
Count - 459
we put 906
{0906} Prime
βάλλω
ballo
{bal'-lo}
A primary verb; to throw (in various applications, more or less violent or intense).
z5719
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
bits 5469
{5469} Prime
χαλινός
chalinos
{khal-ee-nos'}
From G5465 a curb or head stall (as curbing the spirit).
in 1519
{1519} Prime
εἰς
eis
{ice}
A primary preposition; to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, etc.); also in adverbial phrases.
the x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
horses' 2462
{2462} Prime
ἵππος
hippos
{hip'-pos}
Of uncertain affinity; a horse.
mouths, 4750
{4750} Prime
στόμα
stoma
{stom'-a}
Probably stregthened from a presumed derivative of the base of G5114; the mouth (as if a gash in the face); by implication language (and its relations); figuratively an opening (in the earth); specifically the front or edge (of a weapon).
that y4314
[4314] Standard
πρός
pros
{pros}
A strengthened form of G4253; a preposition of direction; forward to, that is, toward (with the genitive case the side of, that is, pertaining to; with the dative case by the side of, that is, near to; usually with the accusative case the place, time, occasion, or respect, which is the destination of the relation, that is, whither or for which it is predicated).
they 846
{0846} Prime
αὐτός
autos
{ow-tos'}
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
may obey 3982
{3982} Prime
πείθω
peitho
{pi'-tho}
A primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty).
z5745
<5745> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 105
us; 2254
{2254} Prime
ἡμῖν
hemin
{hay-meen'}
Dative plural of G1473; to (or for, with, by) us.
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
we turn about 3329
{3329} Prime
μετάγω
metago
{met-ag'-o}
From G3326 and G0071; to lead over, that is, transfer (direct).
z5719
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
their 846
{0846} Prime
αὐτός
autos
{ow-tos'}
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
whole 3650
{3650} Prime
ὅλος
holos
{hol'-os}
A primary word; 'whole' or 'all', that is, complete (in extent, amount, time or degree), especially (neuter) as noun or adverb.
body. 4983
{4983} Prime
σῶμα
soma
{so'-mah}
From G4982; the body (as a sound whole), used in a very wide application, literally or figuratively.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

James 3:3

_ _ Behold — The best authorities read, “but if,” that is, Now whensoever (in the case) of horses (such is the emphatic position of “horses” in the Greek) we put the bits (so literally, “the customary bits”) into their mouths that they may obey us, we turn about also their whole body. This is to illustrate how man turns about his whole body with the little tongue. “The same applies to the pen, which is the substitute for the tongue among the absent” [Bengel].

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on James 3:1-12.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

James 3:3

We — That is, men.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

James 3:3

(4) Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

(4) He shows by two comparisons, the one taken from the bridles of horses, the other from the rudder of ships, how great matters may be brought to pass by the good control of the tongue.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion [is] vain.
2 Kings 19:28 Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
Psalms 32:9 Be ye not as the horse, [or] as the mule, [which] have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
Psalms 39:1 [[To the chief Musician, [even] to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.]] I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
Isaiah 37:29 Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

2K 19:28. Ps 32:9; 39:1. Is 37:29. Jm 1:26.

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User-Posted Comments on James 3:3


The tongue is key to the life of surrender and self-discipline. Just as beasts are brought to submission by a small device, so our entire humanity is brought into submission when our tongues are under control.
- A Friend (3/3/2012 9:19:30 AM)
What is interesting to note here is the phrase "and we turn about their whole body". James is essentially talking about the tongue and its creative ability that our understanding of its creativity has been dulled. James is saying that as little as it is , the tongue has power to completely turn about a horse which would probably be a thousand times bigger than the 'bit', from the course it is set on. This is a comparrison to how our tongues has ability to change the course of our destiny if we so rightly order its usage.
- Keys of David (10/18/2011 2:08:58 PM) [qBible.com]
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