Because in his letter James uses the word "brother" so very often, you cannot read his descriptions of how to live out the faith without filtering it through the connection of brotherhood. Kinship. Family. As my friends in Mississippi say, "How's ya mama -n- them?" Family matters.
James gets to this place where he goes straight to the bone of how brothers are to live, then, in the light of what it means to have kinfolk in the name of Jesus. "If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless." (James 1:26)
If you are the least bit concerned with a solid understanding of God's word, then there are non-negotiable rules one must use when it comes to the interpreting the Scriptures. Of these basic fundamentals is the fact that you cannot simply read a passage in context, that is, what comes before and after it. You must go further and read the passage in light of the entire book in which it's written. To get a tight grip on what James 1:26 is all about, it must be understood in light of all of what he's saying about God, life, faith ... and brotherhood. This way you can see what he's getting at when he talks about the tongue as it fits together as a whole, not just as a chapter.
Then it becomes all too clear ... brothers do not slander brothers.
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