6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.- KJV

Trying to get a sense of the intended meaning here. Any grammatical help would be appreciated.


The KJV, EGNT (Englishman's Greek New Testament interlinear), J N Darby, Young's Literal and Green's Literal all have 'the course of nature'.

The Wycliffe has 'the wheel of our birth', which is a translation of the Vulgate. The Douay Rheims, also from the Vulgate, has 'the wheel of our nativity'.

Tyndale has 'setteth afire all that we have of nature'.

Τροχια is 'path' and τροχος is 'course' (KJV).

I think, looking at all of this, 'wheel' is a mistranslation, possibly due to the Latin influence. It seems to be not the wheel that James is seeing on fire, but the path on which one travels.

Thus the tongue sets on fire the very path which nature travels on. The flames are behind one and in front of one and one can do nothing but progress on this course, inevitably.

Behold what a great matter a little fire kindleth. Once kindled, it burns all in its path, ferociously - consuming everything.

Best to manage one's tongue and to be the master of it, than set alight the very path on which one must walk.

  • @ Nigel. Good answer +1. Good insight on the path of nature. That's what I was surmising. It seams that it's a state of being which God has ordained that we should walk according to this course of nature. What do you think of a connection to Ezekiel's "wheel within a wheel"?
    – alb
    Aug 22 '18 at 23:00
  • @alb I understand the 'wheel within a wheel' to be related to the motions of creation - orderly cycles within orderly cycles. But that is only my own personal impression. I cannot substantiate it.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 7 '18 at 18:21

Other translations read “course of life” and James in these verses stresses that effort is required to control the tongue.

In verses 4-5 James compares the ships rudder as being a very small part of the ship, and that a small fire can set a huge forest on fire, so is the tongue a small part compared to our body, yet it can set the course of nature/wheel of life aflame, thus making the whole life of a person ,a vicious circle –restless evil and full of deadly poison, resulting in the user being condemned by God to death in hell/Gehenna.

James 3:8 (NRSV)

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

Romans 3:13 (NRSV)

“Their throats are opened graves; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of vipers is under their lips.

Proverbs 16:27 (NASB)

A worthless man digs up evil, While [a]his words are like scorching fire.


Course of Nature / Wheel of birth indicates reincarnation and rebirth.

At the 2nd Council of Constantinople in 553AD most evidence of reincarnation was deliberately removed and labelled blasphemy by MAN. Manipulation and omission of holy scripture and the narrated words of the Jesus avatar does not mean that He did not speak about it?

There are still traces of reincarnation left in the current Bible. See YouTube video "Was Reincarnation Deleted From The Bible"


The main thing is that Jesus is God's wisdom and our Savior through faith. We can not tame our tongue. No man can. Only God can. This Is the greatest mystery of all. God's love and mercy. The work of thr Holy Spirit in us.

Our wisdom is only demonical, the pure wisdom is Jesus. He is the answer. Wheel of birth is in a concept in Aramean Bible too. I Wonder if is it an expression of our life; birth to death with sin in us; Original sin is the result of the fall from one generation to the next, we are born with it and die under it unless we accept God's salvation, Jesus.

Every time we curse or speak the things we should not, we light the fire and burn our way to heaven, without God's wisdom we would be dead forever.

  • Welcome to the site, Kristiina. If you care to take the 'Tour' at the bottom of this page, you will see that more is required than just stating one's beliefs or opinions; sources need to be cited / quoted to back up claims. In Hermeneutics, exposition has to be logically shown, leading to a substantiated conclusion. So, if you can expand your answer, and fill it out with sources that back up your claims, that would be really good.
    – Anne
    Oct 1 at 14:27

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