Sermon For October 20, 2019

Tongue in Cheek

James 3:1-12

  • Sir Walter Scott coined the term in 1828 in his work The Fair Maid of Perth
    • Tongue in cheek meant contempt
      • Contempt- the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn or the state of being despised; dishonor; disgrace.[1]
  • English clergyman Richard Barham used the term in 1842 in his famous work The Ingoldsby Legends and was used in the sense of biting one’s tongue to prevent laughter. 
    • Sarcasm began to be associated with the term.
      • Sarcasm- harsh or bitter derision or irony or sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark.[2]

Romans 3:13-14 and Psalm 5:9-10

Tongue in the Greek is not meant to be understood as a part of the body. 

γλῶσσα-glōssa-gloce’-sah- the tongue; by implication a language.[3]

In Hebrew, tongue H3956 means figuratively (speech, an ingot, a fork of flame, a cove of water): – + babbler, bay, + evil speaker, language, talker, tongue, wedge.

לְשֹׁנָה    לָשֹׁן    לָשׁוֹן lâshôn-leshônâh-law-shone’, law-shone’, lesh-o-naw’. (Psalm 5:9-10) For the body part, it is H3960; the tongue (of man or animals), used literally (as the instrument of licking, eating, or speech)[4]


Cursing has little to do with “four letter words” but the power and intent of the words that we use.  That is what makes gossip and slander so divisive as they are both done to manipulate someone’s opinion towards another person.  This is “HATE” disguised as “HELP”.  There’s isn’t any mercy!

  • Psalm 109 (Entire Psalm of David)- highlight “disgrace”
    • Notice that David goes to God first.  David reveals the bitterness within his own mind, but it DOES NOT come out verbally towards his opposition. (Verses 16 and 17 reveal his accusers neglect of mercy towards him and others)
  • Matthew 7:1-2
  • James 2:12-13


[1] . Accessed Oct. 14, 2019.

[1] .  Accessed Oct. 14, 2019.

[1] Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary.  G1100. Tongue.  

[1] Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary.  H3956. Tongue.

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