My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
In Christianity, unlike other religions, those who function in the role of pastor/teacher have to be called directly by Jesus. And that is why those who are called have a greater responsibility before the eyes of God. And that’s the message James is explaining here in these passages. In addition, for a non-believer to seek this role would be to bring greater condemnation upon themselves during the time of judgment. Also believers who teach have a huge responsibility before God to correctly teach the word of God. And to do so without personal bias and without motive to receive compensation, reward or greater status within the community. In addition, they are held to a different standard of behavior as it relates to studying and preparing to teach the word of God. And to claim to be a teacher and not know and love God’s word is considered rebellion against God. And because of all these things and the consequences involved, James is warning the people not to quickly seek the role of pastor/teacher.
Unlike Judaism the role of pastor/teacher was not meant for social status or influence within the community. Interestingly enough, James points out that all people, including believers stumble and thus he is not claiming teachers need to be perfect. Instead, James explains that they need to have a heart toward God and a love for His word. Most importantly, they need to be called by God to lead others as a pastor. Moreover to be called by Jesus as a teacher meant a greater responsibility before God. James also uses verse two as a transitional verse. He purposely ties teaching and pastoring with the use of the tongue and begins to explain the danger of uncontrolled speech both in teaching and in our day to day lives. James then goes on to give us the perfect ideal which is if a man can control his tongue he would become a perfect and fulfilled man, capable of controlling his whole body. This is almost rhetorical in a sense because we know due to our sin nature how impossible it is to perfectly control the tongue in all circumstances. However, what is impossible now will be possible when we meet Jesus face to face.