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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Some thoughts on the tongue

The Wikipedia has a fine article on the human tongue. Among other things, it tells me that we have 16 muscles in our tongues. It also reminds me of something that I already knew, namely that there's a bone in our tongue, the hyoid bone. I've never felt mine, but they tell me that it's there. It's the only bone not attached to any other bone. Its function is to give anchor to several muscles, of the tongue and other nearby structures.

We sometimes say that we use our tongues to speak. Of course, we also use them to taste, to clean (especially in cats), to manipulate food in our mouths in various ways, in some types of kissing, as a signal or gesture, and probably in other ways I haven't thought of.

Make a "b" sound. Now make a "t" sound. Do you feel the difference, in what your tongue is doing? Compare an "m" and an "n" in the same way. Although our tongue is not the only body part used in speech and song, it is an important part in those activities.

The Bible has a lot to say about the tongue, directly or indirectly. I believe that all the direct references are to speech. Here are a few statements:
1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (All quotations from the ESV.)

Philippians 2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

James 1:26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

James 3:5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Deuteronomy 5:11 “‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

Thanks for reading. Watch your tongue! (Which is almost impossible, without a mirror.)


FancyHorse said...

I didn't know we had a bone in our tongues! I had never heard that before. I learned something new, thank you.

Martin LaBar said...

You are welcome.

Thanks for commenting.