Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 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. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
1. The book of James is a reminder of Christian duty amidst salvation by faith alone. Duty that proceeds to require every part of our worship, heart soul, mind and strength, to honour God with our bodies, including our tongue (1 Cor 6: 12-20)
2. Christian ministers are held to a stricter standard , should not be double tongued (2 Tim 3:8)
3. The sin of the tongue can manifest as flattery (unduly praising others to one’s own benefit (Proverbs 26:28) stir anger, among others.
4. The sin of the tongue has the capacity to steer all of life and its relationships (James 3:3)
5. The tongue can be a vehicle of kindness, wisdom or harshness. (Proverbs 31:26, James 3:3)
6. Christians are likened to fresh water ponds, fig trees, grapevines (3:11-13)
7. The tongue can be an indicator of a double life (3:10)
8. We are called to exercise exceptional control of the tongue (James 1:19, James 3:7)
9. The tongue is a vehicle of positives like prayer (James 3:9, Ps 19:14) wisdom, encouragement, (1 Thes 4:18)
1. What sins of the tongue am I often given to?
2. How does flattery obscure the truth of God?
3. Which warnings about the tongue do I find in proverbs?
4. Which relationships in my life have I experienced the devastating consequences of the tongue, how does the gospel address my predicament?
5. What controls the tongue according to Jesus? (Matt 12:34)
6. In what ways is silence often a mark of wisdom? (Prov 17:28. 18:2)
7. What should characterize believers’ speech? (Eph 5:19)