James 3:1-12 - Restraining The Tongue

1 Not many of you should be teachers, my brothers, because you [should] know that we [teachers] will be judged more strictly. 2 For we all make mistakes in many areas [of life]. If anyone does not make a mistake in what he says, he is a perfect person, capable of keeping a tight rein on his whole life also.

3 Now if we put bits in the mouths of horses so that they will obey us, we can govern the direction of their entire bodies as well. 4 Look, even though ships are huge and are driven by strong winds, still their direction can be governed by a very small rudder, wherever the pilot desires to sail. 5 So, the tongue is a small part [of the body], yet it boasts of great accomplishments. Look at how large a forest is burned up by even a tiny spark. 6 And the tongue is [like] a fire [i.e., like that spark]. [For] the tongue, as a part of the body, is [like] the world of evil. It corrupts the entire life [of a person] and inflames the course of nature itself [i.e., it affects a person throughout his whole earthly existence], and is ignited by hell itself [i.e., the evil produced by the fiery tongue has hell as its source and destiny].

7 For all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and ocean creatures are being subdued and have been subdued by mankind, 8 but no one can subdue the tongue. It is an uncontrollable [source of] evil and full of deadly poison. 9 We praise the Lord and Father with it, and [also] curse men who are created in God's likeness with it. 10 Praise and cursing come out of the same mouth! My brothers, these things should not be happening. 11 Does a spring produce [both] fresh water and salt water from the same opening? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree produce olives or a grapevine [produce] figs? Neither can a salt water [spring] produce fresh water.