Yesterday, we discussed the power of our words as outlined in James 3:1-12. Today I’m posting a bible study to go with that post. You can scroll to the bottom to get a downloadable version. Enjoy!
Taming the Tongue
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
V 1. Why would teachers, specifically their words, be judged more strictly?
V 2. Look up the definition of perfect and write down a few variations. How do these definitions relate to spiritual maturity?
V 3-5. James uses 3 illustrations of something very small (like taming the tongue) having so much power. List those 3 illustrations and look up images online.
V 6. James describes the tongue as a world of evil. He goes on to say that it corrupts the whole body and sets the course for one’s life on fire. Let’s assume he’s referring to our reputation.
Reputation is defined as a widespread belief that someone or something has a particular habit or characteristic.
Think of some significant roles you have such as spouse, parent, child, co-worker.
• What kind of reputation do your words have in those roles/relationships?
• What kind of reputation would you like your words to have?
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~Psalm 19:14
What do the following verses say about God-honoring words?
• Job 4:4
• Proverbs 12:18
• Proverbs 15:1
• Proverbs 15:4
• Proverbs 16:24
• Proverbs 29:20
• Proverbs 31:26
• Ephesians 4:29
• Colossians 3:8
• Colossians 4:6
• 1 Thessalonians 5:11
• Hebrews 10:24-25
• James 1:19-20
• 1 Peter 3:15
V 7-8. According to Matthew Poole’s Commentary, we cannot tame our tongue nor the tongues of others. Unruly or restless means a tongue cannot be restrained or kept with in bars like a wild animal being tamed. No human can tame the tongue apart from God’s grace.
• Look up and summarize 1 Corinthians 12:9.
V 9-12. According to James, “what should not be”?
Curse is defined as an offensive word or phrase used to express anger or annoyance.
We have all been guilty of “cursing” another person directly to them or to another person about them.
What would a more Godly response look like? Look up the following verses.
• Romans 12:14
• Luke 6:28
Encouragement and a Call to Action!
• Lasting change doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself. Prayerfully depend on God and His grace.
• Choose a scripture you would like to se demonstrated in your life. Write it on a card-memorize the verse-pray for it to be manifested in your life.