November 4/James 3

In Verses 1-4 James is saying that the tongue has the power to direct lives.

Verse 1 > Teachers should be more mature and more responsible than their students. What they teach will more than likely direct the lives of their students. You may have chosen the career you have today because of what a teacher said to you. If they teach things that are contrary to the bible they may direct a lot of lives away from the word of God. That is what is happening in a lot of our high schools, colleges and universities today. On the other hand if they have a great love for the scriptures their teaching will always be honest and they may direct many lives to Jesus. Many of us are parents and as parents we are also teachers and the way we use our tongues will guide and direct the lives of our children.

Proverbs 10:31–32 (NLT) — 31 The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off. 32 The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.

Proverbs 15:2 (NLT) — 2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.

Verse 2 > The is perhaps the hardest part of our body to control so James is saying if we learn to control the tongue it will greatly help in controlling the rest of our body. The person that has disciplined his or her tongue proves that they are mature people. If you are wondering how mature a person is listen to the words that come out of their mouth. This is a good way to discern which kids or adults to let our children hang out with. It is a good way for us to discern who we should hang out with.

Proverbs 15:7 (NLT) — 7 The lips of the wise give good advice; the heart of a fool has none to give.

Matthew 15:18 (NLT) — 18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you.

Proverbs 21:23 (NLT) — 23 Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.

Verses 3-4 > both the bit and the rudder must overcome contrary forces > the wild nature of a horse and the currents of the water and wind. It takes a strong hand to control them. The tongue must overcome the contrary force of the sinful nature on the inside and contrary circumstances on the outside. It also takes a strong hand of self-control.

Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) — 21 The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

Because David knew all about the tongue and the damage or the good it could do he prayed:

Psalm 141:3–4 (TNIV) — 3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil…

When Jesus is Lord of our heart he is also Lord of our lips.

Matthew 12:34 (NLT) — 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

The bit and rudder have the power to direct, which means they affect the lives of others. A runaway horse or a shipwreck could mean injury or death to pedestrians or passengers. The words we speak affect the lives of others. A judge says “Guilty!” or “Not Guilty!” and those words affect the destiny of the prisoner, his family, and his friends. The President of the United States speaks a few words and signs some papers and the nation is at war. Even a simple yes or no from the lips of a parent can greatly affect the direction of a child’s life.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 359). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Proverbs 15:1 (NLT) — 1 A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

Proverbs 12:22 (NLT) — 22 The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.

Proverbs 10:19 (NLT) — 19 Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.

Our words have the power to direct others in the right direction. Jesus spoke to a woman at a well and most of the town placed their faith in him > see John 4. Peter preached a message and 3,000 people came to saving faith in Jesus > see Acts 2.

The tongue is like a bit and a rudder; it has the power to direct. It is very important for us to direct people in the right way! Ask God to create a clean heart within you. A clean heart will produce clean words. Hey Hilltop let us be know as people who have control of their tongues!

Be Inspired Hilltop!



  1. Mark Gundersen says

    In verses 17 and 18 we are instructed in wisdom from above. That wisdom can be summed up in 4 letters: LOVE. The characteristics of that wisdom are the same as the definition, active not passive, of love in 1 Corinthians 13. Solomon had that type of wisdom but he allowed it’s giving in to others to lead him from God. You are not to insist on your way but must insist on God’s way. Let us live lives where we let God control our tongues and show heavenly wisdom in our lives.