06 November 2015
by Philip Layton


James warns about the power of the tongue for good and evil

Click here to read James 3

Discussion Questions

  • The power of the tongue is sometimes underestimated (vv 1-12); have you tamed yours?
  • What circumstances can lead you to lose control over your tongue?
  • If one fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control, how can we use this knowledge to control the tongue?

Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag. Don't forget this week's Children's Challenge!

Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'

As young children, playing at school during recess time, many of us picked up the little phrase, ‘Sticks and tones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!’ Not true! Words can bite, sting, plunge deep into our heart. Someone saying something hurtful can do great damage – often lasting a very long time.

The tongue can poison people, can poison relationships. The tongue can be quick to spit out harsh words that cause intense pain. And once the words are out, they can’t be retrieved. Yet, destructive as it can be, the tongue can also bring refreshment, healing, encouragement, comfort: 

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father (v.9).

We can bring such praise to God when we speak and sing. We can also build up one another with words of affirmation. Children need to be encouraged – spurring them on to be better people. Adults need to hear words of praise – not to boost their egos, but to make them better and even more productive as people. Seniors need to be told they have worth and value, so they can impart their knowledge and wisdom to younger generations.

It’s so easy to spit out words that are unkind, damaging, have negative connotations. We all need to control the tongue, control our thought-life, by calling on the Holy Spirit to tame our tongue. Instead, God would have us use the tongue he has given us in lifting up his name, telling others of his love. Our tongue needs to be wholly sanctified – in order that it be used only for God’s glory.


Throughout the day, let’s pay particular attention to the words we say – to God, family, others. May they be words that honour the Lord.

Evelyn Merriam

Tags: James