3rd May

Week 7 Study

during the Coronavirus pandemic

Prayer of Praise

My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.



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.

New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicised, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Shared Study

In the passage today James moves on from contemplating actions, to more thinking about words. It is not only doing the wrong things which is an issue, but saying the wrong things. When we don’t control our tongues it can be incredibly damaging, both to others and ourselves.

  1. James uses lots of images in this passage to help people understand his meaning (horses, ships, forest fires, taming wild animals!) Which image do you find most helpful and why?

    What sort of words are not pleasing to God? What do you think might be the impact on the whole person if the tongue is not tamed?

  2. ‘We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.’ (James 3:2) What do you think James means by this?

  3. When do you find it difficult to control your tongue? Have you ever thought you were saying the right thing, and then realised later it was the wrong thing to say? Why was that?

  4. ‘Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers this should not be’. (James 3:10) James seems to be accusing the churches of speaking badly of one another, whilst still praising God. Why might this be hypocritical?

  5. Are there any practical things we can do, to control our tongues better?


Dear Lord and Saviour, we are sorry for the times when our words have brought about pain and nastiness and difficulty. We’re sorry when we have spoken things which weren’t true. We are sorry when we have spoken in anger. We are sorry when we have spoken, when we should have kept still. Help us to learn to control our tongues, and to honour you with our words as well as our actions. Amen.

Offer to God your own:

  • TSP (teaspoon prayers!) for yourself - Thank you, Sorry, Please

Prayers for other people


Bless one another as you finish – for example ‘I bless you now, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirt.


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