What kind of destruction have my words caused?


We LOOKED at 2 illustrations that helped us understand the tongue has the power to ‘direct’ and ‘control’ lives.

We saw: the only way we have the power to control the tongue is by God’s divine power within us, and our willingness to submit to the power of the Spirit.


Let’s zoom in on another illustration in verses 5b-8 and see how and why the tongue has the power to ‘destroy’.

Open GODcha to the Book of James.

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Let’s Ask for Help

Oh Lord, as we come into your presence today quiet our hearts. Show us if there be any wicked way in us that would prevent us from hearing You. If so, may we deal with it. May we hear what You say, and do what You tell us. Thank you!

LOOK at What God Says

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Always Get Going By Reading 

Let’s read James 3:1-12 again with purpose.

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Now focus on the last part of James 3:5.

What does James compare the uncontrolled tongue to?

What can a small fire do?

A fire can start with a small spark; spread rapidly; grow and multiply, destroying forests and cities.

We see: The words of our tongue like a fire can start small, but spread rapidly and grow, causing much destruction.


Now focus on James 3:6.

What does James say the tongue is?

The tongue is a fire.

The tongue is the very world of iniquity.


What does James mean?

LOOK at Other Truths About 

The Tongue Like a Fire

 CR-Cross References-Word Search Tutorial >

Keep Your Ears Open!

Think about who has a tongue like fire? Why? What does their tongue do?

1. What does Proverbs tell us about the tongue being like fire?

a. A worthless man digs up evil, While his words are like scorching fire(Pro 16:27)

We see: the tongue like a fire scorches, it BURNS.


What might the Spirit be asking?

Am I worthless, because I am guilty of digging up evil? 

When have my words scorched like fire?

When have I been on the receiving end of someone’s words that scorched like fire? How did I respond?

Respond to God…LIVE it out!


b. A whisperer (excessive complainer about others, a gossip)is like the wood that fuels the fire,

and contentious (quarrelsome) person kindles (ignitesstrife. (Pro 26:20-21)

We see: The tongue is like fuel that ignites, and the more fuel you give to it, it SPREADS.



Am I a whisperer, a gossip?

When and how was I wood or fuel for someone’s fire?

How do I respond when someone shares a juicy piece of gossip, or is quarrelsome?

When and how have I been contentious, quarrelsome, igniting strife?

What must I do to NOT: gossip; quarrel; or be the wood or fuel for someone’s fire?

Respond to God…LIVE it out!


2. What does Psalms tell us about the tongue?

aThose who love evil more than good, lie rather than speak righteousness, their tongues devise destruction, are like a sharp razor. (Psa 52:2-4)

We see: the tongue DESTROYS.



Do I love evil more than good?

When and why have I lied? 

Do I love to slice and dice? Why?

Who and what has my tongue devised destruction against? 

What must I do to speak righteousness?

Respond to God…LIVE it out!


b. My heart was hot within me, While I was musing the fire burnedThen I spoke with my tongue(Psa 39:3)

We see: The tongue can HEAT things up.



When have I experienced a hot head and heart, that lead me to speak burning words that I later regretted? 

Respond to God…LIVE it out!


3. What do words like fire do, according to Job?

Words can torment and CRUSH. (Job 19:2)



When and how have my words crushed and tormented others?

Or, When has someone’s words crushed and tormented me? How did I respond?

Respond to God…LIVE it out!



 Read Verse 6 Again.

Let’s examine it carefully, to understand why James equates the tongue with fire.


Unlock The Meaning

What are the 4 Key points that James makes about the tongue being a fire

Why don’t we examine each point separately!


1. LOOK at: 

‘The tongue that IS a fire‘; IS ‘the very world of iniquity‘.

Understand God’s Words

Dictionary Tutorial >

These key words are just a tap away.

A Firepúr; (I) Literal fire –  (B) Of the tongue, as kindling strife and discord (James 3:6).


World, kósmosorderly arrangement, a world of something.


Of Iniquityadikía; moral wrongfulness (of character, life or act):—unrighteousness.  Takes by antithesis the sense of impropriety, iniquity, unrighteousness, wickedness (Jas 3:6). This wickedness or unrighteousness, sin, is seen more particularly in the neglect of the true God and His laws and in an adherence to the world or to idolatry; hence, adikía may mean impiety, ungodliness, contempt of God.


TIP: Remember to take the definitions back to the text.

“And the tongue is a fire (as kindling, strife and discord), the very world of iniquity (in itself an order, disposition or arrangement of sin, unrighteousness)…” 


Understand: In itself the tongue is a world of sin, a world of unrighteousness.

“there is no iniquity which an unbridled tongue is not capable of producing; either by itself, when it curses, rails, teaches false doctrine, and speaks evil of God and man; or by means of others, whom it entices, commands, terrifies, and persuades, to commit murders, adulteries, and every evil work.”  Joseph Benson


2. LOOK at: 

The tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the whole body.

Understand God’s Words

 Dictionary Tutorial >

Again key words are just a touch of the finger.

Membersmélos; A limb or member of the body (James 3:5, 6).


Defilesspilóō; to stain or soil, to become dirty.


“…the tongue is set among our members [of the body] as that which defiles [stains] the entire body,”


THINK: Have you ever sat out by a camp fire, or been in a smoke filled room? How difficult is it to get the smell of smoke out of your clothes and hair?

Understand: Smoke from a fire stains everything that it doesn’t burn.

Understand: the tongue is a fire, and it defiles (stains) the entire body.


 LOOK at Other Truths About


 CR-Cross References-Word Search Tutorial >

Hear God Speak!

1. What does Jude tell us?

Save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. (Jud 1:23)

Understand: there are those who deserve mercy, but are to be handled with much fear, so as not to be defiled by their polluted garment.


Do you remember LOOKING at Mat 15:18-20 regarding the tongue?


2. What are the things that proceed from the mouth that defile?

We LEARNED: the things that defile are: evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.


What Do We LEARN


The Tongue: 
Like a Fire

it scorches;

it spreads;

it destroys;

it torments and crushes.


The Tongue: 

Is a world of sin, unrighteousness.

Defiles the whole body.

Stains everything it doesn’t burn.


Our tongue has the power

to tear down and destroy: people, churches, relationships, nations.


to build up: encouraging, comforting, and strengthening ALL.


You did great! We have 2 more points to LOOK at, but we’ll do that next time.


Let’s Call It a Day

Ponder and chew on all God is saying to you through His messenger James about our tongues.

Are you convicted, as I am?


Talk to God who loves you and tells you and me these things to change us.

It is for our good!

He is in the business of transforming and perfecting us so we will lack nothing!


Note What You LEARNED

Did you journal the 3 illustrations that James gave us about the tongue?

Note your discovery about this 3rd.

Video Tutorial>  Notes Tutorial > 


Turn What You LEARNED Into a Prayer


OH FATHER GODas You reveal Truth to us, may we all consider how we use our tongues. Make us more discerning and aware of our words. Oh, Father we all are guilty of boasting, please forgive us. It might be about what we own or do; or how wonderful our children and/or grandchildren excel in athletics or school; and the list goes on. May we all consider how we boast and why, and recognize the fires that can be created by our boasting. May we catch ourselves and really, truly think before we speak. Oh, we don’t want to be worthless digging up evil and our words scorch in any way. We don’t want to be whisperers, gossips or quarrelsome, igniting strife. May we determine in our hearts not use our tongues to slice and dice like a razor and destroy. And when others torment or crush us, may we respond as You would Lord Jesus, with silence. Please help us to make an about face from tearing down and destroying, to building up! May we encourage, comfort, and strengthen ALL we are in contact with. Thank you that we are overcomers, more than conquerors through You, Lord Jesus, who love us, (Rev 2:26; 3:21; 21:7; Rom 8:37-39)

You are doing great! Keep pressing on!

Rest and worship the Lord!

In a couple of days we will continue to LOOK at the tongue having the power to destroy.

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