The Power of the Tongue
3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters,1 because you know that we will be judged more strictly.2 3:2 For we all stumble3 in many ways. If someone does not stumble4 in what he says,5 he is a perfect individual,6 able to control the entire body as well. 3:3 And if we put bits into the mouths of horses to get them to obey us, then we guide their entire bodies.7 3:4 Look at ships too: Though they are so large and driven by harsh winds, they are steered by a tiny rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination directs. 3:5 So too the tongue is a small part of the body,8 yet it has great pretensions.9 Think10 how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. 3:6 And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents11 the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It12 pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence – and is set on fire by hell.13
3:7 For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature14 is subdued and has been subdued by humankind.15 3:8 But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless16 evil, full of deadly poison. 3:9 With it we bless the Lord17 and Father, and with it we curse people18 made in God’s image. 3:10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.19 3:11 A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? 3:12 Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters,20 or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water.
3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings.21 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. 3:15 Such22 wisdom does not come23 from above but is earthly, natural,24 demonic. 3:16 For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice. 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating,25 full of mercy and good fruit,26 impartial, and not hypocritical.27 3:18 And the fruit that consists of righteousness28 is planted29 in peace among30 those who make peace.