Key Verse

He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
— Proverbs 13:3


James 3:1-18

The importance of having a heart right with God is also stressed in this lesson on the tongue. James explains the spiritual danger of not controlling the words that proceed from the mouth. It has been said: “There is nothing in all the world so good or so bad as the tongue. It can bless or curse, bring joy or wring the heart with sorrow; it can bring peace or war; it can lead to virtue or seduce to vice; it can speak the truth or utter lies; it can be harsh or mild, rough or smooth, refined or vulgar, pure or impure. It is with the tongue we bless God or curse man.” (S. L. Flowers: The Serpent’s Fang)


  1. What things that are small in size, and possibly seem insignificant, are mentioned in our lesson as being of very great importance? Consider the power they exert.
  2. Think on how a large forest fire can be started by a very small spark. How does the Bible compare this to the tongue?
  3. What types of communication will bring the blessing of God, and what kinds will grieve the Spirit of God? See Ephesians 4:29-31; 5:19-20.
  4. Using Ephesians 4:29 and 5:19-20 for guidance, explain the feeling one experiences when speaking things which edify and encourage others.
  5. What does the lesson teach us about a wise man’s conduct and conversation? Ask yourself: Does my conversation qualify me as being wise?
  6. What do these Scriptures teach us to do about controlling our tongue? See Psalms 15:1-4; 34:13; Proverbs 21:23; James 1:26.
  7. Explain how the motives of the heart and the use of the tongue are related.
  8. What is God’s attitude toward the person whose tongue utters those things which proceed from a righteous heart and mind (Malachi 3:16-17)? Give some specific examples of ways the tongue can be consecrated to God’s use.