"The Six Tests of Faith"
based on an outline by D. Edmond Hiebert, found in "The Unifying Theme of the Epistle of James," Bibliotheca Sacra Vol 135, #539

J. Deering,

TEST NUMBER FOUR: James 3:1-18
"The Control of the Tongue"

3:1  Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment. 

What a person teaches to another person, when done as "the Gospel," and represents The Word of God, must be consistent with "the Gospel," and in fact be a truthful and accurate presentation of the "rightly divided" Word of God. Those who mistreat their position as a teacher or present that gospel as "Another gospel," or who are not consistent with the truth of the Scriptures are due a very strict judgment indeed. 

Those who take on the highly regarded position of a teacher of God's Word should be aware that taking on the position for the "glory" of being a teacher and are not willing to do the work, to love His Word, to Meditate upon it day and night are not only NOT WORTHY OF THE TASK, but will be held responsible for the damage they do by God. 

2       For we all stumble in many ways. 

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" 

If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 

There is only One Perfect Man The Lord Jesus Christ, so these verses apply to every other human being.

Instructions and Warnings to ALL

3  Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4  Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder, wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5  So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6  And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.


7  For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race. 8  But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

James VS Jeremiah

James 3:8

"But the tongue no one in the human race is able to control. It is a restless, unstable evil, full of lethal poison." (Wuest)

"but the tongue of man no one is able to tame. It is an unruly evil, full of death-dealing poison." (GK)


Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (KJV)

"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?" (NASB)


1.      The Tongue is SET among our members (parts of the body)
2.      The Tongue is ABLE to DEFILE the whole body (You, as a person)
3.      The Tongue is ABLE to BURN UP all the goodly works of your life
4.      The Tongue is the REPRESENTATIVE of the HEART

9  With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10  from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11  Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12  Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Neither can salt water produce fresh. 

Things in nature remind us that the ability to bless and curse is restricted to man. Only with man is there the divided heart. We have the ability to turn on and off either blessing or cursing by design. Created as a blessing, cursed with the fall which will control you? 

13  Who among you is wise and understanding? 

Can you now see it? You are a product of being made in the image of God, created to bless, but through the Fall you were broken, you are damaged goods, your old nature desires to curse because it has become cursed. However, you have been bought-out from the curse through the price that Christ paid at the Cross. Your responsibility is to now "STOP LETTING SIN REIGN IN YOUR MORTAL BODIES IN SUCH A WAY THAT YOU OBEY ITS EVIL DESIRES!" (Romans 6:12). Control Your Tongue! 

Let him show (Imperative: You, Let him show ... ) by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 

NOW, knowing who you are control your tongue, act with wisdom in your deeds, and show forth the gentleness (blessing, sweetness) of God in your actions. 

14  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant (Imperative: You, do not exalt over ... ) and so lie (Imperative: You, do not lie) against the truth. 15  This wisdom (the lie against the truth) is that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 

Wisdom which comes from YOU which harbors bitter jealousy and selfish ambition is just THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL active in your Old Self and Comes Not From God. DON'T LIE TO YOURSELF ABOUT IT! 

The Results of This Test
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18  And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

KNOW THIS If your Wisdom is Pure, Peaceable, Gentle, Reasonable, Full of Mercy and Good Fruits, Unwavering, Without Hypocrisy Then, and THEN ONLY does it come from God. Only THIS WISDOM will result in the Fruit of Righteousness and only THIS WISDOM will sew Peace as you will truly be a man or woman of peace (reconciler those who reconcile men and women to God).