The Tongue is small and powerfully influential:
1. As we have been going through James, how does he connect "words" and "works"? In what ways can words make or break your day? Your life? Those who hear your words?
2. To what spheres of teaching does verse one apply? Is James referencing only those who teach in church settings? What about in a small group? Schools? Gatherings of friends and family? Disciple-making? How does the rest of this passage help answer this question?
3. If James is giving a warning to his hearers to not so quickly pursue teaching, how can we apply that to us as hearers in regards to who we ourselves listen to? What responsibility do we have in who we consider to be our teachers? Should we not watch youtube videos of others' teaching? How about reading others' blogs or social media posts?
4. Read James 3:3-6. Is it possible that James is exaggerating here? Does the tongue really have that kind of power? How do his analogies of a horse bit, ship rubber, and a growing fire help shed light on his claim?
The Tongue is small and powerfully destructive:
1. Does James consider the tongue to actually be evil? What is he getting at when he says the tongue is a "fire, world of evil...a restless evil, and full of deadly poison?"
2. Share examples of "word fires" you have either seen, mistakenly started, or help extinguish. How did they start? How did this "fire" spread? How was it put out?
3. Read Matthew 12:36-37, James 1:26, and James 3:8. What is a proper response to the strong language from Jesus and James? Knowing that on this side of eternity we will sometimes misspeak, how do we apply grace? Should we simply never speak again? Can we really never hope to control the tongue?
4. Read Proverbs 11:9, 18:21, 21:23, Ephesians 5:4, Colossians 3:8, and James 3:9-12. How can we apply the wisdom in these passages to our lives? What does it look like to truly live a life of speech that is always a blessing to its hearers?
Watch what you say and commit to climate change:
1. How is watching what we say not just about developing new vocabulary, but more about a revealing of what is in the heart?
2. How can watching what our words produce in our hearers be helpful in guiding our speech towards holiness?
3. Read Ephesians 5:29. How can a change in our speech really have the power to bring "climate change?" Spend time practicing words of encouragement with one another today!