1. We started by stating that the misuse of the tongue is often the easiest way to sin & then looked at the various elements of the tongue from this passage.
A: James starts by giving a word of caution concerning teaching. Teaching requires USE of the tongue…and the more we use our tongue, the more likely we are to MISUSE the tongue. What are examples of misusing the tongue in our world today?
B: The word of caution to any considering teaching also reminds us of the spiritual influence that we can have on others. What changes in our speech when we realize the influence or impact we can have on another?
C: In v. 2, we see a connection to Romans 3:23. If we all struggle with our use of the tongue & sin in general, why are some prone to hiding this struggle rather than facing it head on? Why is it good to allow others to walk alongside, encourage, offer accountability in our fight against sin?
D: We were asked to think on Christ in light of v. 2. Jesus spoke the perfect words at the perfect moment with the perfect tone and the perfect motive each time he spoke. How does thinking about Jesus’ use of speech challenge your own use of speech? Is there a specific component of how Jesus spoke (words, moment, tone, motive) that strikes you as more difficult than the others?
2. From v. 2b-6, James speaks on the dominance & destruction of the tongue.
A: James shows how powerful the tongue is through several examples. How have you seen words spoken either to you or by you proven to be powerful?
B: James goes into great detail on the idea of the tongue being a fire that destroys & stains the whole body. This is a vivid image that James gives to the reader of the destructive nature of the tongue, how would we treat our use of words differently if we took this descriptive warning seriously?
3. James talks about the unrelenting & duplicitous nature of the tongue in v. 7-12.
A: In v. 7-8, the tongue is compared to animals & is ultimately described as “a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” How would you treat something if you were warned that it is a restless evil & full of deadly poison? How does that compare to the way we view the tongue?
B: James looks at the hypocrisy of the tongue in v. 9-12 & is bothered by this deceitfulness from the tongue. If we are bothered by this hypocrisy of the tongue, how do we fight against it?
C: James offers two rhetorical questions in v. 11-12 that cause us to examine our own lives. It will lead us to ask whether we are a follower or foe of Christ because our tongue reveals our heart. READ Matthew 12:37. How does the tongue show who we really are?
4. We ended with points of application.
A: We heard that right speech starts with a right heart. We were encouraged to repent & experience the grace of God. For those that have done this, how has God’s grace transformed your use of words?
B: We were also encouraged to call out for help from God as we are in this struggle over our use of the tongue. How does our calling out to God in a time of need bring glory to God?
C: Finally, we heard of how a timely word of encouragement can be good for the soul in this midst of the fight. Who are the people in your life that you can encourage this week?