Fruitful use of the Tongue - the letter by James

Fruitful use of the Tongue (brief notes)


The book of James is a practical book, taking faith as its key theme, and demanding that a man who says he is saved demonstrates it in his daily walk, this means in the use of money, the control of the tongue, the relationships formed, the interaction with the world and saints, the discipline of daily life, to name but a few.

  • Tongue
  • Boast not
  • Show no partiality
  • Prayer
  • Our walk with the Lord – Godliness

Key verse 1:22 – be doers of the word

Principle 2:18 – faith without works is dead

Control the Tongue

  • The small tongue can do large things
  • Bits in horses mouths 3:3
  • Rudder on a ship 3:4
  • Match in a forest -> large fire 3:5
  • The uncontrolled tongue can defile (corrupts NIV) the whole person
  • It can be double minded 3:8
  • Boast not (3:14, 4:16)
  • For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 3:16
  • Humble yourselves 4:10

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17

For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,"
Says the Lord.
'But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word. Isaiah 66:2

  • Do not speak evil of one another, brethren (4:11)
  • Confess you faults one to another (5:16) – don’t boast (4:16)
  • Be careful what you say and how you say it. The tongue must be controlled (3:10), we should not speak evil of one another (4:11)
  • But if you show favouritism (partiality, respect to persons), you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. (2:9) (NIV)


  • Let him pray 5:13
  • Luke 18:1, 21:36 (Pray always) as Paul did (2 Thess 1:11)
  • Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14
  • Without wrath or doubting (1 Timothy 2:8)
  • In faith (5:15a)
  • Fervently… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (5:16KVJ)
  • For our leaders and people in authority (2 Timothy 2:1)
  • Prayer can accomplish much.
  • Incense of the Saints in heaven Rev 5:8
  • Continue steadfastly Romans 12:12
  • Will save the sick (James 5:15)
  • Can avail much – be effective (James 5:16) – see also Daniel, Nehemiah etc
  • Be regular – morning, midday and evening David prayed (Psm 55:17)
  • For those who spitefully use you (Matt 5:44) – Also see Matt 6:5 etc

Our Walk with the Lord - Godliness

  • Testing of faith -> patience (perseverance NIV) -> mature, complete, perfect, lacking nothing (1:3-4)
  • Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. (3:13)
  • Therefore submit to God. (4:7a)
  • If you lack wisdom – ask God 1:5
  • Be merciful – requires faith and patience - 2:13
  • The rich oppressor will be judged 5:1-6
  • Deal with lust 4:1-6 – unbridled lust causes fighting, legitimate desires we ask of God.
  • Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (4:7b)
  • Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
  • Wait for the Lord (5:7b) – patiently (5:8)

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:25-26

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, Philippians 3:20 (See also 1 Thess 4

  • Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded (4:8)
  • Submit to God (4:7)
  • Abide in Christ (John 15)

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. John 8:31

Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning…
1 John 2:24

  • Always plan for the coming of the Lord, for who knows what will happen tomorrow (4:13). Say "if the Lord wills"
  • Be careful who your friends are – friendship with the world is enmity (NIV hatred, actually an adulteress) with God – if you cannot pray with that "friend" then they cannot be such a friend – 4:4.
  • But be ye doers of the Word
  • Read the Bible everyday – a person who is a doer of the word, ever hungers for more of the word to act upon. Read, meditate, and do the word – always ask after reading a passage – who can I practically act upon the passage/text that I have read. How should I change my life to reflect the passage/text.


  • Faith is the essence of a Christian life, evidenced by the walk of that person. The works one does - not out of an attempt to be saved, but out of reverence and submission to Christ – glorifies God (Lev 10:10). By works faith is made perfect.
  • Wisdom that is from above is first pure (3:17)
  • Elijah was a man just like us, and had every weakness as we do, yet his effective fervent prayer stopped the rain for 3 years! (5:17)
  • All must control the tongue for it can do great damage - 3:10
  • All must glorify God
  • By good conduct (a good life NIV) a person can show his works are done in meekness of wisdom – the hallmark of a Christian (3:13)
  • Be sober, watch and pray (1 Peter 4:7)
  • If one brother or sister turns a fellow believer from his errant ways, he has prevented an entire cascade of sin, because a sin of one does not effect only one, but many (5:20)
  • And if one member suffers (of the congregation) all the members (of the congregation) suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Corinthians 12:26 (NKJV)
  • We are waiting for the Lord – this needs patients 5:7. – See also 1 Thess 4:16

Practical Questions

How have you lived on the world?

  • You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your …James 5:5
  • How have you responded to situations – were you in control of your tongue?

Have you bridled the tongue today?

Do you pray?

  • Do you pray every day?
  • Do you give praise and glory to God?

Did you read the Scripture today? Have you acted upon the Word today?

What have you done today that shows by your actions that you have faith


David L Simon (October 2004, GB)
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