1My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.2For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.3Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.4Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.5Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!6And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.7For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:8But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.9Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.10Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.11Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?12Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.13Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.14But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
English Standard Version
Taming the Tongue
1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (Mt 23:8; Ro 2:20; 1Ti 1:7)2For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. (1Ki 8:46; Pr 20:9; Ec 7:20; Mt 12:37; Jas 1:26; 1Jo 1:8)3If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. (Ps 32:9)4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! (Ps 12:3; Ps 73:8)6And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. (Ps 120:2; Pr 16:27; Mt 15:18)7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (Ps 140:3; Ec 10:11; Ro 3:13)9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. (Ge 1:26)10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?12Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.