1My brothers and sisters, most of you shouldn't want to be teachers. You know that those of us who teach will be held more accountable.2All of us get tripped up in many ways. Suppose someone is never wrong in what he says. Then he is a perfect man. He is able to keep his whole body under control.3We put a bit in the mouth of a horse to make it obey us. We can control the whole animal with it.4And how about ships? They are very big. They are driven along by strong winds. But they are steered by a very small rudder. It makes them go where the captain wants to go.5In the same way, the tongue is a small part of the body. But it brags a lot. Think about how a small spark can set a big forest on fire.6The tongue also is a fire. The tongue is the most evil part of the body. It pollutes the whole person. It sets a person's whole way of life on fire. And the tongue is set on fire by hell.7People have controlled all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea. They still control them.8But no one can control the tongue. It is an evil thing that never rests. It is full of deadly poison.9With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. With our tongues we call down curses on people. We do it even though they have been created to be like God.10Praise and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, it shouldn't be that way.11Can fresh water and salt water flow out of the same spring?12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives? Can a grapevine bear figs? Of course not. And a saltwater spring can't produce fresh water either.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13Are any of you wise and understanding? You should show it by living a good life. Wise people aren't proud when they do good works.14But suppose your hearts are jealous and bitter. Suppose you are concerned only about getting ahead. Don't brag about it. Don't say no to the truth.15Wisdom like that doesn't come down from heaven. It belongs to the earth. It doesn't come from the Holy Spirit. It comes from the devil.16Are you jealous? Are you concerned only about getting ahead? Then your life will be a mess. You will be doing all kinds of evil things.17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is pure. That's the most important thing about it. And that's not all. It also loves peace. It thinks about others. It obeys. It is full of mercy and good fruit. It is fair. It doesn't pretend to be what it is not.18Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed. If they do, it will produce a crop of right living.
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.