James 3 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
3 2 To show that a Christian man must govern his tongue with the bridle of faith and charity, 6 he declareth the commodities and mischiefs that ensue thereof: 15 and how much man’s wisdom 17 differeth from heavenly.
3 [f]Behold, we put bits into the horses’ mouths, that they should obey us, and we turn about all their body.
4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small rudder, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth of great things: [g]behold, how great a thing a little fire kindleth.
6 And the tongue is fire, yea, a [h]world of wickedness: so is the tongue set among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and [i]setteth on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire of hell.
7 For the whole nature of beasts, and of birds, and of creeping things, and things of the sea is tamed, and hath been tamed of the nature of man.
8 But the tongue can no man tame. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
10 [l]Out of one mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing: my brethren, these things ought not so to be.
11 Doth a fountain send forth at one place sweet water and bitter?
12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bring forth olives, either a vine figs? so can no fountain make both salt water and sweet.
13 [m]Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show by good conversation his works in meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, rejoice not, neither be liars against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is sedition, and all manner of evil works.
17 But the wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of [n]mercy and good fruits, without judging, and without hypocrisy.
18 [o]And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace, of them that make peace.
James 3 New International Version (NIV)
Taming the Tongue
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.