How Can You Tame The Tongue?

How Can You Tame The Tongue? October 15, 2018

I believe the tongue is the hardest member of the human body to control, so how do you tame the tongue?

Bridling the Tongue

The Book of James has been called one of the books of wisdom in the Bible, and in this book, James writes about the tongue. It may be one of the smallest members of the human body, but I believe it’s one of the hardest to control. I don’t mean controlling it in constructing sounds, but when we use the tongue, it can be a double-edged sword. It can heal, but it can hurt. It can bless, and it can curse. James wrote that “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26). Jesus said our words reveal what’s in our heart, saying “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:20-23).

“the tongue is a fire…and set on fire by hell” (James 3:6).


Our tongue matters a lot, particularly to God, because He knows that “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:9), and “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:9-10). One moment we speak well of someone, perhaps in their presence, but with that same tongue we can quickly gossip about that same person, so we’re instructed, don’t be “rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few” (Eccl 5:2). The fewer words that are spoken, the less chance there is for offense.

Watching the Tongue

James wrote that “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” (James 3:2), and all God’s people said, “Amen!” Seagoing ships are typically huge, but even “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” (James 3:4). In similar fashion, “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things” (James 3:5a). With one little word, we can see “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire” (James 3:5b)! One word can start a war. One word can cause someone to commit suicide. One word from a false witness can sentence someone to life in prison, so clearly, “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” (James 3:6). It is “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10). Should blessing and cursing come from the same mouth? “Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water” (James 3:12). We have managed to tame “every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature” (James 3:7), but “no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). Not very flattering, but it is true nonetheless.

Praising God

God will bless the one “who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend” (Psalm 15:3), but it is not easy to “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit” (Psalm 34:13). David knew this would be a struggle, and so he wrote, “I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence” (Psalm 39:1). That means David made a conscience effort to guard his tongue. One way to guard the tongue is to sing praises to God with it. The psalmist wrote, “My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right” (Psalm 119:72). Now that’s the proper use of the tongue, so a great way to guide the tongue is to bless and praise God with it. That way, you’ll be so busying blessing God and others that you won’t have time to speak with evil lips, and that might keep you “from speaking deceit.”

Our Deceitful Tongue

Having trouble controlling the tongue? Welcome to the club. I know God hates a “lying tongue” (Prov 6:17), but “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver” (Prov 10:20). Think before you speak is good advice that I don’t always follow, but if we think about the impact and meaning of our words before we speak them, we’ll have an easier time controlling the tongue. If we do not try to control the tongue, the tongue will control us. Ask God for help, and pray, “Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue” (Psalm 120:2). I believe He will answer that prayer. We cannot do anything without Christ (John 15:5), and anything we can do of significance must be done through Christ (Phil 4:13), but truly, the tongue can bring death, but it can also bring eternal life. One way the tongue can bring life is by introducing people to Jesus Christ, and telling them why they need the Savior. We must use our tongue to reveal the fact that Jesus Christ requires that we repent and believe in Him (Mark 1:14-15).


We must read His Word, knowing every Word of God is truth, so if we are singing praises to God; if we are busying blessing others and God; and if we are reading God’s Word and asking for His help, I believe we can at least control the tongue to a certain extent. No one can completely control the tongue, but we can strive to filter our words through our mind before we release them. The tongue will still have its moments, but at least we can think before we speak, because words matter, and words cannot be taken back once their out.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    The easiest way to “tame the tongue” is to think before you speak…you should try it jack. Try thinking through the logic of the crap you spew before you spew it. Ask yourself how rational, reasonable, accurate the drivel you leak actually is. Try asking yourself “Is this true?” before you make claims and assertions that have NO foundation. Try to stop clumsily fitting evidence to your false preconceptions and ask the relevant questions without a presupposition.

    You won’t…that’s the nature of a cult. You don’t care about what’s actually true only what fits your narrative and infantile vision of reality. You see jack, when you start from a place that says the BOOK is right and anything contradictory to the BOOK must be wrong….you’re a gonner. You’ll never find the truth, never be objective, never be unbiased and forever be a prisoner of poisonous dogma with your mental shackles firmly binding you.

    “We must read His Word, knowing every Word of God is truth, so if we are singing praises to God; if we are busying blessing others and God; and if we are reading God’s Word and asking for His help”

    I rest my case! You only care about the BOOK. You have no “belief” in any “god” you simply and only “believe” in an ancient, stupid, superstitious BOOK. A BOOK that is NOT the “word” of any deity but the collective works of many MEN…stupid, fearful, gullible, superstitious ignorant MEN who like you, claim this and assert that without any fact or evidence whatsoever to substantiate ANYTHING therein.

    “One way the tongue can bring life is by introducing people to Jesus Christ, and telling them why they need the Savior. We must use our tongue to reveal the fact that Jesus Christ requires that we repent and believe in Him (Mark 1:14-15).”

    What a load of shit. You should be flogged for using the word “fact” The only “fact” is that you and your infantile delusional gullible cult hate yourselves so much that you’re a willing slave to the most absurd notion of reality that exists. “Belief” in an undetectable invisible make believe celestial dictator is mental illness. You’re as sick and deluded as every shaman, priest, monk etc who ever lived and “believed” in nonsensical realms, spirits, deities, spells, magic etc since humankind first made up the supernatural.

    It’s a BOOK jack…an error packed, stupid, primitive idiotic MAN MADE BOOK!

  • Glory

    The only work by man that God acknowledges as an accomplishment:

    Jeremiah 9:23-24 King James Version (KJV)

    23 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

    24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

    If you do not understand that the Lord personifies loving kindness then you have a heart problem.

    I am not disputing. I am exhorting everyone reading this blog to get the beam out of your eye and get your heart right with God.

    Blasphemy is a sign you neither know God nor have your heart right with Him.

    If you blaspheme even accidentally then you need to repent immediately.

    Repentance helps keep your heart in good working condition.

    The tongue is connected to the heart as Jesus says:

    Luke 6:45 King James Version (KJV)

    45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

    • Well, the Lord didn’t exercise “lovingkindness” when he commanded the murder of defenseless women, little children and babies, for what the Amalekites had done to Israel about 400 years earlier , did he? This very violent god called Yahweh commanded Saul, through his false prophet (that barbaric butcher called Samuel), to barbarically kill everyone. Murder of the defenseless ones is something every sane and compassionate person should reject as thoroughly immoral. Why do you worship and serve a very immoral god: the god of the bible?

  • Glory

    Jesus We Love You! Paul McClure

    • pud

      “jesus” is ONLY a character in a BOOK! You don’t “know” any “jesus” or if any such individual ever actually existed. You “love” a character that lives in your deluded mind. You “love” like a child loves his teddy bear or imaginary friend. To actually “love” something there has to be a SOMETHING! People “love” things they interact with, tangible things, living things not invisible undetectable characters from story BOOKS. You “loving” “jebsus” is like a child “loving” Santa Claus or Batman. There is no difference whatsoever.

  • Glory

    Why do atheists keep trying to argue with true believers? Are they really so lacking in discerning the meaning of human behavior?

    Clearly if a human worships God then his mind is made up on the existence of God question. Except for a few confused nominals and hypocrites.

    So why do so many agnostics and atheists try to force arguments onto Christians?

    Christians have a spiritual birth and growth to obtain.

    We have our own minds and our own reasoning so why would we submit them to exposure to the evil reasoning of people who got offended by God’s Word and claims and blocked Him? All the evil people do is continue in a spiritually darkened condition and they try to talk people into joining them in their darkened condition.

    Hang onto Jesus and the light Christians. This is one of the last generations in the evil last days on Earth.

    Do not ever let any evil person talk you into not abiding in Christ. Don’t even make him prove his logic because he never inspected his own heart for evil yet has the impertinence and temerity to blaspheme God by bringing and existence case against Him.

    Hang onto your humility in an evil world Christian and never give up any of the light and love that God bestowed on you.

    Seriously, why do atheists attempt to meddle through argumentation? Because they refuse to admit they are evil and have heart issues only Jesus can deal with so they pass the time meddling with Christians.

    Tell them the truth Christians. These unbelievers need to get the beam out of their eye and repent!

    The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak so why does a Christian want to renounce the security and strength of Christ’s spirit for arguments that prop up the weak willed flesh?

    Christians with true insight don’t abdicate their God given spiritual minds and reasoning to please weak minded people and their flesh.

    They never have.

    So unbelievers need to recognize they are weak willed evil people and stop blocking God willfully and repent.

    God does not change anyone until they sincerely repent.

    And if you have not experienced God’s change from your own willful refusal to listen and obey Him then why are you commenting on other people’s experience.

    You lack the experience to judge atheists. You are blind like God says. Read Romans 1 on your own suppression of the truth.

    I am not getting talked into rebelling with an atheist.

    Their logic sucks because their perception does. They are spiritually blind and that biases their observation skills so they only cherrypick bad examples to reinforce their poor observations about religion.

    So again why do I want to compare notes with people allowing an evil confirmation bias to control their observations.

    I won’t because that is a spiritually dead end road and I need the strength that comes from my commitment to Jesus.

    So stop coming over to this blog atheists trying to make your problem a believer’s problem and do what Jesus says and examine yourselves.

    Do you really like being evil and think other people should tolerate it?

    I am not tolerating it. I have had enough of people trying to pass their evil onto me when it is obvious love is a lot greater than tolerance.

    God Bless everyone reading.

    I don’t argue because my mind is made up.

    God is always right no matter how many people misinterpret life and the scriptures. The lack of spiritual enlightenment just proves unbelievers are walking in darkness but I want to walk in the holy light of God with Jesus.

    • HappinessPursuit

      You are describing a phenomenon known as “Internet Atheism”.

      Reasonable atheists are also perplexed by these fanatical folks. Heck, even Albert Einstein complained about them in his day.

      • Glory

        I agree though I never heard that phrase before. The internet just seems to bring out the worst in some people.

        I have really been noticing a xenophobic element in their stereotyping of believers for the past few years.

        • HappinessPursuit

          A bit crude at times, but this UrbanDictionary site has some good explanations of the phenomenon.

          • Glory

            Thanks. I have personally observed this phenomenon online a lot but never saw an official name for it.

            I think a lot of theists just move on when they see it. What is the point of debating when it is going to denigrate into insults and troll interjections from the sidelines. The debates are usually not properly moderated as there are no blog or forum resources for it and if they are occasionally moderated then sometimes the moderation is not fair or is one sided.

          • HappinessPursuit

            Yes. My experience, too.

          • Glory

            Amen, Brother.

          • Glory

            I am sorry you experienced this, too but I think a good part of what the world has experienced is atheist propaganda.

            I read a Pew study that 65 percent of atheists in the US don’t discuss re

          • Glory

            Another interesting read is
            “10 People Who Give Atheism a Bad Name” on the listverse site.

            Apparently Jim Jones was an atheist. They quoted him saying he: “took the church and used the church to bring people to atheism”.

            I suppose none of his followers knew that he was manipulating them in such a way.

    • Well if you wish to remain delusional, believe that bully bull written by ancient, ignorant and very violent savages.

  • Markus R

    Good article. The tongue is indeed hard to tame as it is the direct projection of the wickedness and fallen nature of our hearts and minds. Our hope is in acquiring a heart of flesh and being transformed by the renewal of our minds.


    Many people don’t have the self-discipline to tame their tongue particularly bosses and parents while they demand that their workers and kids hold their tongues.