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Proverbs – Week 20 Study Guide

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James and the Tongue

Opener: COVID pep talk.

You can’t go a day without hearing all kinds of opinions about what you should do or not do over the last several months. It is unlikely we will experience this again. So, let’s think about what we’re doing to make the most of the time? Have your members share their thoughts.

NOTE: For James…merely believing the right stuff without evidence of a changed life was not enough…the gospel needed to be lived out. James was focused more on after someone becomes a Christian or the behavior of a Christian. James is addressing folks who might have said, “It doesn’t matter what you do, only what you believe.” And there were, and there are, people like this. James is not saying we will achieve perfection every action, but there should be an ongoing transformation in our overall life direction. So, again, the importance of balance in our perspective–Christlike direction not Christlike perfection.

Scripture Passages used in Sermon:

James 1:2-5 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

James 1:19-20 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

James 1:26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

James 3:13-18 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 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. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Proverbs 26:18,19 Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”

Discussion 1: What James says about wisdom in general

Q1: Read James 1:2-5. And discuss the following questions:

  • How do you consider it pure joy when you face trials?
  • Why do we do this?
  • What role does endurance play?
  • What role does wisdom play?

Q2: what the truth about your words? Do you believe words are as dangerous as they are described in these passages?

How have you underestimated the power of your words? Does that worry you? It should.

Discussion 2: Words are our superpower.

Q1: Read James 3:1-12. And discuss the following questions:

  • Why is the tongue a dangerous power?
  • Is it possible to control the tongue?
  • How are we warned about the danger of the tongue?

How can we use our words for Good?


  • See the truth about your words: Realize that you do have this superpower.
  • Seek after Jesus in your heart: Cry out to God for wisdom. This is your only hope with this superpower.

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