3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, and sisters, for you know that we who teach will face stricter judgment. 2 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is mature,[a] able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Or look at ships: 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. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of life, and is itself set on fire by hell.[b] 7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the tongue—a restless[c] evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord[d] and Father, and with it, we curse people, made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth comes to a blessing and a curse. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives or grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.