Pure Religion: Bridling the Tongue

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:26-27).

Pure Religion requires bridling the tongue as well as helping the needy. We see in the verse above that, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26).

There should be no time when our speech is not controlled with grace and salt. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col 4:6). This kind of speech will not necessarily please the world, but God is pleased with such speech.

Our speech should never include anything that would bring shame to Christ. “Sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:8).

It takes a heavy bridle to stop speech that the world loves. “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks” (Eph 5:4).

What we say should be upbuilding to those who hear. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph 4:29).

We should never scorn or blaspheme any man. “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men” (Titus 3:2).

We should never speak so as to damage any brother. “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge” (James 4:11).

We are instructed to lay certain things aside: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings” (1 Pet 2:1).

The fear of the Lord restrains (bridles) the tongue so that it speaks no evil. “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile” (1 Pet 3:10).

The Lord knows how to punish those who speak evil of dignities: “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities: Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (2 Pet 2:10-12).

Twice the Lord reminds us to bridle our tongues when it comes to his officials. “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves” (Jude 1:8-10).

Without a doubt we need to consider the admonition of Solomon when he says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Pro 18:21).

Beth Johnson

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.

Published in The Old Paths Archive