James 3:5-6,8 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boast great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindle! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defile the whole body, and set on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
The tongue is a little member that boasts of great things (v5); it is a fire,a world of iniquity that defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature (v6); It is untameable; an unruly evil; full of deadly poison (v8); It is used to bless God and curse men (v9); Capable of good conversation (v13) and of bitter strife (v14).
The circle of human life is continually excited by the tongue unless it is kept sanctified. Evil surmising, misrepresentations, falsehoods, jealousies, envying, wrath, and malice, all form part of the destroying flames of fire from the tongue of the ungodly.
The whole course of life is set on fire of hell. This refers to the anger and violent passions of wrath related to the vile language of the tongue. It also pictures the confusion and misery caused by the tongue – like the misery of hell.
Those saved and sanctified can love life, and see good days, by refraining their tongues from evil, and their lips that they speak no guile (1Pet. 3:10).