1. The power of the tongue (3:1-12).
a. This is a passage known for teachers receiving a stricter judgment than non-teachers. In relationship to the tongue, this is true. Contextually it applies to teachers, but we ought not to think the exhortations of James to the Christians and his (her) use of the tongue should apply less to the non-teacher than the teacher. This would be a mistake.
b. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, Jesus said. What is in your heart? Are the sentiments of Philippians 4:8 there? Will you hear Paul as he speaks in Colossians 4:5-6?
2. The power of godly wisdom (3:13-18).
a. In contrast to the power of an uncontrolled tongue is the power of godly wisdom. It is a wisdom that seeks the will of God in life and what best for another.
b. What a contrast this is to what James is going to speak about next, and what a contrast to the first three verses of this paragraph.