C2 The Christian life—wisdom James 3:13-18
D1 Believers Should Know the Difference in Types of Wisdom James 3:13-16
D2 Believers Should Know the Definition of Godly Wisdom James 3:17-18
James 3:13-18 WEL Who is wise and understanding among you? By good behavior let him show his works with humility and wisdom. 14 If you have bitter envying and self-ambition in your heart, do not brag and lie against the truth. 15 This [kind of] wisdom does not come down from above but is earthly, sensual, [and] devilish. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there [is] disorder and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and without hypocrisy. 18 Moreover, the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.
Wise and understanding=
- The Greek word for wise is σοφός (sophós). It means wise in the sense of skilled, an expert in something, learned and cultured (as Greek philosophers were).
- Matthew 11:25 NLT At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.
- Romans 1:22 NLT Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.
- 1 Corinthians 1:19 NLT As the Scriptures say, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent."
- 1 Corinthians 3:19-20 NLT For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, "He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness." And again, "The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless."
- Other Greek words are
- φρόνιμος phrónimos (wise, sensible, shrewd (Mounce))
- μάγος mágos (the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc. (Thayer))
- συνίημι syníēmi (to put (as it were) the perception with the thing perceived, to set or join together in the mind (Thayer))
- There were, and still are, those who are wise and understanding.
- The idea here is: it is human to think we are wise and understanding, but are all wise and understanding? If we think so, let us act so. Words are not enough to be considered wise and understanding. Actions must be seen as wise and understanding also.
- Note the word gentleness used with wisdom. Too people, teachers, leaders, pastors, spouses, etc. are controlling, thus, not wise or gentle.
- The life of the Lord Jesus is our example: Matthew 11:29 NLT Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
- Some wise advice about gentleness with wisdom: Proverbs 15:1, 4 NLT A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. ... Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
- The Greek word is δεικνύω deiknýō. It has the idea of proving what you say you are by what you do.
- What we do in public and private reflects what we really believe and who we are.
- As Christians, we are called to be consistent in what we say and what we do.
- World society is getting more evil. Many of our brothers and sisters are dying, suffering abuse, etc. We must pray for them. We must also not shrink from living what the Lord Jesus has taught us. God will give us the grace necessary. (Come, Lord Jesus).
Humility and wisdom=
- These must be a part of our lives—always. What we say. What we do.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Two kinds of wisdom (which is understanding and knowing of stuff, skill, ingenuity, stratagems, learning, teaching, insight, and is practical).
- Earthly, sensual, and devilish=
- It is applying the above definition with the components listed below.
- 2 Samuel 13:3 CSB Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, a son of David's brother Shimeah. Jonadab was a very shrewd man,
- Jeremiah 4:22 CSB For my people are fools; they do not know me. They are foolish children, without understanding. They are skilled in doing what is evil, but they do not know how to do what is good.
- Bitter envy= This is with evil intentions and oppose good: Acts 5:17 CSB Then the high priest rose up. He and all who were with him, who belonged to the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.
- Selfish ambition= doing and saying anything that would bring personal fame, power, money, influence, etc. This is a type of wisdom.
- Financial gain has the idea of mining for money: 1 Timothy 6:3-5 WEL If any man teaches otherwise and doesn’t consent with the wholesome sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching on godliness, 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, and having a sick interest in questioning and trifles, which result in envy, discord, abusive verbal attacks, [and] evil suspicions, [and] 5 Contentious arguing from people of corrupt minds and deprived of truth, who suppose that financial gain is godliness. Withdraw yourself from this kind.
- Vine writes of this word (ἐριθεία eritheía): denotes "ambition, self-seeking, rivalry," self-will being an underlying idea in the word; hence it denotes "party-making." It is derived, not from eris, "strife," but from erithos, "a hireling;" hence the meaning of "seeking to win followers," "factions," so rendered in the RV of 2Co 12:20
- Boosting (arrogance, glory) = The idea here is some think of themselves as having superior knowledge, privilege, position, etc. and treat others scornfully. These types do not listen to other’s opinions or wisdom, since they are much better than them.
- What is rooted in pride is offensive to God. Proverbs 8:13 CSB To fear the LORD is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech.
- Example: Luke 18:9-14 CSB He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. "The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: 'God, I thank you that I'm not like other people -- greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. "I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.' "But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner! ' "I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
- Romans 12:16 NLT Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!
- Lying against truth
- Truth is reality. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). God doesn’t change (1 Samuel 15:29 and Malachi 3:6). What He says is true. When searching for Bible verses with the word truth, one notes reality is always implied.
- Jesus is truth. Everything He says, does, thinks, commands, etc. is truth. John 14:6 CSB Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
- Truth came into the world when Jesus was born and ministered. John 1:17 CSB for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
- Some know truth but suppress it, ignore it, reject it, substitute it, harden themselves against it, and teach lies.
- In Robertson’s Word Pictures, it is written: By your conduct do not belie the truth which you teach; a solemn and needed lesson. Cf. Romans 1:18., Romans 2:18, Romans 2:20.
- Disorder= the opposite practice and life of God. 1 Corinthians 14:40 NET And do everything in a decent and orderly manner. A topical study on orderliness is here.
- From above=
- Full of mercy
- Full of good fruits
- Without partiality
- Without hypocrisy
- Earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom often sees murder as the solution to a problem. The wisdom from above wants life, consider Ezekiel 18:23 NIV Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
Fruit of righteousness= fruit is a product from a plant. Jesus is the vine; we are the branches.
- God doesn’t want us to have the so-called deeper life which frequently results in some type of mysticism or a rules-based Christianity. Personally, I want to go higher, not deeper. “Just do these things,” they say, “and you will be closer to God.” Revelation 2:24 NLT But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching ('deeper truths,' as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you
- Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
- What God requires is spiritual growth that produces fruit.
- John 15:5 CSB I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
- The means of spiritual growth can be found at this topic.
Peace= God’s peace is often different than worldly or human peace.
- Isaiah 9:6 NLT For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
- Isaiah 52:7 NLT How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!
- Isaiah 57:21 NLT There is no peace for the wicked," says my God.
- 1 Corinthians 14:33 NLT For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God's holy people.
- What are the 2 types of wisdom that James writes about?
- How can we tell the difference?
- How do we utilize God’s wisdom instead of fleshly wisdom?