Two Kinds of Wisdom

Text: James 3:13-18
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: July 10, 2011

I have heard of a TV show which challenges its viewers, “Are you smarter than a fifth grader”?
James presents a more significant challenge, “Are you wise?”
Biblical wisdom goes far beyond mere intelligence or knowledge. Wisdom involves living well before God. James has already spoken of our need for wisdom (1:5-8).
In today’s text (3:13-18), James contrasts the characteristics, the source, and the outcome of worldly versus godly wisdom.
The focus of James’ concern about the outcome of wisdom pertains especially to our relationships with one-another (which will be the subject continued in 4:1ff).
The characteristics of true wisdom correspond closely to the fruit of the Spirit and the Beatitudes. Every one of these qualities is exemplified in Christ.

Our passage is also related to what has preceded. Just as James had taught that true faith is demonstrated by works (2:14-26), so true wisdom will be demonstrated by its good behavior (3:13).
The wise person will speak (3:1-12) as well as acting well.

James emphasizes that true wisdom is characterized by humility 3:13). Does this mean that wise people are wimps and that a godly person cannot be an ambitious achiever?
Scripture teaches us that as we put away ambition for self-glory we can be zealous to do great things for the glory of God.


Posted on July 10th, 2011 | Permalink