James 3:13-18



James 3:13-16

Earthly Wisdom

  1. Wisdom is knowing how best to act in all circumstances. It is adapting to situations choosing the best course of action to reach the goal. It begins with the fear of God. Christ is wisdom and understanding incarnate (Prov. 8:14). Understanding (knowledge) underlies wisdom. One who understands God, people and circumstances will act wisely. Prov.4:5,7 is a command to get understanding.

More on understanding:

  • Some ought to understand the times (politics) I Chron.12:32.
  • Solomon asked for it (I Kings 3:9).
  • We can pray for it (Ps.119:34, Jas.1:5).
  • It means departing from evil (Job.28:28).
  • It comes from Scripture (Ps.119:104).
  • God’s is infinite (Ps.147:5).
  • Don’t trust your own (Prov.3:5,6).
  • Knowing God (Prov.9:10).
  • Understanding leads to a wise walk (Jas.3:13).
  • Understanding is the job of pastors/elders (Jer.3:15).
  • It is divinely imparted (Luke 24:45).
  • It is something we ought to pray for others (Col.1:9, II Tim.2:7).
  • It is something to glory in (Boast about) (Jer.9:24,25).
  • Unsaved have their understanding darkened (Rom.1:31).
  • It leads to repentance (John 12:40).
  • It is a source of teaching (Dan.11:33).


2. “Conversation” means manner of life (Ps.37:14, 50:23, Phil.1:27, I Pet.1:18,3:1). “Good” (Greek KALOS means beautiful, serving its purpose. Something that should be our aim in life, namely to know God’s purpose for us and fulfil it faithfully.

3. Meekness and humility are very closely related. Meekness is a godly response when aggravated (like Moses) whereas humility is right knowledge of oneself (Rom.12:3). Excellent book called HUMILITY by Andrew Murray (available on line) in which he says it stems from:

  • Knowledge we are creatures
  • Knowledge we are sinners
  • Knowledge we are saintsPride, the opposite inevitably reveals itself in being soon angry, unrighteous anger, derogatory speech about others, parading knowledge, acting independently of God and others, unwilling to listen to others/be corrected. Pride is self-assertive, draws attention to itself, steals glory from God and leads to disobedience (as with our first parents).

4. Earthly wisdom is carnal leading to bitter envy because it is selfish, wanting attention, position or goods, and to fulfil lusts/coveting. The envying is wanting what someone else has and being willing to go to wicked lengths to get it e.g. Simon Magus (Acts 8:18), Diotrephes (III John 9), King Saul, Absalom. Bitterness implies hatred and desire for revenge (Heb.12:15).

5. Strife means conflict and disagreement that might lead to violence and murder. Usually the result of coveting (Ahab) or selfish ambition (Herodias, Athaliah). True wisdom obeys God, it is holy, keeps relationships, does no violence and is willing to wait patiently (David, Christ).

6. Lying against the truth is hypocrisy, saying one thing and doing another, saying you believe God and his truth but despising him and disobeying by our attitude or actions e.g. I John 1:6, 4:20). Peter was an example. We lie not when we are true to our confession.

7. Earthly means worldly, earthly goals of power, position, wealth. All the “isms” communism, humanism, evolutionism, pragmatism (if it works do it). See Luke 16:8.Devilish means originating with Satan or mimicking him-pride, ambitious, lying, destroying/murdering, hating God.Sensual means gratifying the senses, mind and body together (evil thoughts/actions as Gen.6:4), worldly entertainment, porn etc.

8. Confusion occurs among church members if they are unsure whom to listen to. Who is speaking truth among the factions? And every evil work includes backbiting, gossip, slander, taking brethren to court, schism and immorality. Evil (Greek PHAULOS) means nothing worthwhile comes from it.

James 3:17,18.

True Wisdom

  1. Wisdom originates in the Triune God, is founded on the truth of Scripture and the first lessons (leading to conversion) are the Heidelberg headings! i.e. our misery, the remedy, and how to live thankfully.
  2. Pure-holy, not immoral. Peace-loving-avoids strife and keeps peace whenever possible (Rom.12:18) but not always possible because of the sword Christ brings (the antithesis). Considerate-considers others. Submissive-relates to brethren and elders submissively. Full of mercy and good fruit-charitable, forgiving, results in blessing others. Impartial-no respecting persons. Sincere- honest/truthful.
  3. Blessed are the peace-makers (Matt. 5:9) who are believers who mediate between others and preserve unity.
  4. The fruit of righteousness is the end result of peace in a church where there is unity, reconciliation, love and joy i.e. the fruit of the Spirit, the result of good seed sown.

Think of a vineyard or orchard. If a storm comes fruit is destroyed and lost but in tranquil good warm weather, much fruit!

Next Study (DV) Saturday October 22nd 8pm looking at James 4:1-6


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