James 3:13-18 Connect Blog
Authorship … While the Book itself offers no evidence of authorship, the early church fathers accepted James, the half-brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3) and leader of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; Galatians 2:9), as the author of the book that bears his name.
James did not initially believe in Jesus as the Messiah (John 7:2-10). He became a believer after witnessing the resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:7). He was present on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14).
Date … Most believe the Book of James to be among, if not the earliest, of the Epistles (45-55 A.D.)
Recipients … probably Jewish believers who had fled their homeland because of religious and government persecution.
Josephus, a Jewish historian, mentioned the martyrdom of James around 62 A.D.
Wisdom from God avoids conflicts resulting from envy and selfish ambition. Godly wisdom promotes righteousness and seeks peace and unity.
“Who is wise and has understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness” (3:13).
How do we show wisdom? By the things we do. True wisdom, from above, is demonstrated through our conduct, our good deeds practiced with humility.
Wisdom is revealed not by what we say, but what we do. Wisdom is a behavior, as much, or more, than a communication.
Wisdom should be in agreement with what I say and what I do. (Can you think of an example of what would be called by James a lack of wisdom?).
“But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and deny the truth” (3:14).
False wisdom destroys unity and develops rivalry/dissention/opposition.
“bitter envy” - describes a determined desire to promote one’s own opinion to the exclusion of others, in order to achieve one’s own personal point of view (“selfish ambition”).
Boasting (“brag”) is self-exaltation, the attitude of triumph over one’s perceived opponents. Such boasting stands in defiance of the “truth.”
Can you think of a church fuss that was caused by false wisdom?
“Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (3:15).
So called wisdom that is divisive, self-promoting is not prompted by the Holy Spirit, but is demonic in origin
What does that say about those who must always have it their own way, even if that means hurting another individual?
“For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil” (3:16).
The only outcome of envy and selfishness is division; evil flourishes where personal preference reigns … personal preference brings death
Compare the description of wisdom to that of love in 1 Corinthians 13.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy” (3:17).
Real wisdom, Spirit generated is free of self-interest and strife. Wisdom seeks peace between struggling factions. The peace that is from God is not demanding and is willing to listen and learn. Wisdom doesn’t always assume “I’m right.” Wisdom is compassionate toward others and demonstrated by good deeds. Wisdom doesn’t show partiality and doesn’t say one thing and do another.
An indicator of false wisdom is its desire for self-gratification.
“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace” (3:18).
True wisdom results in a harvest of righteousness; a conformity to God’s will resulting in harmonious relationships among God’s people.
BOTTOM LINE - We don’t have to agree on everything, but we must be willing to sit down and discuss our differences, desiring to reach agreement that will result in God’s glory, the good of the church and one another.