True Wisdom

Study Guide

In this passage, James contrasts false, earthly wisdom with true wisdom as modeled by Jesus. As we consider what this wisdom may look like in our lives, we ask ourselves the question—do I want to be right? Or do I want Jesus to be right for me?
  1. True wisdom is characterized by a gentle, winnable, merciful spirit. Who in your life exhibits this kind of wisdom? How does it impact those around them?

  2. To embrace this wisdom, we have to yield our desire to be right. In what circumstances is this most challenging for you? What does it look like to put your confidence in Jesus’ ability to be right for you?

Key Points
  • Many claim to be wise; however, James is clear that true wisdom is authenticated by the way we live our lives.

  • Wisdom is characterized by charitable deeds, restraint, and humility.

  • In contrast, earthly wisdom is driven by zeal, ambition, and commitment to being right above caring for others.

  • Jesus is our prototype of wisdom. He was not zealous for what he deserved—instead, he asked God to show mercy to those who crucified him.

  • False wisdom is easily embedded in a religious context. Many use seemingly righteous zeal to promote their agenda, and the result is chaos.

  • Like Jesus, we should embrace wisdom that is gentle and lowly, caring for others with a winnable, open attitude.

Other Scripture References

Scripture: James 3:13-18