Our team is going through a Bible reading this year of the New Testament, Acts to Revelation in chronological order. That means James is the first letter, probably written in the early 50’s AD. Our section to read today was James 3:13-18 in which he contrasts two kinds of wisdom.
The first type of wisdom ““is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (James 3:15). It produces “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition…disorder and every evil practice;” always wanting something for ourselves and doing whatever it takes to get it. This obviously does not reflect the humble attitude of Christ (Philippians 2:5-8).
The second type and only one we should desire, is from heaven and “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). Paul joins James regarding this kind of wisdom and says that he wanted to proclaim the “mystery of Christ…that I may make it clear.” Then he follows this with “walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time” (Colossians 4:4-5).
Wisdom from heaven thinks about how the gospel can best be presented so the hearers will receive and accept it and the right time to present it. This is not just words, but actions that reflect the gospel that came from heaven.
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