16th August 2017

James: Week 8 (Wednesday, August 16 2017)

(from www.insightforliving.org.uk

 

James 3: 13-18

 

LET’S BEGIN HERE

If you could be guaranteed the receipt of any request from the Lord, for what would you ask? One of the most famous men in the Bible was presented with that very opportunity. Do you know what he requested? Riches? Great success? World fame? Long life and good health? None of the above. Solomon, the king of Israel, replied to the Lord’s astounding offer: “Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). That’s right. Solomon asked for wisdom — not earthly wisdom but wisdom that could only come from God. James wrote to Christians in the first

century that they would be wise to seek the same from heaven.

 

Getting Started: What You Need Is Wisdom

Paying particular attention to James 3:13 – 18, make some initial observations about what you see — for instance, are there any repeated words? Did James use any connecting words that offer clues into what he was emphasizing? Take some time to make notes on a separate sheet of paper about what you discover.

 

Your Turn in the Scriptures

James understood how critical wisdom is for enduring trials. But he also knew the human tendencies to rely on self-guidance, common sense, and worldly advice when tough times arise. That’s why he wrote: Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom

( James 3:13, emphasis added).

Based on this verse, what are two clear evidences of godly wisdom?

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A reliable principle for living is it’s not only important what we do in response to trials but how we do what we do. How does James 3:13 support that wise principle?

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What would be an example of someone doing what is good but not in the right frame of mind?

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Correlation is the Bible-study technique that draws upon related Scriptures to discover insight and depth in the meaning of the passage you’re studying. Put your hands on a Bible dictionary or a theological dictionary of the New Testament. Look up the word wisdom. Read through the entry for this word that is used in both the Old and New Testaments. What did you discover?

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How is wisdom used in the Old Testament as compared to or in contrast with its use in the New Testament? What examples did you find?

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Now take a few minutes to read James 3:13 – 14. Read carefully and pay close attention to James’ development of this thought. After you’ve read and studied these two verses, answer the questions below as specifically as possible.

James contrasted divine wisdom

and human wisdom. Let’s look a bit closer at these two distinctions.

Divine wisdom is genuine ( James 3:13):

• Marked by good behavior. What do you believe James meant by this? Try to support your answer with correlated passages in the New Testament. (Hint: Read Romans 10 and Colossians 3.)

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• Marked by gentleness. Why did James include this as one of the markers of godly wisdom? (Hint: Read Galatians 5.)

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Human wisdom is counterfeit

( James 3:14). Did you notice the phrase

in your heart? James made clear that the two corresponding markers of human

wisdom — bitter jealousy and selfish ambition — reside deep within the motive chamber of the unwise heart.

Read Matthew 12:22 – 37. Take some time to carefully study this passage. Who are the players involved? What is the context for this classic confrontation?

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How does the response of the Pharisees to Jesus’ ministry popularity and success correlate with James’ teaching about bitter jealousy? Would you characterize their reaction as wise or unwise? Why?

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James also indicated selfish ambition to be a clear sign that someone was operating by human wisdom. What did he say would be the result of living by such sinful motives ( James 3:16)?

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What did James say would be the results of someone living by godly wisdom (3:17 –18)?

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Now turn in your Bible to Proverbs 3. Take a few minutes to read through the entire chapter. As you do, write down instances, words, or phrases that align with James’ teaching on wisdom in James 3. What do you see?

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A Scenario for You to Consider: A friend stuck in a bad situation has come to you. She absolutely does not know what to do and needs to make a decision fairly quickly. By nature, she is bright, resourceful, highly educated, and very experienced in what she does professionally. But she seems to be paralyzed by indecision. Using Proverbs 3:1 – 6 and what you have learned from James 3:13 – 18, write a brief but personal note to her  about how she can turn to God and His Word and find direction for her decision. Don’t preach. But try to be clear and use examples from Scripture.

Dear FRIEND:

Praying for you,

Your friend, _______________________

 

A FINAL PRAYER

Lord, You are so gracious when You provide so generously the wisdom I need to walk in obedience to You and Your perfect will. Thank You for Your Word and for Your Holy Spirit which light the path through the darkness of each trial I face. Help me to wait on You and trust Your leading today. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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