Steeping In James 3:13-18

bible-readingContinuing the Steeping in James Series, this week we’re looking at James 3:13-18 and wisdom in particular.  The The corresponding pages from Douglas Moo’s TNTC Commentary on James are 131-137.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted in this series so if you’re new here or would like a refresher on the basis for this study, read my prior post, Steeping in James – Our Setup.


  • Who do we lift up as wise around us?  In what ways do we see ourselves as wise?
  • Wisdom ought to breed forth humility.
  • Wisdom that spawns bitter jealousy and selfish ambition and boasting is not Godly wisdom (which comes from asking God [James 1:5]), but rather earthly and demonic.
  • Jealousy and selfish ambition lead directly to disorder and vileness.
  • Godly wisdom is (v17):
    • Pure
    • Peaceable
    • Gentle
    • Open to reason
    • Full of mercy and good fruits
    • Impartial
    • Sincere
  • Commenting on verse 17, Douglas Moo says this (p 136):
    • “In a society that tends to elevate intelligence and cleverness, Christians need to assert that the values James lists here are the truly enviable, enduring ones.”
  • Similar to faith/works (i.e. faith ought to be demonstrated as a manifestation in works), wisdom ought to be demonstrated as a manifestation in meekness and humility.  Wisdom ought also to shine forth in a healthy understanding of our own unworthiness before God and a lack of pride as we deal with others.
  • Verse 18 was difficult for me to process so I compared the ESV translation to a sometimes easier translation:
    • ESV: “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
    • NIV: “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
  • Those who make peace, in this passage, are the Godly, the true Christians – whom have received wisdom from above (3:15).  As a result of that wisdom, their lives express lives that are peaceable (also pure, gentle, open to reason, full mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere [3:17]).  These manifestations sow a harvest of righteousness (3:18) meaning that the “fruit” (or righteous conduct) that grows from the sowing of these peacemaking Christians will be glorifying to God.
  • Read also: Isaiah 32:17 and Hosea 10:12.


  • How much selfish ambition and pride is wrapped up in my wisdom?
  • Does my wisdom show forth in meekness and humility or boasting and pride?
  • In what specific ways can I pray for God to change my heart so that I more closely reflect the “wisdom from above” as described in 3:17?

~ by toddbumgarner on December 3, 2008 5:56 am.

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