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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

A Word from James: Wisdom

by Marilynn Chadwick


But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving. (James 3:17 NIV)


Do you want to be wise? King Solomon sure did. And God blessed him mightily. If we lack wisdom, we should ask God. It's a prayer he loves to answer. But James warns us about the dangers of what he calls “earthly wisdom.” He contrasts it with heavenly wisdom in two short, power-packed sentences.


Let's take a look these verses as translated in the Greek Interlinear New Testament: 


“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, free from prejudice and hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17,18 MOUNCE).


The first characteristic of heavenly wisdom is purity. It’s also peaceable. Gentle. Merciful. Get the point? The wisdom that comes from above bears little resemblance to its worldly counterfeit.


Earthly wisdom has a swagger about it. It's power-hungry. Commanding. In control. Eve found earthly wisdom irresistible. And tragically, sometimes, so do we.


But make no mistake. Heavenly wisdom is anything but weak. It comes with its own kind of power. James reminds us this brand of wisdom produces humility. The Greek word praus, translated “humility,” implies bridled power. Praus is the very same word Jesus used when he said: "I am gentle and humble in heart" (Matthew 11:29 NIV). It’s the only instance in the New Testament where he described himself.


Think about it. The all-powerful King of the Universe, wisdom personified, described himself as humble. In his presence, the sick were healed. The dead were raised. Demons trembled. Jesus was true wisdom from God in human form.


That’s the kind of wisdom I’m seeking today—the wisdom that comes from above.


Lord, I ask for your kind of wisdom, not the worldly counterfeit. Make me attentive to your voice, sensitive to your gentle whisper. Lead me in the pathway of true wisdom. I pray this in the name of the humble Savior who is also our conquering King!


Simply click on this Bible Gateway link for access to the Greek Interlinear New Testament. 

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