James 3:13-18

Talks for Growing Christians

Comparing Two Different Kinds of Wisdom

James 3:13-18

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Lesson Number 6

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The wisdom from below is earthly, natural and demonic.
  2. The wisdom from above is first of all pure.

Practical Application

  1. Remember, there are two wisdoms when you make decisions.


  1. Name the two different wisdoms discussed in this portion of Scripture.
  2. What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?
  3. Which book in the Old Testament is called “wisdom literature?” Which book in the New Testament is called “wisdom literature?
  4. Why are these books called “wisdom literature?”
  5. What is the reference for, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
  6. How can we know for sure which wisdom we are following?


  1. The wisdom from below and the wisdom from above.
  2. Knowledge is the apprehension of truth in one’s mind; wisdom is the application of truth to one’s life.
  3. Old Testament – Proverbs; New Testament – James.
  4. Because they tive us guidance for the application of truth to our everyday lives.
  5. James 1:5
  6. The answer is to look at the results as seen in James 3:13-14, observed in our conduct.


  1. Refer to James 3:15. The wisdom from below is earthly, natural and demonic, resulting in pride, envy, self-seeking and evil. See 1 Corinthians 1:21. Wisdom from below does not take God into account. Wisdom from below is sensual or natural; it is the wisdom of the flesh, the fallen and sinful nature that we all possess. Ultimately, Satan is the source of wisdom from below, designed to appeal to our fallen natures. When you are faced with decisions, check your source of wisdom. Are you taking God into account, or are you listening to Satan?
  2. Refer to James 3:17. Read this verse carefully, pausing after each description of the wisdom from above. Do you want peace in your life? How are you pursuing it in your family and in your fellowship? Are you willing to give up your rights for the sake of others? When someone wrongs you, do you seek revenge? If you are following the wisdom from above, your life and the fruit of your life will be characterized by righteousness and peace (James 3:18). Are you following the wisdom from above? Have you first of all asked for God’s wisdom? See James 1:5.


  1. Remember the Gibeonites of Joshua 9, whose craftiness seemed so right. Satan, the master of deception, will try to trick you into following his wisdom. Remember, also, Joshua’s mistake – he did not ask counsel of the Lord (Joshua 9:14). When you make decisions, as you do daily, make sure you ask counsel from the Lord and pray for God’s guidance.

Key Verses

  • “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” James 3:13
  • “The wisdom from below is earthly, sensual and demonic.” James 3:15
  • “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17

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