This Week: James 3:13-18 Date: March 6, 2016 Series: Shoe Leather Theology: Study of James

This Week’s Resources:

Overview of this Lesson

This is essentially Part 2 of the lesson on the tongue. Last week we learned what the problem is–our inability to control our tongue–and this week James provides the solution–how to control the tongue. In a word, the solution is wisdom.

James has already pointed to the importance of wisdom in the believer’s life. In Chapter 1, when dealing with the reality of trials, James instructed us to ask God for wisdom as we ask the very human question of why trials happen (1:5).

This week, as we look for a solution to taming the tongue, James again points to wisdom as the solution. This time, however, James clarifies for us that there are indeed two kinds of wisdom–Worldly Wisdom and Godly Wisdom.

The problem is that to the world, Worldly Wisdom appears wise and Godly Wisdom appears foolish. But, as is the theme of the Epistle, James is pointing to a deeper truth and test for us–real faith displays Godly Wisdom, while false faith displays Worldly Wisdom.

The focus of this week’s lesson will be the contrast between Worldly Wisdom and Godly Wisdom. I’ve provided a couple of simple charts that help highlight the difference. The key that connects this week with last week is this: to tame the tongue requires Godly Wisdom; a destructive tongue is clear evidence of Worldly Wisdom, and therefore, a counterfeit faith.

Memory Verse for This Week

James 3:17–But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Core Virtue: Gentleness

Peace (Philippians 4:6-7): I am free from anxiety because things are right between God, myself and others.

This Week’s Take Home Truth

“To tame the tongue requires Godly Wisdom; a destructive tongue is clear evidence of Worldly Wisdom, and therefore, a counterfeit faith.”


  • Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
  • From your life experience, who is the wisest person you have known? Why would you describe this person as wise?
  • Can you share a time from your life when you believe you made the right choice even though at the time it seemed like the wrong or even foolish choice?

Read the Text (James 3:13-18)

These verses could be called “the tale of two cities”—the realm of wisdom (framing the passage in vv. 13, 17) contrasted with that of selfish ambition. The one “from above” leads to “peace,” while the “earthly” one leads to “disorder.” [ESV Study Bible] Read James 3:13-18.

Digging Deeper

In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions.

  • What was the focus of last week’s lesson, and how is it connected to this week’s text?
  • How would you define wisdom?
  • Starting in verse 14, James describes “wisdom from below,” or worldly wisdom. What are the outward signs of worldly wisdom?
  • What are the character attributes of worldly wisdom described in verse 15?
  • What are the results of worldly wisdom described in verse 16?
  • In verse 13, James describes “wisdom from above,” or Godly wisdom. What are the outward signs of Godly wisdom?
  • What are the character attributes of Godly wisdom described in verse 17?
  • What are the results of Godly wisdom described in verse 18? 

Concluding Thoughts

These questions are given to prompt both reflection and learning on a personal level, and should likely be completed individually and apart from your regular group time.

Unrest and dissatisfaction plague millions. People often stumble around in terrible darkness, groping and grasping for peace. God is the answer; He is the only answer. But just declaring that truth is not enough to bring peace to a person’s soul. The Word of God must be taught. People must be shown the right way to gain peace with God and with each other. What can you do to help? Pray that the Lord will give you the true Godly Wisdom from above so you can share it with others. Become wise so that you can sow seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Let this be your prayer for this week. Lord, help me to…

  1. recognize false, worldly wisdom.
  2. seek true wisdom from above.
  3. sow the seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Godly wisdom sees things from an eternal perspective that can only come from God. We must go to Him constantly in prayer and in the Word, crying out to Him in order to receive His wisdom. This is the point of Proverbs 2:1-8:

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom

and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight

and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver

and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He stores up success for the upright; He is a shield for those who live with integrity

so that He may guard the paths of justice and protect the way of His loyal followers.

Becoming A House of Prayer

Set aside a portion of your Lighthouse for prayer.

Prayer Prompts:

  • When confronted with temptation, many of us seem to forget that because of our union with Christ, the old man has been buried with Christ. Pray that we will recognize the freedom over sin this brings—when one has been buried with Christ, that person is then free to walk in the power of the resurrected Jesus (Romans 1:3, 5).
  • Pray that the members of First Family will be so committed to Christ that we will want to lay down our old sinful ways and walk in the newness of life found in Jesus (Romans 6:4).
  • Please pray that Christians everywhere will do the kind of spiritual accounting where they acknowledge daily that because of Jesus’ saving work, they are dead to sin and can walk in victory over every evil allurement (Romans 6:11).
  • Pray that every believer First Family Church will acknowledge that their faith in Christ has set them on a path where they are alive to God and can experience His holy life within them in real, tangible ways every day (Romans 6:11).
  • Pray that your family members and Christian friends will make the decision to not let sin rule or reign as king over their mortal bodies, to obey its lusts (Romans 6:12).
  • Pray that as Christians we will be sensitive not to do those things that cause our spiritual brothers and sisters to stumble into sin (Romans 14:21).