In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.
Wednesday, 12 October 2016
James 3:13-17 - The way of wisdom
Biblical wisdom is more than knowing what is the
right thing to do in a situation. Instead, it describes a way of life. A wise
person shows he has spiritual understanding by the way he lives.
The word ‘good’ in verse 13 points to something that
is lovely to look at, very attractive to observe, something that causes devout
aspirations in those who observe it. It does not repel. Sometimes we meet a
Christian who is like this and our response is, ‘I would love to be like him or
The basic quality of wisdom is gentleness, or
meekness. Gentleness, as we know, covers our thinking, our words and our
actions. A person who thinks aggressively will never be wise as long as he
thinks in that manner. Similarly, a person who speaks aggressively will soon
reveal his lack of wisdom, and a person who acts aggressively will immediately
reveal his lack of wisdom.
It has been pointed out often that meekness or
gentleness marked the character of the Saviour. He described himself as gentle
and lowly in heart. It might be worth reminding ourselves of verses in the
Bible that highlight the necessity of meekness or gentleness. So here are
Paul reminded the Galatians that meekness was
necessary when dealing with the fallen: ‘Brothers, if anyone is caught in any
transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of
gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted’ (Gal. 6:1).
Peter informed his readers that meekness was needed
when explaining the faith to others: ‘but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord
as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a
reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.’
Jesus made a great promise regarding the meek when
he said, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’ (Matt. 5:5),
which is a quotation from Psalm 37:11: ‘But the meek shall inherit the land and
delight themselves in abundant peace.’
James says that a wise person will show his works
‘in’ and not ‘by’ the meekness of wisdom. The use of the word ‘in’ points to
the atmosphere in which such a person lives. Whenever he is encountered, he is
found to be in a gentle frame of mind. Because he has that feature, other people will assume that he will behave wisely. The atmosphere so
described will contain more than gentleness, but gentleness is indispensable
for a valid Christian life.