Where Does Wisdom Come From?

This year in our Sunday School lessons we are going through the books of James and Proverbs to look at the Practical Living from God’s Word.  What is located below are the high level points we discussed this week.  Please use this tool to follow up with your teens and see how they plan to apply this to their life.

James 3:13-18


One of the markers for success that the world puts out there is wisdom.  By what means is wisdom decided.

We just discussed the power of the tongue last week.  Here we are this week talking about where wisdom comes from and what it should look like.  The tongue flows from out of the heart and wisdom comes from the heart as well.  This makes this week’s lesson extremely important in helping us learn how to live with wisdom which in turn will help us speak with wisdom.

I.          The Mark of Wisdom is found in Good Conduct and Gentleness (13 & 15)

A.        According to this passage it becomes obvious as to whether something is God’s wisdom or the world’s wisdom.

B.        Contrast the way the world’s wisdom would have played out in the life of Christ.

C.        Compare that with the way Christ responded.

D.        Because the world has turned from God, it has lost its wisdom. Every increase in man’s knowledge only magnifies the problems. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18).

But this false wisdom has another source: it is “sensual,” that is, it is “natural.” The Greek word is psukikos, which comes from the Greek word psuke meaning “life,” or “soul.” Our English word “psychology” is derived from it. In 1 Corinthians 2:14; 15:44, 46, psukikos is translated “natural,” referring to the opposite of “spiritual.” In Jude 19 it is translated “sensual.” The main idea seems to be that of man’s fallen nature as opposed to the new nature given by God. There is a wisdom that gets its origin in man’s nature totally apart from the Spirit of God.[1]

E.         In contrast to the wisdom that is earthly, sensual, and devilish, James describes a “wisdom that is from above” (James 3:17). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). The Christian looks up to heaven for all that he needs. His citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20), just as his Father is in heaven (Matt. 6:9). His treasures are in heaven, not on earth (Matt. 6:19ff). He was born from above (John 3:1–7) when he trusted Jesus Christ. The believer’s home is in heaven (John 14:1–6) and his hope is in heaven. He sets his affection and attention on things above, not on earthly things (Col. 3:1–4).[2]


II.        Evidence of False Wisdom (13-14)

A.        Envy (14)

1.         This is basically an ego trip.

2.         Taking care of yourself first.

3.         This can even show up in being overly spiritual.  (I used to love being the devout Christian)

B.        Selfish Ambition (14b)

1.         This term is actually used in the Greek to describe a politician seeking votes.

2.         Get everyone to be on your side.

3.         This is the exact opposite of esteem others better than yourself.

C.        Bragging (14c)

1.         This is the idea of letting others know how good you are for them to praise you.

2.         We are to be doing everything for God’s glory not for our own.

3.         Easy to boast about how great of things God is doing as a result of my work.

D.        Deceit (14d)

1.         This is being willing to let the truth be twisted in order to exalt you.

2.         This could be out right lying or the allowing of facts to be misrepresented.

III.       Evidence of Spiritual Wisdom (13 – 17)

A.        Gentleness (13)

1.         This is a synonym for meekness.

2.         It refers to the right use of power.

3.         In other words you do not use your power or influence to lift you up but only to glorify God.

B.        Purity (17a)

1.         This is living in light of God’s holiness

2.         Spiritual Wisdom always seeks to be holy as He is holy.

3.         God’s wisdom leads to purity of life. Man’s wisdom may lead to sin.[3]

C.        Peace-loving (17b)

1.         This peace is based on purity.

2.         As we all in the church live a pure life then we will have peace in our church.

3.         The church can never have peace by sweeping sins under the rug and pretending they are not there. Man’s wisdom says, “Cover up sin! Keep things together!” God’s wisdom says, “Confess sin and My peace will keep things together!”[4]

D.        Gentle (17c)

1.         This means that you do not create conflict.

2.         You are willing to seek peace but without compromising.

E.         Compliant (17d)

1.         This means that you easy to live and work with.

2.         You are agreeable.

3.         You are “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).[5]

F.         Mercy (17e)

1.         We are willing to not give people what they deserve not for our own gain but to show the nature of Christ.

2.         God in His grace gives us what we do not deserve, and in His mercy He does not give us what we do deserve.[6]

3.         The good Samaritan

G.        Full of Good Fruit (17f)

1.         What comes out is a productive life.

2.         Good fruit cannot come from bad roots.

H.        Without Favoritism (17g)

1.         You are not going to change your beliefs based on who you like more.

2.         You seek only God’s wisdom and favor.

I.          Without Hypocrisy (17h)

1.         There is no scheming to advance you.

2.         There is no spiritual politics.

IV.       The Results of 2 Different Kinds of Wisdom (16 &18)

A.        The Worlds Wisdom (16)

1.         There is disorder and every kind of evil.

2.         What current events point out this truth?

B.        Spiritual Wisdom (18)

1.         Peace abounds

2.         Where can we see this truth shown?


[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), Jas 3:15.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), Jas 3:15.

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), Jas 3:13.

[4] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), Jas 3:13.

[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), Jas 3:13.

[6] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), Jas 3:13.


Johnny Kjaer
Johnny is married to Tori. They have 4 children Leif, Tryggve, Kjirsti and Hroarr. He has been a part of the youth ministry at Faith since his internship began in 2010. He served as the Pastor of Student Ministries from 2013-2023 and now serves as the Pastor of Faith East Community Ministries. Johnny is an ACBC certified counselor. He also serves the church by directing the Lafayette Living Nativity.