Key Themes: Wisdom

Sermons
Music
Blog

For those acquainted with the Israelite wisdom literature of the Old Testament, a brief reading of James will sound very familiar: ‘What is your life? ...you are a mist’ James reminds us (4:14) echoing the Preacher’s memorable opening to Ecclesiastes. How to endure your present suffering?, recall the ‘steadfastness of Job’! exhorts James (5:11); and of course, James’ singular appeal that true wisdom is alone to be received from God above (1:5, 1:16ff) recalls Proverbs 1.

Similarly, the style of James contributes to this sense of familiarity with the instruction in James often arriving in the form of imperative—reasoning wisdom couplets found throughout Proverbs (‘Do this .. for ..’): ‘let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, /for/ the anger of man …’ (1:19b-20); ‘be doers of the word, and not hearers only, … /for/ if anyone is a hearer of the word …’ (1:22-23); ‘if you really fulfil the royal law … you are doing well, /for/ whoever keeps the whole law …’ (2:8-10), .. and so on.

Why wisdom? It is clear from the opening of the letter and subsequent references that James is writing to a body of believers who are facing suffering for their faith. Unfortunately, it seems that so far their response has been bickering (1:19), favouritism (2:1-7) and slander (1:26-27) (to name a few), none of which honour the name of Christ and all lead to disunity. In contrast, biblical Wisdom, received from the mouth of God, is that instruction which exhorts us to live Godly lives in the present age: practical advice aligning with the cosmic reality of God’s sovereign plans.

It seems fitting therefore that in this present trial, James exhorts the church to return to God as the initiator and author of wise, Godly living under trial. God’s wisdom (3:13,17) begins with purity, and leads to Godly character (cf. Gal 5:22-23); God’s heart (1:5-8) is generous towards His people and desires an undivided, faithful (not fake) response; God’s gifts to His followers are perfect and good, steadfast and truthful (1:16-18), leading over time to followers marked by changed lives, ‘first fruits’ of a new creation.

Ultimately, James works against an impoverished view of God’s gracious, generous, powerful and transformative action in the lives of His believers. In this way, James is simply repeating the Lord Jesus who prepared (time and again) His followers for the trials to come, by pointing them to God’s steadfast love and His active and powerful presence in their lives to withstand whatever may come at them in this passing age (e.g. Mark 13:11-13, Matt. 28:20). Wisdom indeed!

 

For more articles on the key themes in the book of James, download 'The End of Hypocrisy ebook'.

Author: Simon Angus
Published: 02 Jun 2015


Latest Posts:

  • Join the Team – Generations Pastor (Melbourne)

    Join the Team –…

  • Join the Team – Women’s Ministry Director (Melbourne)

    Join the Team –…

  • Join the Team – Training Director (Melbourne)

    Join the Team –…

  • Join the Team – City Kids Coordinator (West)

    Join the Team –…

  • Join the Team – City on a Hill Melbourne

    Join the Team –…

  • Join the Team – Services Director (West)

    Join the Team –…

  • Key Themes: Suffering

    Key Themes: Suffering

  • Key Themes: Poverty & Wealth

    Key Themes: Poverty…

  • Key Themes: Now & Tomorrow

    Key Themes: Now &…

  • Key Themes: Wisdom

    Key Themes: Wisdom

  • Key Themes: Faith & Works

    Key Themes: Faith…

  • Opportunity to Serve – Communications Coordinator Melbourne

    Opportunity to Serve…

  • Fasting: A Brief Introduction

    Fasting: A Brief…

  • Unlocking a New Room

    Unlocking a New Room

  • Join the Team – Many Rooms Kitchen Coordinator

    Join the Team –…

  • Opportunity to Serve – City Kids Team Leader

    Opportunity to Serve…

  • On Mission with Milene Tan

    On Mission with Milene…

  • On Mission with Kenneth Webb

    On Mission with Kenneth…

  • On Mission with Debbie Bognar

    On Mission with Debbie…

  • The Structure of Proverbs

    The Structure of…

  • City on a Hill Church Planting Fund

    City on a Hill Church…

  • His Story Our Story – Recap

    His Story Our Story…

  • 3 Tips for Reading Proverbs

    3 Tips for Reading…

  • Join the Team – Research Coordinator

    Join the Team –…

  • Why should we trust the Bible if it gets the origin of life so wrong? – Part III

    Why should we trust…

  • Why should we trust the Bible if it gets the origin of life so wrong? – Part II

    Why should we trust…

  • Why should we trust the Bible if it gets the origin of life so wrong? – Part I

    Why should we trust…

  • Tacos of Grace

    Tacos of Grace

  • City News September

    City News September

  • City News August

    City News August

  • Join the Team – Operations Director

    Join the Team –…

  • Welcome Dave Miers

    Welcome Dave Miers

  • City News July

    City News July

  • On Mission with Paul Distefano

    On Mission with Paul…

  • On Mission with Steve Murray

    On Mission with Steve…

  • On Mission with Rick Jordan

    On Mission with Rick…

  • Welcome Leighton Cantrill

    Welcome Leighton…

  • The Lost Art of Sorrow

    The Lost Art of Sorrow

  • Interview With Sam Wright, Pastor of Redemption Church

    Interview With Sam…

  • The Reality of Suffering and Evil

    The Reality of Suffering…

  • Join the Team – Accounts Coordinator

    Join the Team –…

  • The Attentive Life - Book Review

    The Attentive Life…

  • A Date with the King

    A Date with the King

  • Trusting the Grand Weaver

    Trusting the Grand…

  • City News February

    City News February

  • Songs of Summer II

    Songs of Summer II

  • City News January

    City News January

  • Generous – Quarterly Update

    Generous – Quarterly…

  • City News December

    City News December

  • Join the Team – Community Director

    Join the Team –…

  • Engage 2014

    Engage 2014

  • Planting with PlantED

    Planting with PlantED

  • Join the Team – Video Coordinator

    Join the Team –…

  • Introduction to Promises

    Introduction to Promises

  • Join the Team – XD-Ops

    Join the Team –…

  • City News November

    City News November

  • His Story Our Story – Photo Journal

    His Story Our Story…

  • Kirsty’s Story

    Kirsty’s Story

  • Pete’s Story

    Pete’s Story

  • Amy’s Story

    Amy’s Story

  • Surviving Same Sex Attraction as a Christian

    Surviving Same Sex…

  • Generous Campaign

    Generous Campaign

  • Why Bother With Predestination?

    Why Bother With Predestination?

  • City News October

    City News October

  • This Is (True) Greatness

    This Is (True) Greatness

  • The Call to Mission

    The Call to Mission

  • What About the Warnings?

    What About the Warnings?

  • The Peril of Porn

    The Peril of Porn

  • Dating For The Glory Of God

    Dating For The Glory…

  • City News September 2013

    City News September…

  • Adoption: The Gospel Made Visible

    Adoption: The Gospel…

  • You Knit Me Together

    You Knit Me Together

  • Working For God

    Working For God

  • Australia – The Results Are In

    Australia – The…

  • Thorn in the Flesh

    Thorn in the Flesh

  • Tough Questions

    Tough Questions

  • Good Grief

    Good Grief

  • An Honourable Office

    An Honourable Office

  • City News July 2013

    City News July 2013

  • Faith and Work

    Faith and Work

  • We Are Family

    We Are Family

  • WWJD: Responding To Begging

    WWJD: Responding…

  • Work. Rest. Play - Part II

    Work. Rest. Play…

  • City News - May

    City News - May

  • Salvation Happens To Us, Not By Us

    Salvation Happens…

  • Doves & Snakes

    Doves & Snakes

  • Planting & Pregnancy

    Planting & Pregnancy

  • Lest We Forget

    Lest We Forget

  • Introduction to 1 Peter

    Introduction to 1…

  • Easter 2013 – Photo Journal

    Easter 2013 – Photo…

  • More Than Gold

    More Than Gold

  • Join The Team – Music Director

    Join The Team –…

  • Jessica’s Story

    Jessica’s Story

  • Changes

    Changes

  • Andy’s Story

    Andy’s Story

  • Work. Rest. Play - Part I

    Work. Rest. Play…

  • Join The Team – Biblical Living Pastor

    Join The Team –…

  • Eat, Drink & Be Merry Melbourne!

    Eat, Drink &…

  • City News – March

    City News – March

  • The Affections of Our Hearts & The Idols We Worship II

    The Affections of…