Lesson 11 - “The Meekness of Wisdom” - James 3:13-18
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
1. Context: Think about the connection between James 3:1-12 (esp.9-12) and today’s passage. Also read James 4:1-11.
2. WS: What does it mean to be wise (sophos)? (Compare with other uses in the NT like Romans 16:19; 1 Corinthians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 6:5; Ephesians 5:15; Colossians 3:13; 2 Timothy 3:15; James 3:13)
3. ID: (13) In this chapter, why is wisdom equated to good deeds done in humility?
4. ID: (15) What are the three characteristics of earthly wisdom?
5. CR: (15) What is meant by earthly, by sensual, and by demonic? (Ephesians 2:1-3; James 4:4)
6. ID: (14 & 16) What characteristics are associated specifically with bitter envy and self-seeking?
7. ID: (17) What are the seven characteristics of wisdom from above? (You may want to compare versions and/or use the Blue Letter Bible to check meanings.) How do these seven characteristics help shape our understanding of what wisdom is?
8. CR: (18) How/why are peace and righteousness related? (Isaiah 32:16-17; Hosea 10:12; Romans 14:17)
The WALK: What should I do?
1. Why would contentious people think they are wise?
2. Have you seen envy and self-seeking take hold in a church or relationship? How could it have been avoided?
3. “Peacemaking” is central to this passage. Discuss how each of the characteristics in verse 17 contribute to peace.
4. How would you rate yourself on the seven characteristics of heavenly wisdom? Which is your strongest and weakest area?
5. Can someone who regularly stirs up conflict still be considered a wise person? Why or why not?
(One for the road: Think about the similarities and differences between the list of characteristics of wisdom in James 3.17 with the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.)
Lesson 11: Bible Reading
In his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney encourages us to, “Think of Spiritual Disciplines as ways we can place ourselves in the path of God’s grace and seek Him much as Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus placed themselves in Jesus’ path and sought Him.” When they placed themselves in Jesus’ path, they were blessed beyond belief.
Follow these three steps to start on a journey through the Bible that can change your life. 1) Think about your schedule and plan a time or times that will work for you each day. 2) Pick a reading plan. 3) Recruit a “Bible reading partner” to encourage you and ask how you are doing.
First, think about your schedule and plan a time or times that will work for you each day. You probably already have 15 minutes in your day somewhere that could be used more wisely for this purpose. Maybe a lunch or break time, while the kids nap, or even instead of a TV show you watch. Many have found that getting up 15 minutes earlier than usual provides them a good opportunity to read just before starting work. It is hard to imagine that God would regularly give us so much to do that we wouldn't have time to spend with Him.
Second, pick a plan. The “Canon Plan” takes the books in order from Genesis to Revelation in order. The “Chronological Plan” organizes the passages in the order they took place or were written. “www.bibleyear.com” features 13 different plans in a variety of versions and will e-mail you a link each day for that day’s reading. The “Seven Genres Plan” has you read from a different section of the Bible each day of the week (http://www.bible-reading.com). You might also consider one of the resources listed below.
Our Daily Bread lists passages you can read to finish the Bible in a year with each day’s devotional thought. It includes the OT and NT in each day's reading. You can usually pick up a copy in the foyer or request a free subscription online at www.rbc.org.
Walk Thru the Bible offers two devotionals that you can order. The Daily Walk will take you through the whole Bible in a year with overviews, historical summaries, and personal applications. The Closer Walk will take you through the New Testament in a year.
Third, find a Bible reading partner. It can be a great encouragement and motivator. When I attended youth camp, we were required to have a buddy when we went swimming. It was someone who would keep an eye on me and make sure I stayed afloat. Starting a new habit is often a challenge. Having a spouse, coworker, or friend at church to check up on you or read through the Bible with you can help you to stay on course.
Finally, the key part of a regular Bible reading program is meditation. As you read each day, always try to identify a phrase, verse, or verses to think about through the day. This is the important part of Bible reading that God has promised to bless. It has been observed that, "Reading the Bible without meditating on it is like trying to eat without swallowing."
"The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian." -- A. W. Tozer
“We have become so accustomed to hearing preachers or expositors, as important as that is, that many in the process have abandoned the grand privilege of personally hearing from God’s Word daily.” -- Ravi Zacharias