James 3:17-18 KJV
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Now that we have distinguished what the wisdom of the world is it’s time to look at the wisdom that is from above. This is the wisdom that we should use in all of our actions and discussions. Remember the wisdom of the world brings strife and envy. And we want no part of that. There’s a long list of characteristics of the wisdom that is from above. Let’s take each one individually so we can see what God desires as we use this wisdom in our everyday lives.
Wisdom from above is pure. This is the Greek word hagnus and literally means uncontaminated without & within, not mixed with guilt or anything that is condemned. This wisdom is innocent, modest, perfect and clean. It’s the same word used in Philippians 4:8, listed as one of the things we should be thinking upon. This word was also used by Paul when he exhorted Timothy to stay pure in 1st Timothy 5:22. This tell us that when we are filled with God’s wisdom, we will speak of His perfect will, and our counsel will be sound and pure. It will not condemn people or leave them with guilt. Rather it will compel them to purity and holiness.
And wisdom from above is peaceable. This is the same Greek word e i r e n i k o s. This signifies a quietness. It literally means peaceful. Hebrews 12 11 says that this kind of peace is the fruit of righteousness (we’ll be looking at this a little bit later). It is also the same word Jesus used when He said “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt 5:9). God’s wisdom will lead to peace in our lives and others lives.
The wisdom from above is gentle. This is the Greek word e p i e k e s. It means fair or moderate. The word is closely associated with meekness. It signifies fulfilling the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law. God’s wisdom is not harsh. It encourages people to be fair to each other within the spirit of the la.
The wisdom from above is easy to be entreated. This is the Greek word e u p e i t h e s This word could be translated reasonable ready to obey God or compliant with God. This is the only place this Greek word is used in the Bible. God’s wisdom is reasonable and will bring people to a place of obedience to His law.
The wisdom from above is full of Mercy. The word full needs to be filled with just as we would imagine. Mercy here is a Greek word e l e o s. It means compassion. It signifies kindness or goodwill toward the misery of others joined with a desire to relieve them. This word is used quite often throughout the New Testament and is always used in the greetings of Paul in his letters to the various churches. God’s wisdom is compassionate and seeks to bring people out of their troubles and into His grace.
The wisdom from above it’s full of good fruits. Fruit is the Greek word k a r p o s and means that which originates or comes from something. It is a result. God’s wisdom produces good things in people, not bad things.
The wisdom from above is without partiality. It is a Greek word a d a i k r i t o s. This is the only place it is used in the Bible. This means it is unwavering and no uncertainty. God’s wisdom does not change from one person to the next, or one situation to the next. It is unwavering and consistent at all times.
The wisdom from above is without hypocrisy. This is the Greek word a n u p o k a r i t i o s. It denotes being genuine, sincere, not phony and free from hidden agendas. This Greek word is used in 2 Cor 6:6 and translated genuine, and also in Rom 1:9 and 1 Tim 1:5, where it is translated sincere. When God’s wisdom is used, you know exactly what is being said, and you know the speaker does not say these things to gain anything or to try and get you to do something. It speaks from a pure heart.
As you read these words and their meaning, can you see how different God’s wisdom is than the wisdom of the worlds described previously? God’s wisdom is always looking out for the hearer and what is best for them. It is there to perfect us and mold us into His image. It’s only purpose is to make us more like Christ, who epitomizes every one of these attributes. There is no envy or strife as there is with the world’s wisdom.
Verse 18 adds on another interesting note., There are 5 places in the bible here righteousness is mentioned in association with peace. here, psalm 85:10, Romans 14:17, Heb 1:11, and Isaiah 32:17. As we read these other verses, it appears that peace is a result of righteousness in one’s heart and that makes a lot of sense. When we walk in righteousness, there is no guilt over our sin, or envy about another person. Our mind’s are pure from evil thoughts, because we are thinking righteous thoughts and doing things that are right. Peace comes when we walk in righteousness!
This is a powerful ending to the third chapter of James. After helping is tame our tongues, he brings us to using godly wisdom, which is what should be produced by our tamed tongues. Let us make sure that this is the wisdom we use in our daily lives.