Meditation Commentary on James 3:17-18


17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.


There are two kinds of wisdom: worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom. Multiple places in Scripture, it talks about how we can gain wisdom from God and how He wants to grant it to His people.

James 3:13-18 lays out the two kinds of wisdom about as simply and straight-forward as possible. In verses 13-16 we see what characterizes worldly wisdom. Verse 15, speaking of worldly wisdom, says, “This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.”

How can we know that we have wisdom from God? What portrays “wisdom from above?” The last two verses in James chapter three describe this beautifully.

We see that the wisdom that is from above is first…

  1. Pure. The Merriam-Webster dictionary has many definitions for the word “pure.” One of the descriptions says that it is “unmixed with any other matter.” Gold is a great example of something that is extremely valuable when it is 100% pure. In order to become pure, it must first be refined in the fire through a lengthy process so all of the impurities can be removed. As Christians, we must also allow God to put us through the “fire,” so He can refine us and make us into pure vessels to be used by Him.
  2. Then peaceable. An explanation of “peaceableness” found in the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible is, “promoting the cessation of conflict.” We should always be people who strive to bring peace to every situation that we find ourselves in. This includes things such as being instrumental in directing conversations in a Godly direction and not being selfish in our actions.
  3. Gentle. 2 Timothy 2:24 says, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient…” Gentleness is something that is harder for some people to cultivate and express than others. It is something that is very important for us to practice, especially when dealing with non-believers. It would be a terrible thing to “turn someone off” to the things of the Lord, simply because a Christian was being harsh in relating to that person.
  4. Willing to yield. We live in a society in which people are becoming more and more unyielding. So many people are only concerned with what makes them happy or what will allow them to accomplish what they deem as “important.” As simple as it seems, a great way for us to shine our lights as Christians, is to yield to others when it is appropriate and on a regular basis.
  5. Full of mercy and good fruits. Christ is the ultimate example we have to follow in this area. His whole life here on earth, was devoted to doing good things for other people and teaching them His Father’s word. His earthly life ended with Him demonstrating perfect mercy in dying on the cross. Would you do something like that?
  6. Without partiality. How often do we demonstrate greater concern and love for someone who makes us feel good, as opposed to someone who might be a bit difficult to be around? Jesus obviously was not too worried about what made Him feel or look good when He did things such as eating with tax collectors. We should strive to look at each person we encounter through the “eyes” of God.
  7. And without hypocrisy. Sincerity is something that we should all be concerned with implementing in our lives. I cannot think of something that the world thinks less of, than a hypocritical church-going Christian. Numerous times, I have heard someone speak negatively of the Christian church, because they say that it is full of hypocrites.

This passage is yet another one that can be used as a guide with which I can put my life up next to, and ask some questions. These verses offer quite an extensive list of things that are no small task to master. In fact, I know that I will never be at all perfect in any of these things. This is what keeps us dependant upon God for daily strength.


By Zachary Childers