The Book of James Bible Study

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James 1

The writer of James - James 1:1

Purpose of Trials and Temptations - James 1:2-4

Asking for Wisdom - James 1:5-8

The Christian's Attitude in the Midst of Trials - James 1:9-11

The Crown of Life in the Midst of Trials - James 1:12

The Birth of Temptation - James 1:13-14

Disobedience and Death  - James 1:15

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The Christian's Bible - James 1:16-26

Asking For Wisdom

We pray for wisdom; not for perseverance! “If any of you lack wisdom” is part of a factual statement in a conditional sentence. He is saying, “I know you will not admit it, but you
need wisdom.” James tackles a delicate problem, for no person wants to hear that he is stupid, that he makes mistakes, and needs help. By nature man is independent. Man has to overcome pride to admit he needs wisdom.

Solomon equates wisdom with knowledge and understanding: “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). If wisdom is the right use of knowledge, perfect wisdom presupposes perfect knowledge. To become mature and complete, the believer must go to God for wisdom.

Wisdom is gained through experience, prayer and Scripture. Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes and James are considered the wisdom books of the Bible. Of course, wisdom is to be gleamed from every page of Scripture. The born again believers have “the mind of Christ” to instruct them through the Spirit expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words (1 Corinthians 2:10-16).

Wisdom is the discipline of applying truth to one’s life in the light of experience. Wisdom is meant to be not theoretical and abstract, but practical and personal. It should enable a person to live responsibly and successfully. Yet it is not just the skill of getting ahead and looking out for self, since success” is defined according to God’s values of serving Him and others.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10).

Wisdom from the Spirit of God never contradicts the will of God. Therefore, we are to ask for God’s wisdom so we can have confidence in praying.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

Two reasons why God does not answer prayer is doubt and asking out of His will. When we
unwaveringly ask God for wisdom, we need not be afraid that He will express displeasure for He gives generously to all without finding fault.

Lack of wisdom is like a doubled edged sword. A person lacks wisdom if doubt is present; and if doubt is present that person does not believe. Therefore, he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” The constant churning of the water suggests the agitation in a doubter’s heart. Such persons are encouraged one moment, discouraged the next. However, people of faith are stable and mature. They may not possess all wisdom for every situation, but when they need to ask, they do so in confidence that they have gone to the right source.

On the other hand, double-minded Christians are not stable during trials. Their emotions and their decisions waver. One minute they trust God; the next minute, they doubt God. Faith in God during trials always leads to stability.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10).

The absence of steadfastness in trials and temptations is an indication that the believer is still a spiritual infant, not as fully developed, as he ought to be. Trials and temptations in the Christian life should cause us to trust God more and thus bring about the bracing and discipline that is necessary for vigorous growth. Consider that Christ Himself was made “perfect” through suffering:

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything
exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering (Hebrews 2:10).

Here is where facing trials and temptations of many kinds becomes beneficial. For when the going gets difficult, a person with genuine faith is more likely to respond in accordance with the proverb:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil (Proverbs 3:5-9).

That passage describes the faith that is essential for receiving wisdom. God wants the believer to request wisdom with sincerity and trust. Hebrews 11:6 also emphasizes trust and sincerity: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

As Christians, can we really afford to make decision on our own and not to ask God for wisdom?

Next Section - The Christian's Attitude in the Midst of Trials

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

Unsealing Revelation

Experiencing Exodus

Decoding Daniel

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

How to Study the Bible

Romans Salvation

Life of the Apostle Paul

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