Two Kinds of Wisdom

Those with some scriptural training or higher status in the faith community will be tempted to count themselves qualified as “wise.” Those who feel inadequate in spiritual things might hope they won’t be noticed. James’s answer to his own question, though, comes as a surprise. As human beings, we tend to measure wisdom as having all the right answers to the hard questions. Instead, James suggests, wisdom is as wisdom does. He echoes what he wrote about faith and good works in chapter 2: “I will show you my faith by my good works.”

A truly wise person will demonstrate the humility of wisdom by his good works. The true test of God’s kind of wisdom is a life well lived, a life spent doing good works for others. As the wisdom book of Proverbs repeatedly makes clear, humility is an essential component of living wisely (Proverbs 1:5–8). Without setting ourselves aside, we cannot hope to become the wise servants God has called us to be