Wisdom from Above

James begins this passage (3:13-18) with a question, “Who is wise and understanding among you?” The Bible puts a premium on wisdom. “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver” (Proverbs 16:16). So how do we “get wisdom” and how do we recognize it in others? The answer to the first question requires that we know the source of wisdom. Wisdom comes from the LORD; He gives it (Pro.2:6). We receive it from Him when we humble ourselves before Him in reverent fear. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
In reference to the second question, we recognize wisdom in others by their good conduct and by their works performed in meekness. The wise person shows his wisdom by his moral conduct. His wisdom is also demonstrated in that he conducts himself with meekness or humility. He does his works out of reverence for God, not to be revered or praised by others. He does not seek honor for himself nor is he envious of those who receive honor. The wisdom he possesses is from above and is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. The wise person treats God with reverence and people with deference.