Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Book of James Part 3: Gaining Wisdom

James Epistle Part 3: Gaining Wisdom


Previous messages by Rev. B. A. Shields found here


Book of James

Part 3: Gaining Wisdom

By Rev. Bruce A. Shields



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1.      Introduction to the Book of James

2.     Trials and Temptation

3.     Gaining Wisdom




Today is Sunday. May 26th, 2024


          Last week, we read about trials and temptations and how we should view them. This week, James will tell us how to gain the wisdom of God so that we can turn those trials and temptations into triumphs and victories.





James 1:2-4 (last week – subject: temptations and trials of faith)

“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various temptations, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith brings about perseverance. 4 And let perseverance have its perfect work (come to maturity), so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”


James 1:5-8

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach (scolding or criticism), and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith, doubting nothing, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”



a.   We must ALWAYS use good Hermeneutics.

                                  i.    Hermeneutics is the process of understanding the text. It is the theory and methodology of interpretation. 

                                ii.    Hermeneutics was initially applied to the interpretation, or Exegesis, of scripture but is now used for general interpretation. 

                              iii.    Hermeneutics and Exegesis are interchangeable.

b.   How do we know we can trust this process of interpretation?

                                  i.    The hermeneutical circle was initially developed by St. Augustine, who lived from 345 to 430 AD.

                                ii.    He was a theologian and philosopher who greatly influenced Western Christianity and was respected by all Christian denominations.

                              iii.    Luther wrote, "I do not defend Augustine because I am an Augustinian. Before I began reading his works he meant nothing to me." The theology of Augustine was held in great esteem by Luther, and promoted widely while he was at Wittenberg. Luther even described Augustine as a leading advocate for reform in the church.

                               iv.    The Reformation created the modern church as we know it, apart from Catholic influence and corruption.

                                 v.    If you call yourself a Christian, this is the process used to understand God's word, which became your faith's foundation.


c.    Do I have to learn a bunch of stuff to use good hermeneutics?

                                  i.    Although Exegesis is essential, if not used, you may end up using eisegesis

1.    Exegesis – discover what the author meant

2.   Eisegesis – create what you think the author meant

                                ii.    Big difference



Mark 16:18a “and they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them;”

Exegesis: Jesus gives the Great Commission in verse 14-16, so it appears from the text Jesus is telling them they will have His authority as they spread the gospel of Salvation, and not to worry about anything stopping them.

Luke 10:17-20 “Now the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

So, authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and Jesus said, “Nothing will hurt you.”

Acts 28:3-5 “But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4 And when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.”

The natives saw Paul get bitten by a poisonous snake and assumed he was a murderer or something and “justice” had found him out, but God protected him from the incident, which was a sign to them that he spoke truth from God.


Eisegesis: We should dance with poisonous snakes during a church service and drink poison to show everybody how holy we are.

NOWHERE does Jesus tell the disciples to “DO THIS,” instead, Jesus instructed them not to worry about demonic attacks or forces of nature. They would be protected.

                              iii.    Poor (and lazy) study turned an encouragement of protection into a denominational doctrine in a branch of Pentecostal churches.

                               iv.    This is not “obeying the word of God” but rather, tempting God.

                                 v.    Satan did the same thing to Jesus in the wilderness

1.    Matthew 4:5-7 “Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,

   and they will lift you up in their hands,

  so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”


                               vi.    Cherry-picking a verse out of its intended context and turning it into a doctrine is exactly what Satan did...

1.    Using Eisegesis, Satan quoted a cherry-picked verse wanting Jesus to throw Himself off the mountain

2.   Jesus, properly using Exegesis, quoted that you should not put the Lord your God to the test.


                             vii.    This is how we study scripture and get true understanding!

                           viii.    This was an extreme example for illustration, but I have seen other examples of people misinterpreting scripture over the years to support and defend what they want the scripture to say rather than what it actually says.

1.    About God’s love

2.   Discipline

3.   Judging others

4.   The list goes on and on



James 1:5-8

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach (scolding or criticism), and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith, doubting nothing, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”


a.   If you lack wisdom, ask God.

                                  i.    Where can we find answers? The word of God!

                                ii.    How do you know if you lack wisdom? Read James 3:13-18

1.    Clearly describes what wisdom is and is not.

                              iii.    If we ask for an answer, we search the word of God

1.    And verse 5 says, “God will give (answers) GENEROUSLY (as many times as you ask (seek), and without REPROACH (scolding or criticism)

a.   God wants you to seek answers as often as you need, and He will provide answers without getting upset because He desires you to read His word and seek Him!

2.   What does Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount? Seek, and you will find!

3.   How did Jesus treat Thomas when he had questioned Jesus and the resurrection? Jesus answered his questions without getting angry or rebuking him for asking.


b.   You must ask in faith, doubting nothing.

                                  i.    Matthew 21:21 “Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

1.    This is a proverbial expression. The power of faith is expressed by Jesus here figuratively to emphasize its importance (Matthew Henry Commentary pg 110 Verses 18-22)

2.   Jesus never intended for you to take this literally. Otherwise, there would have been mountains thrown into the sea a million times by Christians over the last 2000 years.

                                ii.    The point Jesus was trying to make here is that we should not consider anything impossible if we have faith in God.

                              iii.    Doubting God's power and promise spoils faith's effectiveness and success.


c.    Do not be double-minded.

                                  i.    I believe in God’s promises, no not all of them. Yes, the entire Bible, back and forth, continuously living in flesh, then spirit, then flesh.



a.   What is it he should not expect?

                                  i.    CONTEXT: Wisdom, to find what he is looking for in the word.

                                ii.    The Literal Translation says “two-souled” for double-minded.

                              iii.    A man bouncing back and forth between living for the Lord and living for himself

                               iv.    This man is unstable in all his ways!



                                  i.    Unpredictable, erratic, volatile, restless

                                ii.    Because all decisions and morality in his life are one day based on the desires of the Spirit of God and another on the flesh of the man

                              iii.    The Bible calls these men “weak.”



                                  i.    2 Peter 2:14 “With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!”

                                ii.    This is a warning to the double-minded about being seduced away by false teachers who prey on the weak and unstable. Those who lack wisdom!

                              iii.    But God promises those who desire wisdom to seek and ask, you will find and be blessed with the wisdom of God and His Holy Word!

                               iv.    Every cult, false teaching, and lie used as a lure only works on those who lack the wisdom of God’s word.

                                 v.    Satan cannot misuse the word of God to deceive you if you have the wisdom of God’s word.



          2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”


          Are you doing your best?


          Are you correctly handling the word of truth?


READ, STUDY, PRAY, and spend time with believers who will encourage, uplift, and help you grow spiritually!




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