Are You Lacking Wisdom?


Are you lacking wisdom? What is wisdom? Let’s find out!

James 1:5 states, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and [h]without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

James tells us one can ask God for wisdom and it will be given to them. What kind of wisdom though? Wisdom to decide if you should take that job offer? Wisdom to decide if you should move somewhere new? Wisdom to decide to marry someone? These are questions that can’t be answered in this verse alone.

James 1:5 in context


Context is like the sun. It shines a bright light that helps you see everything. When you see everything, you get the full picture of what’s in front of you. Before verse 5, James talks about trials (temptations) that test our faith and help produce endurance. Endurance works perfection in us, and it makes us complete and lacking in nothing.

It’s interesting verse 5 has the word “if” in that verse. If… any of you lacks wisdom. Meaning maybe you’re not. Maybe your endurance is giving you enough wisdom in your life right now. But, as James said, if we are lacking, we can ask. And he continues saying we must ask with no doubt, and have faith we’ll receive it.

What wisdom is James talking about?

So what is the wisdom that James is talking about? That’s the million dollar question. James gives us clues in the third chapter.

James 3:13-17 states, “13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and [i]selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, [j]natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and [k]selfish ambition exist, [l]there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [m]reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

What is wisdom associated with here? First of all it’s associated with good behavior and deeds. It’s also associated with purity, peace, gentleness, reasonableness, mercy, good fruits, and being unwavering. It is not associated with bitter jealousy, self ambition, disorder, and every evil thing.

What is being contrasted here? Think about it. How do all the things associated with wisdom, contrast with all the things associated with the earthly, the natural, and the demonic? While you think about that, let me give you some Greek definitions to understand the meaning of these words better.

Greek Words

Pikros (bitter) – harsh

Zēlos (jealousy) – envious rivalry

Eritheia (selfish ambition) – “This same word was “found before NT times only in Aristot., Polit. 5, 3 p. 1302b, 4; 1303a, 14, where it denotes a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means” (BDAG). Paul exhorts the church to be one in the mind of Christ not putting self forward or being selfish (Phl 2:3). Jam 3:14 speaks against having selfishness or self-promoting in your heart” (Imagine if our politicians believed in not doing things this way)

Hagos (pure) – pure from every fault, immaculate

Eirēnikos (peaceable) – loving peace

Epieikēs (gentle) – equitable, fair, mild, gentle

Eupeithēs (reasonable) – Easily obeying, compliant

Eleos (mercy) – of uncertain affinity, compassion

Adiakritos (unwavering) – without dubiousness, without ambiguity, without uncertainty

Anypokritos (without hyporcrisy) – unfeigned, undisguised

The Wisdom

The contrast we see with wisdom from above vs the earthly is character. Godly character vs evil character. The wisdom James is talking about us asking for if we’re lacking is in exercising Godly character. Reflecting good behavior, doing good deeds, being pure, being peaceable, being gentle, being reasonable, being merciful, being unwavering, and being without hypocrisy.

As James said before encouraging to ask for wisdom, all of us are being perfected by endurance through our temptations in being complete in our faith. And the wisdom God will give you if you are lacking in it and ask for it, is the wisdom of exercising your faith closer to completion and perfection.

Peace to you all in Christ.



10 thoughts on “Are You Lacking Wisdom?

  1. Thank you for this wisdom, and for letting me know how to get some! Your approach is winsome, makes me hungry for more. Oh, the depth of the riches – both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments, unfathomable His ways!! (Romans)

    1. Hi Riverbed. Thanks for your comment. Indeed, the Word has a way of making you want to dive even deeper and be closer to God.

      Peace in Christ 🙂

  2. A wonderful scripture of which has been said: “At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if He gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.” As you rightly say, we must all venture! Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi princessarchitect. Thanks for your comment. Indeed, may we all continue to seek the wisdom that God wants us all to have. 🙂

      Peace in Christ

  3. Very in-depth and deep post. Wisdom is in the right hand of God. Young Solomon had no idea the magnitude of what He requested of God in his dream. Wow! He asked for the Son of God Himself who is the embodiment of wisdom. Continue the good work. Blessings.

    1. Hi Beverley. Thanks for your comment. Indeed, much wisdom is found through Christ through His words and example left for us to follow. Thank God for the Word that gives us so much wisdom on Christ and everything else.

      Peace in Christ.

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