THE MAN WHO OUGHT NEVER TO BE A TEACHER
Read Text! James seems to go back to the beginning of the chapter and concludes it with saying: If anyone wishes to be a real teacher, then let them live a life of such beautiful graciousness that he will prove to all that it stems from within their heart. Hearts that are on fire with zeal, yet are clouded with bitterness, are sure signs that the teacher does not live up to the truth that they teach.
1. What temptations are special to teachers? (The temptation of arrogance and bitterness.)
2. How can you argue false ideas and do it without wounding others?
3. From our text we can see four characteristics of the wrong kind of teaching:
A. Fanatical. The content is true, but it is unbalanced with violence, rather than controlled conviction.
B. Bitter. It regards the opponent as an enemy to be conquered rather than persuaded.
C. Selfish ambition. The goal is to promote self rather than the truth.
D. Arrogant. Pride in their knowledge is obvious, rather than humility.
4. How should we make our wisdom known to others? 3:13
5. According to 3:14, what automatically nullifies someone’s claim to wisdom?
6. How does James describe counterfeit wisdom in 3:15? (It produces the kind of situation the devil delights in, not God. It creates disorder…drives people apart. Instead of producing peace, it produces strife.)
7. What always comes with jealousy and rivalry? 3:16
8. What advise do you have for someone who has a sharp brain and a skillful tongue?
9. James states that true wisdom has 8 characteristics. What are they? (3:17)
10. If we are to have our life sow seeds of righteousness and produce godly fruit, how does James say it must be sown? 3:18; Isa. 32:17
11. How can one test their wisdom to see if it is “pure”? (Measure it up against God and His Word. Pure wisdom is ready to obey God, and it easily persuades others to the truth.)
12. If true wisdom is to bring us closer to each other and to God (“peaceable”), but it does not…what does that tell you about our thinking pattern that got us to that point?
13. James says that true wisdom is gentle. How can we balance being absolutely convinced on what we believe, yet not come across arrogant?
14. Next James says that godly wisdom is reasonable (“easy to be entreated” KJ). What is the effect on those to whom we witness when we have a hidden dagger that comes out later when we share with them? What does that do to the cause of Christianity down the road?
15. Pure wisdom is full of mercy according to James. How do we balance mercy with justice when it comes to exposing falsehood?
16. True wisdom does not waver. What does it tell you about a counselor when they waver in their counsel depending on the situation (situation ethics)?
17. Real wisdom is not hypocritical, James says. How does this relate to how he began this section on the teacher in 3:1-2?
18. There are things of greater value in this world than rules and regulations. What would say they are? (One could be: the ability to extend to others the kindly consideration we would wish to receive ourselves.)
True wisdom can only come from God. If we are to be wise, we must draw near to Him, listen to Him, and submissively train our ear to listen anytime the Word is taught. Since God is the author of the Bible, any effort to dig the pearls of wisdom out of this timeless book will be well spent, and will result in true wisdom.
Thoughtless words can have a corrupt effect on a person’s whole body. How so?