Summary: Are You A Wise Guy, the 4th installment from the book of James series, this passage still has some gaps in it with the Illustration etc but you will find the outline workable. James is all about wisdom and a good life in this passage.

Background Material

James Biographical Info:

• The author was James, Jesus' half-brother; James and Christ had different Fathers (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3).

• James, also called James the Just, (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3).

• James was not a believer (John 7:3-5) until after the resurrection (Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19).

• James was the pastor of the church in Jerusalem and was Jewish and this book reflects his Jewish up bring; he is mentioned first as a pillar of the church (Galatians 2:9).

• According to the historian Josephus, James was martyred in approximately A.D. 62, prior to the first council of Jerusalem in A.D. 50.


• This book was written to Hebrew Christians outside of Palestine. It was written around A.D. 46-49. Approximately fifteen years after the resurrection of Christ.

• Even before Paul went on his first missionary Journey.

• It possible that this was the first letter written in the New Testament.

James 1:1 says "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings." These who James was writing to were Jewish Christians who were under a lot of persecution which started right after the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7:54-60; 8:1-3, which describes the scattering of the Christian.

• They had no Bible to speak of except the Old Testament. The only thing they had to hang on too was their faith in Christ. Then after ten years of suffering persecution you receive this letter that says.

The Stoning of Stephen

The death of Stephen and the scattering of the believer happen around 35 to 37 A.D. Have been scattered for about ten or twelve years.

(Acts 7:54-60)

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. 8 1On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

Are You A Wise Guy?

James 3:1-4:16

Key Center: James 3:13

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

Be Wise In Leadership (3:1-2)

31 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

Exegesis: There are two things here in the this paragraph that stands out. First that of humility the an-thesis to arrogance among the leadership. Secondly, its implied the soundness of what is being taught both in content and lifestyle and the seriousness of being judged accordingly. God did not call everyone to be teachers rather He gave different gifts to different people (Eph. 4:11-13 & I Cor. 12:27-31). A teacher is a person in authority and who at times makes judgments on peoples spiritual well being and/or leads others in spirituality. This can be dangerous because God does not considerate it lightly when it comes to teaching His Word. "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." If leaders going to be wise, than their actions should coincide with our attitude and our lifestyle. A life of humility towards God, His Word and others are interconnect with a life in leadership. James’ message is not that we should not get into leadership but that there are higher standards for those who choice to be in authority. For if one teaches one should be living out what he/she teaches, as a direct result of them teaching themselves (Matt. 7:1). James’ reoccurring motif of humility is assumed and is a strong directive throughout the book (1:5, 1:9-11, 1:13-15, 1:16-18, 1:19, 1:21, 1:26 and 2:13). “we who teach will be judged more strictly” is an al encompassing in relation to the central focus of the passage, understanding, deeds, good life, humility and wisdom (vs.13). James is not subtle here if a person wants to be in leadership, it must evident that their “wisdom” incorporates these qualities. Especially since they are held accountable to God. Humility is an attribute that is to be cultivate into the lives of the leaders. Titus speak about qualities of leadership also which is a long the same train of thought as James does in 1:7, “7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.” It’s no wonder that James says that “"Not many of you should presume to be teachers.” Peter speaks of this too when he says in 1 Peter 5:1-4,

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