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The Ideal Resource to Help Youth Workers Teach James, Peter, and John

Categories Ministry New Testament Book Excerpts

9780310516774This fall we were pleased to launch a new series of helpful resources for youth workers, called "Studies on the Go."

The series gives volunteer leaders ready-made, creative, and engaging Bible studies that will challenge their students to think deeply, talk openly, and apply what they are learning to their lives. It also provides them with creative and engaging Bible study questions.

The second of two books recently released in the series is "James, 1 & 2 Peter, and 1-3 John." Without skimping on depth and substance, author David Olshine has designed this resource for the busy youth worker who lacks either the time or the information to lead a quality Bible study. Olshine has also constructed down-to-earth questions that get kids into the text and so they can hear God’s Word on a practical level.

The excerpt below will show you how this and other resources from the "Studies on the Go" series will benefit your youth ministry by helping volunteer leaders guide their students through Scripture and apply it to their lives.

Pass this excerpt along to your volunteer leaders and then add this resource to your youth worker toolkit.

Chapter 6. TWO TYPES OF WISDOM (James 3:13-18)


Intelligence and wisdom are characteristics often sought out but difficult to attain.

What student wouldn’t want to be smarter or wiser? James 3:13-18 looks at the concept of wisdom, asking the reader “do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom?” (verse 13 MSG) Most would say yes, but James will walk us through two types of wisdom, and what God says is required for real wisdom.

James states, “It’s the way you live, not the way you talk that counts.” (MSG) Then James proceeds to tell us what not to do. In verses 14-16 he writes, “Mean spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make you sound wise isn’t wisdom.” James goes on to say that it’s so far from what wisdom is that it’s in fact demonic. How many of us have experienced the troubles that come with climbing the ladder of success? It’s exactly what James describes in verse 16 “whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of them, things fall apart and everyone ends up at each other’s throats.” (MSG)

So how do you live wisely? Verse 17 tells us that we grow in wisdom by responding gently and reasonably, treating others with respect and giving others the honor they deserve as a child of God. James tells us that others will see this wisdom “if you do the hard work of getting along with each other.” In other words, living out God’s wisdom isn’t an easy road, but if diligently followed, it will yield great rewards and true godly knowledge.


Warm-Up Questions

  • Who in your life do you consider wise? Why?
  • Name some things in your life that keep you from growing in wisdom?
  • Do you think people in our culture today value wisdom? Why/why not?


Observation Questions

  • Read verses 13-14. What does James say to do and not do in order to live wisely?
  • Look at verse 15. Where do the two types of wisdom come from?
  • What does verse 16 say happens when we treat others poorly?
  • In verses 17-18, how is godly wisdom compared to earthly wisdom?


Interpretation Questions

  • Look at verses 13-14. Why do you think humility is a crucial part of living wisely?
  • In verse 15, why do you think James states that wisdom can be demonic?
  • Read verse 16 and examine the connection between disorder and selfish ambition. What does that look like?
  • Look at verses 17-18. Why do you think James speaks about peacemakers, and what needs to be sowed in order to reap a righteous harvest?


Application Questions

  • How do we determine who is wise and who to surround ourselves with?
  • What can you do to overcome bitterness and envy toward others? Who could help you in this process?
  • What brings disorder (or chaos) to your life? How do you try to manage it? What part of this passage could help you?
  • What for you is the hardest area in which to show mercy and grace? How have you tried to show those qualities to others? How could you show those qualities to others?


Optional Activity

Have the students come up with a list of what godly wisdom looks like in contrast to earthly wisdom. Have them determine as a group which wisdom they tend to display and have them talk about two to three ways they can keep encouraging each other to grow in godly wisdom. Then pray as a group for strength in living a life of humility and growing in wisdom.

James, 1-2 Peter, and 1-3 John

By David Olshine

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