Ready to study wisdom in James 3 with cross references? If you haven’t read our studies on James 1 and 2 yet, check out the links below!


One of the people I have always admired in Scripture is King Solomon. When he became king after his father David, he had something very special happen early in his reign. In 1 Kings 3, God comes to Solomon in a dream and asks him what he would like. Instead of asking for wealth, more power, or a long life, Solomon asks the Lord for wisdom to lead the people of Israel. He asked God for wisdom and God gave it to him.

That event in Scripture plays in my mind when I come to the third chapter in James. In verse 13 we find the following: “Who among you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct he should show that his works are done in the gentleness that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13 CSB). The passage then goes on to compare and contrast worldly and godly wisdom.

In my walk with the Lord I want to be as wise as possible. So let’s see what more we can find in Scripture using the Olive Tree Bible App to help us better understand how we can both have and apply godly wisdom to our lives. We will focus our study on verse 17.

Start with Your Bible

When it comes to studying the Bible, one tool we often underutilize in our study is the Bible itself. More often than not, we quickly turn to commentaries and study Bibles, when the Bible itself, in addition to the tools publishers include, provides us with a wealth of information. When we learn to lean on the Bible first, we can often bypass many of our other resources.

If you’re studying a particular subject, like wisdom in James, one of the first things you can do is search the Bible for that word. Searching the Christian Standard Bible for the word “wisdom” returns 234 hits. That’s a bit much to filter through for a quick study, so let’s move on to the next option the Bible provides: cross-references.

Bible Cross-References

In the Olive Tree Bible App there are two ways to find your Bible’s cross-references. The first option is to tap on the footnote reference in the Bible text and see everything in a popup.

The second way, which is my preferred option, is to use the Resource Guide’s “Related Verses” section. Find your Bible translation, tap on it, and you’ll see all your Bible’s cross-references for the passage you’re studying. I love this method because it makes it easy to tap on the verses. Plus, you can change translations and see its cross-references (and the pop-up will even show you the verse in that specific Bible’s translation).

Getting back to our passage in James, we’re given 5 cross-references for James 3:17 which includes: Luke 6:36; Romans 12:9; 1 Corinthians 2:6; Hebrews 12:11; James 2:4. Of these five verses, only 1 Corinthians 2:6 speaks about wisdom and how the wisdom Paul speaks of is for the mature and is not the wisdom of his age. That’s not particularly helpful.

Christian Standard Bible Cross References in Resource Guide

Knowing we have over 200 verses that reference wisdom, there has to be a better way to filter them so we can find passages that will help us make more sense of the godly wisdom spoken of in our passage. There is, and that’s where we’ll turn next.

Next-Level Cross-Referencing

After exhausting the cross-references provided by our Bible, the next place we should turn is a more exhaustive list of cross-references. One of my favorite tools for this is The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (NTSK). I like to refer to it as cross-references on steroids. By comparison, when the CSB only gave us 5 cross-references for James 3:17, the NTSK offers more than 80 verses for us to examine. Here is the entry for the phrase “the wisdom from above”:

17. the wisdom. ver. 15. Ja 1:5, 17. Ge 41:38, 39. Ex 36:2. 1 K 3:9, 12, 28. 1 Ch 22:12. Jb 28:12, 23, 28. 32:7. Pr 2:6. 4:7. Is 11:2, 3. Da 1:17. Ho 14:9. Mt 7:24. Lk 21:15. 1 Co 2:6, 7. 12:8. 2 Ti 3:15.

New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge Cross References in Resource Guide

That is a great list to get us started when looking at the subject of wisdom.

Here’s a summary of some of what we find in those passages:

  • James 3:15 – the immediate context of our passage, contrasting godly wisdom with worldly wisdom
  • 1 Kings 3:9, 12, 28 – Solomon receives wisdom from God
  • Job 28:23, 28 – wisdom is found in God and fearing/reverencing him
  • Proverbs 2:6; 4:7 – wisdom is supreme and comes from God
  • Isaiah 11:2, 3 – Jesus is ultimately wisdom personified
  • Hosea 14:9 – the wise walk in the ways of the Lord
  • Matthew 7:24 – people who follow Jesus’ teachings are wise
  • 2 Timothy 3:15 – Scripture gives us the wisdom & knowledge we need for salvation
  • James 1:5 – God gives wisdom generously to those who ask
  • James 1:17 – God is the giver of every good & perfect gift (which includes wisdom)

From here we could turn to a commentary, Bible dictionary or the like, but I don’t think we need to. Simply using cross-references has allowed us to have a pretty good understanding of what godly wisdom is and how we get it.

Summarize the Passages

So, if we were to summarize our findings we could say that godly wisdom is found through the study of Scripture and understanding who God is. Godly wisdom allows us to live a godly and righteous life.

Take Your Bible Study to the Next Level

I love studying with cross-reference tools like the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Next to my Bible, it is the first tool I reference when I’m digging into Scripture. It’s only after I’ve examined all the cross-references that I turn to my study Bibles and commentaries.

Expand your ability to dive deep into God’s Word by adding this fantastic resource to your Olive Tree digital library today.

Other Posts on James

James: A Brief Character Study
A Word Study Example in James 2
Writing Your Own Bible Outlines: James 4
Strength to Endure: Journaling on James 5

Write A Comment

Pin It