whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises


James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

If any of you lack wisdom

It is likely that everyone falls into this category, that is, the category of one who lacks wisdom. The Greek word translated here as “wisdom” is sophia, which has a very broad definition, part of which is, according to Strong’s Concordance, “the varied knowledge of things human and divine.” That covers a lot of territory, the knowledge of things human and divine.

As followers of the Lord, believers should be pursuers of divine wisdom, always searching for more knowledge of the kingdom of God and the things of the Spirit, such as greater wisdom and understanding of God’s word. We should always be aware that there is more of that wisdom to gain, and that we are always lacking in that kind of wisdom.

Wisdom for living

But often there is a need for wisdom of earthly things, for things that have to do with simply living life in this world. What should I do about this situation? What about that problem? Should I take this job offer? What is causing this issue I am having? This type of wisdom is also included in this great promise of God.

Do you suppose that God knows how a computer works, or how to do computer programming, or how to fix a problem with a car or a tractor? Of course, He does. But there are many in this world who think those things are above His understanding. But not so. There is nothing that man can know anything about that God is not totally familiar with.

Let him ask of God

What is the solution for a lack of wisdom? The solution is “let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally.” Here is a promise that God will give wisdom of any kind to anyone who will ask Him for it, which means simply humbling ourselves, coming down off of our high horse, and going to Him in prayer and asking. It says that He gives generously (liberally) to all. He is no respecter of persons. All who ask Him for wisdom shall receive it.

And upbraideth not

To upbraid, the Greek word oneidizo (on-i-did'-zo) means to reproach, to upbraid, to revile. Most modern dictionaries define it as to scold or to find fault with. This verse tells us that the Lord will not scold us or find fault with us for lacking wisdom and asking for His help. He does not look down on us for being in need of wisdom. In fact, it is His desire to help.

Some folks do not want to bother the Lord with this little problem or that little issue. After all, they say, I should know this. I should not need to bring this to His attention. I should be smarter than that. But when we do that, we keep the problem under our own control, in our own hands, so to speak, instead of putting it in His hands, where He can do something about it.

And it shall be given him

It does not say that it might be given, but that it shall be given. A promise is a promise. If we ask the Lord for wisdom, He SHALL give it to us. It is not an if, and, but, or maybe proposition.

James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.

Why must we ask in faith? What does this mean? It simply means we must take a stand that once we have asked Him for wisdom that the wisdom we need is going to come at some point. It may not come immediately. It may take a little longer than that. But we maintain our position that it is coming.

Very often what we need to know will come up in our thinking when we first wake up in the morning, or at a time when we are not thinking about the issue that we need wisdom for. But it always comes if we keep our heart in a condition of expecting it to come.


Here is a sample prayer for wisdom. Use this as an outline to pray your own prayer to God. Let it be between you and Him.

Father, I thank You . . . that Your word promises . . . that if I lack wisdom . . . that I can ask of You . . . and You will give me . . . the wisdom I need.

So, Father . . . according to Your word . . . I ask You for wisdom . . . concerning this matter . . . concerning this thing.

(Ask Him for the particular wisdom you need.)

Your word says . . . that You will give generously . . . when I ask.

So, I believe I receive . . . generously . . . the wisdom I need . . . in this situation.

And I thank You for it . . . In Jesus’ name . . . Amen.