James 1:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 1:5, NIV: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

James 1:5, ESV: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

James 1:5, KJV: "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."

James 1:5, NASB: "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

James 1:5, NLT: "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking."

James 1:5, CSB: "Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God--who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly--and it will be given to him."

What does James 1:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In verses 2 through 4, James laid the foundation for the rest of his letter. He revealed that the Christian life is about cultivating a deeper trust in God as trials come our way. In fact, those trials are exactly what we need in order to learn to trust God more. Here, James begins to describe what it looks like to trust God in a wide variety of circumstances.

In this context, James is speaking of wisdom for a particular moment. This is a reference to those times when we just don't know what to do. What's the best choice? Which way should we go? How do we decide between two different paths? Those who truly trust God will ask Him for wisdom. Asking God for wisdom is evidence that we trust Him.

James states that God gives wisdom generously. He's not stingy in providing insight to those who ask how to make the best choices. In fact, God gives wisdom away without "reproach" or finding fault. In other words, He doesn't look at all of our previous foolish choices and decide we are not worthy of receiving wisdom from Him. What an amazing promise! The God of the universe stands by ready and willing to give abundant wisdom to those who ask based only on their trust and confidence in Him, not on their track record.

One way God reveals His wisdom to us is in His Word, the Bible. But the written Word is not the only way God supplies us with wisdom. Other Scripture encourages us to seek God's wisdom in wise and godly counselors (Proverbs 11:14) and through observing His creation (Psalm 19:1), for example. But the ultimate source of all wisdom is God Himself.

Of course, this is not a simplistic promise, as the next two verses will show. Whether or not we get the wisdom we are seeking hinges on whether or not we truly trust God as the best source of wisdom.