What Does The Bible Say About Temptations?

Temptations are bound to come whether you want them or not, and whether you prepare or not. However, learning what the Bible has said about temptations will help you overcome them better.

What Does The Bible Say About Temptations

What is temptation?

It is the urge or the desire to do something, especially something that is wrong or sinful in nature.

If we are being completely honest, there is no one of us who is above temptation, no matter who you are. This means that temptations come to each person regardless of status, race, language, or location as long as we live.

As children of God, however, God has promised us from his word that we can live above temptations through His help, and bring pleasure to Him instead of our sinful cravings.

What Does The Bible Say About Temptation?

The Bible does not hide the subject from us and is accurate in its description of temptation. From Genesis, for instance, we see the first humans, Adam and Eve, as they are exposed to their first temptation and fail, plunging the human race into a failed state under satan’s dominion.

Jesus, the God-man, while on earth, was tempted by the devil three times while he fasted forty days and forty nights in the wilderness. Although, unlike Adam and Eve, Jesus did not fail, yet we are given the idea that if Jesus was tempted, then no one is above being tempted.

James, the Apostle, also pointed out from his letter to the Church, that God does not tempt His children, but that we are tempted by our own lusts and untamed desires.

Throughout the Bible, we will see different references to temptations directly or indirectly, and we can learn a thing or two as you go through them so that we can stay above them when they surface in our lives.

What Does The Bible Say About Temptation KJV?

Here a few citations of temptation from the KJV Bible.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (KJV)” 1Corinthians 10:13
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (KJV)” James 1:12-14
“For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (KJV)” Hebrews 2:18

What Is A Temptation According To The Bible?

The best definition of temptation in the Bible is found in the book of James. The Apostle lays it all bare before us to not only know what it is, but also where it came from, and where it ends.

“but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15

Here, temptation is anything that stirs up ungodly desire that leads us to sin. Temptation preys on desires, especially desires that aren’t pure or according to God’s will for us.

Types Of Temptations In The Bible

According to the encounter that Jesus had with the devil in the wilderness, we can categorize temptations into three types, as we will see below:

  • Situational or circumstantial temptations
“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”” Matthew 4:2-3

These are temptations that come based on situations and circumstances we find ourselves. They are situation-dependent. This type of temptation appeals to your present state of being, your emotional, geographical, or financial positioning.

For instance, a wasteful spender is more likely to be tempted when more money is available to him than when there is none. A person in lack is more likely to be tempted to steal than one who has everything he needs.

Hence, satan used the fact that Jesus was hungry to try to tempt Him into doing something that was not going to glorify God – prove He was God’s Son.

  • Pride temptations
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Matthew 4:5-6

This type of temptation is dependent on what the individual thinks they know, or can do based on what they know or have. It preys on self-confidence and self-aggrandizement. It is a subtle call to glorify self above God.

Satan was calling Jesus to take a leap based on what He knows from the Bible, something, that though is true, in no way glorifies God, but instead magnifies confidence in self.

God wants us to trust Him with our needs, and not because we think we know something and want to prove that we know it, or have unlimited access to it.

  • Ambitious temptations
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”” Matt. 4:8-9:

This type of temptation preys on the desire to achieve or gain things or positions. It is the kind that makes people cut corners for promotion instead of working hard and diligently. The kind that makes people cheat in an exam instead of studying well for it.

It is the mother of compromise. Satan was simply indirectly asking Jesus to forsake the mission to Calvary by accepting his offer of world domination, which He would get but in exchange for His loyalty.

What Does The Bible Say About Temptations

Is Temptation A Sin In The Bible?

Temptation, according to the Bible is not a sin itself. To be tempted is not a sin. Temptation leads us into temptation. It is a desire, which we have a choice to act on or refuse.

“but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15

The desire itself is not the sin but what, if acted on, comes out of it.

What Does The Bible Say About Avoiding Temptation?

Among many things the Bible says about temptation, avoiding it is one of the greatest way to escape the sin it produces.

It is one thing to be delivered from a temptation, and it is another thing to escape it by avoiding it completely.

Here are some things the Bible says on the subject:

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
“Stay away from every kind of evil. ” 1Thessalonians 5:22

What Does The Bible Say About Giving Into Temptation?

The Bible strongly warns the believer not to give in to temptations as they will lead the believer to sin. Christ Jesus has delivered and washed the believer from their sins.

However, each time the believer gives in to their temptation, they open themselves up to the corruption of those sins again.

“but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15

Let us not forget that,

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

What Does The Bible Say About Resisting Temptation?

In Matthew 6:13, Jesus teaching His disciples to pray said, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

And Paul writing in Romans 13:14 says, Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh

This means that through prayer, we can receive strength to resist the temptation to sin through the power of Christ available to us. And through submission to God, we take a position to have the boldness to resist the devil in our lives.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” James 4:7

What Does The Bible Say About Temptation In Marriage?

Does temptation occur in marriage? Yes. Anywhere a human being is involved, there will be a temptation to deal with. Marriage is a union that involves two different people, and the tendency can arise for one partner to tempt the other or for one partner to be tempted by someone outside the marriage.

Here are a few verses about temptation in marriage:

“and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:27
“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1Corinthians 7:3-5
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1Peter 3:7

Examples Of Temptations In The Bible

  • Adam and Eve
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (KJV)” Genesis 3:3-6
  • Achan and the treasures of Jericho
“And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. (KJV).” Joshua 7:20-21
  • Joseph and Potiphar’s wife
“and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.” Genesis 39:7-10

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