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The definition of the word “temptation” from Harper Bible Dictionary:    (Quote from:  Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed., pp. 1032–1033). San Francisco: Harper & Row.)



temptation,generally an enticement to do evil, the term is used in the Bible to convey two somewhat different ideas.

“The firstis that of ‘testing’ or ‘proving by testing,’ to determine the depth and integrity of one’s commitment to God (see, e.g., God’s command to Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice in Gen. 22:1-19; also the testing of Job in Job 1-2). In the nt, some of the writers thought of persecution as a ‘testing’ in this manner (e.g., 1 Pet. 1:3-9). The intent of this testing is ultimately to strengthen the person’s faith and devotion to God.”

“The secondnuance of temptation is more in line with modern popular understandings of the term, namely, an enticement toward sin leading to a deliberate act of evil against God or one’s neighbor. The biblical writers are careful, however, to make it clear that God does not ‘tempt’ humans to do evil (e.g., James 1:12-15) and in fact makes available the resources necessary to resist temptation (e.g., 1 Cor. 10:13). The familiar petition in the Lord’s Prayer dealing with temptation probably should be understood as ‘Do not allow us to go into temptation’ (Matt. 6:13a), as the original Aramaic likely would have read. It is quite possible, moreover, that the reference is to ‘testing’ rather than to ‘temptation’ as this is popularly understood.”

The Scriptures from above paragraph:

James 1:12–15 (NASB95)

          12      Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

          13      Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

          14      But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

          15      Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.


1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB95)

          13      No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.


Matthew 6:13 (NASB95)

               13      ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’



“A quite different aspect of ‘temptation’ or ‘testing’ in the biblical writings is that of human beings attempting to put God to a test, usually for the purpose of testing God’s plans or purposes (e.g., Judg. 6; cf. Matt. 12:39) or, even more, to determine whether they can manipulate God (e.g., Ps. 95:8-11; cf. Matt. 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-12). Such activities stem from a lack of trust in God and his promises. This understanding seems to be involved in the most famous of all temptation accounts, the temptation of Jesus by Satan (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).”

Matthew 12:39 (NASB95)

          39      But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;


Psalm 95:8–11 (NASB95)

               8      Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,

         As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,

               9      “When your fathers tested Me,

         They tried Me, though they had seen My work.

               10      “For forty years I loathed that generation,

         And said they are a people who err in their heart,

         And they do not know My ways.

               11      “Therefore I swore in My anger,

         Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”


The fulfilment of the text from Psalm 95 is recorded:


Matthew 4:5–7 (NASB95)

          5      Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,

          6      and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,





          7      Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’ ”


Mark 1:12–13 (NASB95)

          12      Immediately the Spirit *impelled Him to go out into the wilderness.

          13      And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.


Luke 4:1-13 – Luke writing on the temptation of Jesus.


Mark 4:1–11– The Parable of the Sower and Soils – On site information, click here: http://fbmen.info/bible-topics/christ-day-and-time/352-4soils


“All of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) have accounts of Jesus’ temptation, although only Matthew and Luke give any details (John’s Gospel has no such account). In each Gospel, the temptation takes place immediately after Jesus’ baptism, which is interpreted as his commissioning for the messianic ministry, a ministry to be characterized by servanthood (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; cf., e.g., Mark 10:45). The temptation is not for Jesus to prove his divine Sonship to himself. Such Sonship is never questioned in the nt. Rather, the temptation or ‘testing’ is implicitly presented as Jesus’ struggle over whether to obey God’s call to be a servant-messiah or to interpret messiahship in the traditional terms of power, strength, and conquest. Such a struggle can be detected throughout the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry, where it is made clear that the disciples never really understood Jesus’ commitment to a servant ministry.”


Matthew 3:13–17 (NASB95)


          13      Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him.

          14      But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”

          15      But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he *permitted Him.

          16      After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,

          17      and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”


In the biblical writings, therefore, temptation or testing has these two nuances: the strong inclination of humankind toward evil when it is known that God wills good and testing situations that may demonstrate one’s commitment to God and God’s ways and even strengthen one’s faith. In each, if people overcome temptation, i.e., pass the test, their faith has been enhanced and their character strengthened (e.g., Rom. 5:3-5). See also  Persecution; Sin; Suffering”  (FYI – Excerpts of these are included below:)


Romans 5:3–5 (NASB95)

          3      And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;          4      and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;           5      and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.



persecution,a term restricted to describing formal hostile activity against a specific group. Mob action against an individual (Acts 7:57-58) or clandestine plots (Acts 23:12-15) are not persecution. While Stephen’s claim that all of God’s prophets were persecuted (Acts 7:52) may be an exaggeration, there is evidence of severe harassment against them in pre-exilic Israel (Isa. 28:9-10; 50:5-6; Ezek. 33:32-33; Jer. 26:20-23; cf. 11:8-23; 1 Kings 19:10; 22:26-27). Yet the fact that a prophet like Nathan, despite his unpopular message, was respected (2 Sam. 12:1-15) shows that such harassment was sporadic and not part of official policy. Only when Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 b.c.) tried to suppress customs necessary for Jewish religious identity can we speak of formal hostile activity against a specific group. Both Daniel and 1 Maccabees record his policy directed against Jewish dietary rules, circumcision, and other central practices. Those who refused to give them up were ‘condemned to death,’ i.e., persecuted (1 Macc. 1:41-61).

Jesus spoke of ‘persecutions’ coming upon his followers(Matt. 5:10-12; 10:23). This is best understood as the domestic hostility in family and synagogue caused by conversion to a new faith. Jesus did ‘not come to bring peace, but a sword’ (Matt. 10:34), dividing households and causing financial and social loss to his followers. Because of their distinctive faith, Jesus’ followers might lose ‘house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, and lands’ (Mark 10:29). The problem is domestic: ‘a man’s foes will be those of his household’ (Matt. 10:36).

Paul claims that he ‘persecuted’ the church (1 Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13; Phil. 3:6). Acts 8 may be an exaggerated interpretation of this, for it is doubtful if Jerusalem Jews could force the imprisonment of unorthodox Jews in Galilee, much less in Damascus. Paul’s harassment was probably on the order of a Pharisaic purist stirring up local synagogues to expel deviants or to report them to local magistrates as troublemakers (as was done against Paul the Christian; cf. Acts 14:19; 17:5-7; 2 Cor. 11:23-24). Jewish hostility to Christians became formal policy after the Roman-Jewish war (66-70). Johannine Christians tell of a formal synagogue policy to expel those who confessed Jesus as the Christ (John 9:22; 12:42-43; 16:1-2). Some scholars identify this with the Birkath ha-minim, the ban of excommunication on heretics whose imposition is associated with the Jamnia academy.

Little is known of Nero’s alleged persecution of Christians after the fire in Rome in a.d. 64. Tacitus’ account (Annales 15.44) is heavily biased against Nero and hence unreliable. 1 Peter does not speak of a formal Roman persecution of Christians. It is only in the second century (ca. 110), at the time of Pliny the Younger (Letters 10.96-97), that we learn of a formal Roman policy to root out Christian beliefs. Pliny’s letters to Trajan discuss imperial policy toward those who refuse to worship the emperor, less a religious than a political issue. This may be the background for the view of Roman hostility to Christians in Rev. 13-14, 17-18.            J.H.N.



sin,that which is in opposition to God’s benevolent purposes for his creation. According to the biblical writers, sin is an ever-present reality that enslaves the human race and has corrupted God’s created order. The concept of sin is first and foremost a religious concept, because all sin is ultimately against God, God’s laws, God’s creation, God’s covenant, and God’s purposes. It is the basic corrupting agent in the entire universe.

There are numerous Hebrew and Greek words used to designate sin in the biblical writings. Perhaps the most basic is a Hebrew word meaning ‘revolt’ or ‘transgression’ and indicating a deliberate act of defiance against God.This idea lies at the heart of the Genesis account of the beginning of sin (Gen. 3:1-7), where the essential problem lies in the desire of the humans to ‘be like God.’ All sin is an act of idolatry, the attempt to replace the Creator with someone or something else, usually one’s own self or one’s own creation. Paul understood this very well, as he indicates in Rom. 1:18-3:20: all humankind lies under condemnation because all are idolators of one type or another.

Manifestations:From this basic idea derive most of the other ideas connected with the attempt to describe the many different manifestations of sin. There is sin that is characterized by falling short of God’s requirements or ‘missing the mark’; there are cultic sins (failure to observe the ritual requirements), political and social sins, and ‘spiritual’ sins (e.g., envy, hate, etc.). In the nt, there is the ‘unforgiveable’ sin (against the Holy Spirit), which, in modern terms, might be paraphrased as an attitude or mind-set wherein a person willfully refuses to accept the forgiveness of sin offered by God through his Son (Matt. 12:22-32; Mark 3:19b-30; Luke 12:8-10; cf. also 1 John 5:16-17). There is sin implicit in the failure of a person to do right, especially toward one’s fellow human beings (e.g., Matt. 25:31-46; Luke 16:19-31), the failure of a person to use God-given ability (e.g., Matt. 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-26), and there is sin even in ignorance, where one commits unconscious or inadvertent sin (e.g., Lev. 5). Perhaps the most heinous sins are those done ‘with a high hand’ (i.e., deliberately and arrogantly; e.g., Num. 15:30-31) and the sin of hypocrisy, especially among ‘religious’ persons (e.g., Matt. 23; Acts 5:1-11).



suffering,pain or distress, one of the most persistent of all human problems. Even those who experience relatively minor suffering in their own lives are constantly confronted with the suffering of others—within their own families, among their acquaintances, or even in distant lands. Suffering takes many forms: physical pain, frustrated hopes, depression, isolation, loneliness, grief, anxiety, spiritual crisis, and more. Such unpleasantness comes to good religious people, too. Certainly, the in their lives and sought ways to understand it and cope with it that could include their belief in both God’s power and God’s goodness …


Quoted from:  Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed., pp. 1032–1033). San Francisco: Harper & Row.