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“Temptation Or Testing?”

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Many times the Hebrew and Greek words translated “temptation” are also translated “test” or “trial”.

In the KJV the two Hebrew words which are most often translated temptation or test are ‘bahan’ and ‘nasa’.  The two Greek words translated similarly are the words ‘dokimazo’ and ‘peirazo’.  The folllowing table better explains the relationship of these words to one another…


Hebrew Greek Hebrew and Greek Translation in KJV:
bahan dokimazo examine, prove, assay, try, allow, discern, like
nasa peirazo tempt, try, prove, examine, assay, adventure, go about


As you can see from the above table, all 4 words carry with them the ideas of attempting (Deut 4:34, Acts 9:26), testing (Job 23:10, 1 John 4:1), discerning (Gen 38:25, Luke 12:56), and/or tempting (Isa 7:12, Matt 4:1).

In all of the above usages the principle of “testing or attempting something resulting in a conclusion being drawn” is present.  So why would this term be used to describe a temptation taking place?  In this study we will being seeing that the temptations we face are all trials that reveal truths about us.



Jas 1:12 – 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.

Rev 3:10 – Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.




Just as King Nebuchadnezzar came to understand, we all understand that the Lord is truly in control of   every event that takes place in our lives…

Dan 4:34-36 – “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:  And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?  At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.”



This principle not only applies to the blessed times of our lives, but even the more difficult, trying times  are under God’s control and allowed into our lives for a purpose. Remember, the Lord never brings temptation upon us ….

Jas 1:13 – “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 He allows the powers of darkness, the fallen world, and our flesh to tempt us.  The story of Job clearly presents this truth to us…

Job 1:6-12 – “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.   And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?  Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?  Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.”



Also as Christians, we are also familiar with God’s promise that He never allows anything in our lives that does not eventually work for our good and His glory…

Rom 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”



When we put all of these Biblical principles together, we can see that the Lord controls our temptations and allows temptations to come upon us for our good and His glory.  But how does this all work?  How does the Lord allow temptations to enter our life and how do we benefit from them?

This is where our word study comes into play.  Our word study gives us one of the great reasons why God allows temptations to come upon us…   Every temptation is used by the Lord as a time of testing that teaches us something about ourselves.


This principle is repeatedly brought out in Scripture.  Two such texts are:

Jas 1:12 – 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.

Rev 3:10 – Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

(Please note in both James 1:12 and Revelation 3:10, temptations are described as trials (testings) that are faced by man.)

That is why the words translated “tempt” or “temptation” carry with them the idea of “testing or attempting something resulting in a conclusion being drawn”.  In other words when we are tempted, we are being tested.  This test, and how we respond to it, can teach us much about our Lord, Satan and, especially, ourselves.

When we are tempted, we can learn about the Lord’s enabling grace, His patience and His forgiveness; we can learn about Satan’s methodology, his strength and his limitations as he attempts to bring the Christian to failure; and we can learn about ourselves, our strengths, our weaknesses, and our need of Christ enabling for our day to day walk.



Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, gives us one practical application for our lesson this morning.

2Co 12:7-10 – “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”


In this text, Paul lists many testings he faced in life (his “thorn in the flesh”, other “infirmities”, “reproaches”, “necessities”, “persecutions”, “distresses”)…  Please note all these testings were actually temptations that sought to hinder Paul and his ministry for Christ.

Paul came to recognize that even these testings (or temptations) were something that brought him pleasure because they taught him about Christ’s enabling grace and his great need of Christ on a daily basis which kept him close to Christ.


Folks, we should never underestimate the importance of using times of temptation for our benefit and the Lord’s glory…

May we learn of Christ’s great enabling grace that allows us to remain faithful to Him even during the heaviest times of temptation in our lives.

Through this may we also learn of our daily need of Christ’s grace in our lives.

And finally, when we fail him during times of temptation, may we immediately seek His forgiveness, allow this to reveal our weak areas, our need to avoid these areas of temptation whenever possible, and finally, may we work to strengthen ourselves in these areas through Bible study, prayer and seeking a close walk with Christ.



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