What does the Bible say about temptations, testings and trials?
“Peirazō” – is the Greek word meaning to try or test intentionally, and with the purpose of discovering what good or evil, what power or weakness, was in a person or thing. In relation to Satan, it’s used constantly of the solicitations and suggestions of the devil in putting to the proof with the intention and the hope that the one put to the test may break down under the test. It is used of God at times, but only in the sense of testing in order to discover what evil or good may be in a person.
“Peirazō” may be sub-divided into the following four connotative headings:
- a testing with a beneficial purpose and effect.
- a testing to find out what good or evil a person might commit or is in a person.
- a test definitely designed to lead to wrong doing.
- a testing or challenging God, in order to either discover fault in Him or to find out His reality through defying or disobeying or challenging His Word.
* a testing with a beneficial purpose and effect*
Jas. 1:2-4 What should we as Christians consider all joy, and why?
How do you generally respond, when you encounter various trials (difficult situations or hard times)?
What will it take to cause you to respond the way God intended you to?
1 Pet. 1:6-7 About what were these Christians distressed?
For what were these trials purposed?
Do you ever get distressed by various trials that you face?
How will knowing what these trials are designed to do (for you) change your attitude toward future trials?
Are the trials in your life bearing out the proof of your faith?
How can you tell?
Just how precious do you consider the proving of your faith by various trials?
1 Pet. 4:12-14 At what shouldn’t these Christians be surprised?
For what purpose has this fiery ordeal/persecution come upon them?
To what degree should they keep on rejoicing?
Why should they do so?
Are you ever surprised at the testings that come into your life?
Do you rejoice in direct proportion to your suffering for Christ?
Lk. 8:11-13 (Matt. 13:20-21; Mk. 4:16-17) Who is the rocky soil?
For what doesn’t rocky soil allow?
When do these who hear and receive the word of God and believe it (intellectually) for a while fall away (stumble, get trapped, or ensnared)?
What should these times of temptation/trials/tribulation have produced (Rom. 5:3-5) if responded to properly (Rom. 8:28), and if the belief in the gospel was volitional and genuine?
In times of temptation/persecution/affliction (Matt. 13:20-21), how do you respond?
* a testing to find out what good or evil a person might commit or is in a person*
Matt. 26:41 What did Jesus tell His disciples to do?
For what purpose?
Why might they do so otherwise?
[“flesh” – the human body with its functions and sin nature; strength of will; “spirit” – that invisible entity of our being that is God-conscious and the vehicle of communication with God].
The temptation for the disciples was to become untrue to Jesus (which happened soon thereafter, temporarily).
Have you ever been guilty of this in any way too?
When, and how?
How could it have been prevented?
Lk. 22:28 What had the disciples done prior to Jesus’ arrest by the soldiers in the garden?
When people make fun of or criticize Christ, what do you do, and why?
Do you ever stand by other fellow Christians in their times of trial?
When was the last time you did so, and why?
Jn. 6:5-6 Why did Jesus ask Philip the question, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?”, when He Himself knew what He was intending to do?
[Jesus, in testing Philip to discover what faith or lack of faith, what clear insight or lack of it, what natural or supernatural view he might have, brought out the naturalistic plane of reasoning in Philip’s thinking.].
Has God ever tested you, through some similar situation, in order to see how you’d think and respond?
What was it, and when?
How did you respond, and why?
Acts 20:17-21 How did Paul serve the Lord in Ephesus – Acts 20:19?
How did these trials come upon him?
Have you ever tried to serve the Lord and actually have trials because people were plotting against you to both destroy you and your ministry?
What’s the worst opposition/trial you have ever had while attempting to do the will of God?
What was Paul’s response to these trials – Acts 20:20?
Do you give up or continue on in serving God when trials come your way, and why?
2 Cor. 13:5 What were these Christians to test?
Have you ever tested (attempted to find out whether you had true faith or mere mental assent in yourself) or examined yourself to see whether or not you are a true believer?
If so, when and how did you do so?
And why did you do so?
Gal. 4:14 What had been a trial to (a temptation to treat with contemptuous scorn or to despise or loathe) these Galatian Christians?
How did they receive Paul?
Is it ever a trial for you to associate with, work next to, or be identified in any way with a person who looks ugly, is deformed, handicapped, or is in any way unpleasant to look at?
If so, how can you overcome your feelings of not wanting to be associated with such a person (also see 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Phil. 2:5-8; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:18; 1 Jn. 5:14-15)?
Can you think of someone whom you could apply this new attitude toward this week?
Will you, and why?
Heb. 11:17 When Abraham was tested (put to the test by God to see whether his faith would surmount the obstacle of the loss of his son), what did he do?
If you were in Abraham’s place, what do you think you would have done, and why?
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt/thought that God was asking you to give up something or someone dear to you in order to follow Him completely?
How did you respond, and why?
Rev. 2:2 Who did the Christians at the church in Ephesus test (examine to see whether genuine or fake/false, intending to accept them if genuine, but to reject them if fake)?
Do you ever examine (against the Word of God, the Bible) those who claim to be spiritual leaders, but whom you know nothing about or whom you have some reason to doubt?
How do you test them, and in what areas?
Rev. 3:10 What did God say to those at the church in Philadelphia?
Why was God going to do this?
If you were at the church in Philadelphia, would you have qualified to be spared of this period of testing during the Tribulation?
*a test definitely designed to lead to wrong doing*
Matt. 4:1 (Mk. 1:13; Lk. 4:1-2) For what purpose was Jesus led up by the Spirit into the wilderness?
Have you ever felt that God led you into a situation to be tempted by the devil?
When, and what was it?
How did you make out?
What did Jesus do to resist the devil – Matt. 4:4, 7, 10?
Do you know the Bible well enough to be able to quote God’s Word for any temptation you will encounter to resist Satan with?
If not, what do you need to do?
Lk. 4:13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed until when from Jesus?
Have you ever had recurring temptations to commit the same sin from demonic powers, even though you resisted them initially?
When do they seem to reoccur?
Do you think that Satan has a plan as to why he brings them before you, when they do come?
What do you do each time the temptations come, and why that?
Matt. 6:13 In teaching His disciples how to pray, what did Jesus tell them to request of the Father?
How often do you request of God to not permit you to enter into situations which would expose you to temptation by the evil one?
[God, here, is not the one tempting the person, but is merely allowing or leading the person to be placed in a situation via the Holy Spirit (as in Matt. 4:1) where the devil/demon can tempt the person.].
Why should we ask God not to lead us into tempting situations/places, but deliver us from the evil one?
Gal. 6:1 Why should the spiritual Christian restore a sinning Christian (to fellowship with God) in a spirit of gentleness?
Do you restore sinning Christians in a spirit of gentleness because you realize that you are liable to succumb to the same temptation (enticements to sin) or similar ones?
In what areas are you most easily tempted to sin (think them to yourself)?
How can other Christians be of help to you?
Why should we want the help of other Christians?
Do you ask for the help of other spiritual Christians, so that you don’t easily cave in to temptation, and why?
1 Tim. 6:9 Who falls into temptation (craving to gratify themselves) and a snare?
What are some of the other by-products of wanting to get rich?
Have you ever had a desire to get rich?
When, and why?
Has it ever led you into other kinds of temptations and snares (e.g., stealing, lying, gambling, embezzlement, compromising morals, involvement in get-rich-quick investment scams, materialism, bad business partnerships, wrong priorities, long work hours, selling drugs, etc.)?
What can you do to prevent this from happening in the future?
Jas. 1:13-14 What shouldn’t any person say when he is tempted (solicited to do evil)?
Have you ever blamed God for any of the times that you’ve been tempted to do evil?
How does knowing that God can neither be tempted by evil (enticed to do evil from within His own nature) nor personally tempt (to evil) anyone else, affect your attitude toward God, and why?
When is each one tempted – Jas. 1:14?
Is this when or how you’re tempted to do evil?
How do you deal with it, and why that way?
What does 2 Tim. 2:22 tell us to do?
Specifically, how would you go about doing this?
Are you doing this? Or, will you start doing this?
[James 1:13-15 seems to contradict other statements of Scripture in two respects, saying: (a) that God cannot be tempted with evil, and (b) that He Himself tempts no man. But God tempted (or tried) Abraham, Heb. 11:17, and the Israelites tempted (or tried) God, 1 Cor. 10:9. Num. 14:22, however, makes it plain that whereas in these cases the temptations or trials came from without, James refers to temptations or trials as arising from within, from uncontrolled appetites and from evil passions (Mk. 7:20-23). But though such temptations do not proceed from God, yet God does regard His people while they endure it, and by it tests and approves them (e.g., Job) – Vine’s, An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 1128.].
1 Cor. 10:13
What temptations (tests which Satan may put before us, for the purpose of bringing out evil in our lives if he can, and which God allows, as in the case of Job) were these Christians encountering?
What won’t God in His faithfulness allow?
And what will God provide?
What is God’s way of escape (Phil. 4:13)?
When you are tempted, do you take God’s way of escape by submitting to God and requesting His strength to persevere?
Do you ever think that a temptation/test you are facing is unique to you, or that you must be the only one with such a weakness in a certain area of your life?
As a result of learning what this verse says, how do you now feel, and why?
1 Thes. 3:5 What was Paul’s fear regarding these Christians at Thessalonica?
Have you ever worked with a Christian (maybe led a person to Christ, or spiritually followed up a person who was already a Christian, or began training a person) only to find that the person/Christian fell away because of being tempted by the devil to sin or quit?
Have you ever been tempted to commit a sin and then felt like quitting the Christian faith/life?
What happened and/or what did you finally do in the situation, and why?
What should you have done, Jas. 4:7?
[The way you resist the devil is by audibly commanding the demon in the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to be gone and then quoting a Bible verse that states why you shouldn’t do what the demon is suggesting for you to do.].
Why is Jesus able to come to the aid of those who are tempted (tested as to whether they would choose some less costly way of fulfilling what they knew to be right or God’s will, than the way of suffering)?
When you are tempted to choose a path that’s less costly to fulfill or doesn’t involve suffering than the one you know to be God’s will for you, what do you do, and why?
Do you ever ask for Christ’s aid to see you through a path that includes suffering or is more costly, personally, why?
Heb. 4:15 Why is Christ, our high priest, able to sympathize with our weaknesses?
Though Christ was tempted (externally) in all things as we are, what was not true of Him?
If Christ was in control as Lord of your life when you were being tempted, and you chose to have Him remain as Lord/Controller, then what would be true of you too?
How do you generally respond to temptation, and why?
What could you specifically do in order to have victory over temptation?
Heb. 11:37 Besides being stoned and sawn in two for their faith, what else happened to these Christians?
Have people ever tempted you to quit living for or serving Christ because of your commitment to the Lord?
If so, when, and how?
How did you respond, and why?
Rev. 2:10 What does Christ (“the first and the last” – vs. 8) tell the church at Smyrna that the devil will do?
For what purpose?
Have you ever been faced with rough or bad circumstances for which you didn’t bring upon yourself, or were not deserving of?
If so, what was it?
Do you think that the devil was involved in it, and why?
How did you respond to the test?
* a testing or challenging God, in order to either discover fault in Him or to find out His reality through defying or disobeying or challenging His Word*
Matt. 16:1-4; 19:3-6 What did the Pharisees and Sadducees come and do to Jesus?
How did Jesus respond to this?
How would you have responded to them, and why?
Matt. 22:15-21 What was Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ disciples and the Herodians when they asked Him about the poll-tax?
How would you have responded, and why?
Matt. 22:34-40 What did a lawyer do with Jesus?
How did Jesus handle the situation?
What would you have done, and why?
Acts 5:1-9 What question did Peter ask Sapphira – Acts 5:9?
What had both she and her husband done to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test?
Have you ever put the Spirit of the Lord to the test (challenged Him to see if He would do anything when you sinned)?
If so, what did you find out?
Acts 15:1-11 What were some pseudo-Christian Pharisees doing to God by saying that Gentiles needed to be circumcised in order to be saved – Acts 15:10?
How were they testing God, Acts 15:10?
Do you ever put God to the test (challenge Him as to what He says) by imposing certain requirements on people, saying that in order for them to be saved, they have to do something besides put their faith/trust in Christ’s death for their sins?
Do you ever put God to the test by teaching anything that is contrary to the revealed Word of God and saying that people have to do or believe it?
1 Cor. 10:6-9 What warning is given here for us?
How did the Israelites try the Lord – Num. 21:4-5?
Do you ever get impatient with God and therefore speak against either God Himself or people that He appoints as your spiritual leaders, because they are not producing in the way you’d like them to (though God has already said that He would fulfill His promises)?
Do you believe and, therefore, act upon God’s promises such as the one found in Rom. 8:28?
Heb. 3:8-9 What did the Holy Spirit say here, as quoted from Psa. 95:8-10?
How many times, and how did these Israelites test God – Num. 14:2, 9-10, 22?
What were to be the consequences of their testing God – Num. 14:22-23?
Have you ever responded to God in the way that these people did in Num. 14 (disobeying and rebelling against Him), regarding an area of God’s will for you, and why?
How can you develop a right response to God’s will, especially when it goes against what you think it should be?
“Dokimazō” – is the Greek word that refers to the act of testing someone or something for the purpose of approving. It has in it the idea of proving a thing as to whether it is worthy to be received or not. To sanction. In the New Testament, it almost always implies that the trial itself was made in the expectation and hope that the issue would be such. The word further implies that the proof is victoriously achieved. “Dokimazō” is used generally of God, but never of Satan, for Satan never puts to the test in order that he may approve.
Rom. 12:2 Why should Christians not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of their mind?
Are you proving (showing) that God’s will is good, acceptable, in fact, perfect?
If so, how?
1 Cor. 3:10-15 Why will each Christians’ work become evident on the day of judgment – 1 Cor. 3:13?
[God expects to find in the service of the Christian that which He can put His approval upon, for the Holy Spirit produces good works in all Christians (Eph. 2:10).].
Have you thought very much about the fact that, as a Christian your works are going to be tested by fire?
When they are tested, what do you think their quality will be like, and why?
1 Cor. 11:23-32 What should a Christian do before he/she participates in the Lord’s supper (communion) – 1 Cor. 11:28?
[Only when a Christian can approve his/her life after having examined himself/herself and finding nothing between himself/herself and the Savior can he/she then observe the Lord’s Supper.].
Do you make sure that you are in an approved state (no unconfessed sin; not living in sin) before you observe communion?
If so, why, and how?
2 Cor. 8:22 What did Paul have to say about another Christian brother who was traveling with Titus on a mission for the church?
Have you ever been tested by spiritual leaders for the purpose of seeing whether you’d be worthy of being received or not for a certain position or responsibility?
What was it for?
How did they/he test you?
2 Cor. 13:5 What are they to do, and why?
What would be true if they passed the test?
When was the last time you tested yourself?
Did you pass?
How do you know?
Gal. 6:3-4 What should each of us Christians do, and why?
Do you compare yourself to others (who are less mature, younger, or inferior to you) in order to build yourself up, or do you examine yourself and see what progress you’ve made over the last month, year, etc., and why?
Phil. 1:9-10 Why does Paul pray that these Christians’ love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment/depth of insight?
And for what purpose?
Is your love emotional or knowledgeable?
And does it lead you into just anything that feels right, or does it test things first in order to approve them before getting involved in them?
1 Thes. 5:19-22 How and what are we to examine?
Why would this prerequisite be important?
Do you examine every teaching carefully before you believe it or commit yourself to it?
How do you go about doing this?
1 Tim. 3:8-10 Who should be tested before letting them into office?
And when should they then serve in this capacity?
Does your church do this before letting them into office?
Have you ever bothered to find out?
Why is this important?
1 Jn. 4:1-2, 15 What are we not to believe?
[“spirit” – a metonymy for “teaching”].
What are we to test (to see whether it’s worthy to be received or not)?
[“spirits” – teachings].
Why should we do this?
How can we test the spirits?
Have you ever tested someone’s spirit (teachings)?
When, why, and how?