Temptation: A Biblical Overview



Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters. (James 1:13-16)



Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)


Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God's glory. Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom 5:1-5)


Three areas of temptation: Lust of the eyes, Lust of the flesh and Pride:

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1John 2:16)




Adam giving into temptation and Failing to lead as a man:

When the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, was attractive to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:6)

Christ Tempted:


For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

For since he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)


Luke Chapter 4:1-13:


Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he endured temptations from the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were completed, he was famished. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man does not live by bread alone.' " Then the devil led him up to a high place and showed him in a flash all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, "To you I will grant this whole realm — and the glory that goes along with it, for it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish. So then, if you will worship me, all this will be yours." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him.' " Then the devil brought him to Jerusalem, had him stand on the highest point of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,' and 'with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' " Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.' " So when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until a more opportune time.

(Luke 4:1-13)

Things we can read from Christ temptation:

  1. The Holy Spirit
  2. Obedience to God
  3. God’s word


Things we can infer or guess:


  1. Prayer
  2. Faith
  3. Trust
  4. Hope


Conforming to the image of Christ (OUR GOAL IN LIFE):


And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:28-29)



Commentary Outline


4:1, 2 The order of the temptations differs between Matthew and Luke. Luke has the temptation about Jerusalem last, probably because Jerusalem is the place Jesus is headed for His decisive confrontation with Satan (13:32–35). In His temptation Jesus demonstrated not only His ability to resist the devil, but also His allegiance to God. What Adam could not do, Jesus did. Where Israel had failed in the wilderness, Jesus succeeded.

4:3 If You are the Son of God: This is a conditional statement. In other words, Satan was saying: “Let’s assume for the sake of argument that You are the Son of God.” In fact, Satan was challenging Jesus’ identity and authority.

4:4 It is written: Jesus responded to Satan’s temptation by quoting Deut. 8:3. Jesus refused to operate independently of God. The Spirit had led Him into the wilderness to prepare Him for His ministry, so eating at Satan’s instruction would have shown a lack of dependence on the Father.

4:5 all the kingdoms of the world: This temptation was an attempt to offer Jesus power by the wrong means. Satan’s method involved a detour around the Cross, an inducement to “take the easy way” to power.

4:6, 7 this has been delivered to me: Satan’s claim here is exaggerated. He has great authority over the earth (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2), but not the authority to deliver kingdoms.

4:8 Get behind Me, Satan: Later, Jesus makes the same statement to Peter when he becomes a channel for Satan’s message (Matt. 16:23). In response to Satan’s second temptation, Jesus cited Deut. 6:13. Jesus knew that only God is worthy of worship, that only God is to be served.

4:9 The pinnacle of the temple may refer either to the high temple gate or to the southeast corner of the temple that loomed over a cliff some 450 feet high, which Josephus described as making one dizzy (Antiq. 15.411–412).

4:10, 11 He shall give His angels charge over you: Satan cited Ps. 91:11, 12, reminding Jesus of God’s promise of protection. However, the mere use of biblical words does not always reveal God’s will, particularly if they are placed in the wrong context.

4:12 You shall not tempt the Lord: In response to Satan’s third temptation, Jesus cited Deut. 6:16. God is to be trusted, not tested. The Deuteronomy passage refers to Israel’s attempt to test God at Meribah (Ex. 17:1–7). Jesus would not repeat the nation’s error of unfaithfulness to God.

4:13 until an opportune time: This was but the first of several encounters Jesus had with Satan and his forces (11:14–23).[1]

[1]Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson's new illustrated Bible commentary (Lk 4:1-13). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.


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