Do you want to reflect on temptation? Don’t miss this new article of Your Online Bible where we talk about everything related to temptation and the ways in which this word is represented in the Bible.
What is temptation according to the Bible?
Christians live in a world where selfishness and a voracious passion for all things material abound. The unstoppable advance of new technologies promotes a society in which everything is ephemeral and fast, far from the real happiness generated by the practice of spirituality.
As faithful followers of God, we must live in this busy world trying not to be overwhelmed by material temptation, always steadfastly following the way of our Lord. But temptation is not something unique to our times, and the Bible shows us this.
In this article you will see how the Catholic Bible speaks of temptation in many different occasions and gives us some maxims to live free and without falling into it.
Best verses to overcome temptation
Before we begin to analyze the meaning of this word and delve into specific moments in the Bible where temptation is represented, we leave you with a brief reflection on temptation to begin to introduce you to this article.
How to resist temptation
Meaning of the word temptation
According to the Spanish dictionary, temptation is the incitement to desire something that usually does not suit us in the long run. In the field of religion, we identify temptation as the inclination to sin that every Christian must avoid at all costs.
Temptation is often associated with the image of the Devil, since it is he who urges us to fall into it. The Devil, also called Satan, represents the evil of the world and appears in the Bible represented in different forms, for example, as a serpent or an angel fallen from heaven.
Verses on temptation
Examples of temptations in the Bible
As we have already mentioned, there are several chapters in the Bible that speak of temptation. Sometimes the word appears explicitly, but on many other occasions, it is only spoken of without being mentioned.
We have examples in the Old and New Testaments in which, as we shall see, Satan tries to tempt Jesus in the desert.
One of the oldest verses that speak of temptation is this one that appears in the Book of Daniel:
“With flattery he will seduce covenant violators;
but the people who know their God will strive and act.” (Daniel 11:32)
Here we see how God’s people can never be bribed with material goods if they follow the Word of God. We will find prosperity by following the light of the Lord and not by pursuing material wealth.
Another reference is found in Proverbs, this wonderful book that gives us small sentences for all life situations. This one reads as follows:
“My son, if sinners would deceive you,
Do not consent.” (Proverbs 1:10)
As we can see, we must distance ourselves from everything that can take us away from what really matters and refuse to collaborate in the actions of those who do not act with love and solidarity.
Beyond these references, in the Old Testament we find one of the best known and most important. It is the story of Adam and Eve found in Genesis. The Devil incites Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in violation of the divine command, which causes her expulsion from paradise. One of the verses in this story is this one in which we see Satan represented as a serpent:
“But the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made; and he said unto the woman, Hath God said unto you, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1)
In the New Testament temptation is mentioned many more times. The most important episode we find is when Jesus is tempted in the desert. Such is its importance that this story appears in three of the four gospels.
To put you in context, Jesus went into the desert to spend 40 days alone in the desert without eating anything to pray. In such a hostile environment, Satan wanted to tempt him three times by taking advantage of his physical weakness. We see this in the following verses:
“And the tempter came to him and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.
And he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:3-4)
“And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for it is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
If you worship me prostrate, all will be yours.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:6-8)
“And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence;
For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee;
And they will hold you in their hands, so that you will not stumble over a stone with your foot.
Jesus answered and said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Luke 4:9-12)
As we see Jesus was tempted by need and also by greed as any of us could be tempted. We must seek strength in the Word of God and in prayer to stand firm as Jesus did.
Other mentions are found in the epistles of St. Paul to the Christian communities he visited. We leave you with an example found in 1 Corinthians that stands out for the great beauty and power of its words.
“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.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
As we see, God will keep us from falling into temptation if we seek Him, and it is in Him that we will find the path to follow.
Temptation in Christian art
Given the importance of temptation in Christianity, it is not surprising that many Christian artists have been inspired by it throughout history, offering us beautiful works that reflect moments and situations of temptation.
The first work we show you is this one by the great painter William-Adolphe Bouguerau which, as we can see, represents humanity as a newborn baby weak against the temptations of the world. One can see the temptation represented with an apple just as in Genesis.
Another chapter very frequently represented in art related to temptation is the aforementioned temptation of Christ in the desert. One of the best-known examples in the art world is this carefully painted painting by Ary Scheffer.
In the painting we can see the Devil represented as a dark angel who invites Jesus to throw himself from the top of a cliff as narrated in the Gospels. Jesus points to heaven, referring to the biblical passage that says: “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve”. One more reference that shows us our fragility in the face of temptations and the strength of God, who helps us to fight temptation in the moments of greatest weakness.
Now that you know what temptation is according to the Bible and, more importantly, you know how to avoid it. Leading a life dedicated to prayer and worship of God will help you stay away from temptation, although you will never be exempt from it, the Word of God will make you stronger.
As human beings, we can make mistakes, as it is in our nature to do so. Even so, we must be self-critical and recognize our mistakes when we make them, asking forgiveness from the Lord and from whomever they have affected.
So much for this Your Online Bible article on temptation according to the Bible and its consequences! As always, thank you very much for reading us, and we bid you farewell until next time.