Posts Tagged peirazo

Does Yahweh Tempt People?

12 March 2011

Q. Does Yahweh tempt people?
A. No, Yahweh never tempts someone. Not in the evil sense of the word, anyway.

James 1:13 says:

“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.” (NASB)

People are often confused when they see they read in the King James Version that God “tempted” Abraham (Genesis 22:1). This is likely due to a decreased understanding of the English language that the brilliant William Tyndale translated that passage into, let alone a decreased understanding of Hebrew and Greek languages. God tested Abraham, not “tempted” him in the sense that James wrote about.

The book of James distinguishes between positive and negative tempting through the Greek words peirasmos, meaning trials, and peirazo, meaning tempted (as in lust).

To make up for the decreasing understanding of proper English, more recent translations have resolved the issue by using the word “test” in place of the word “tempt”:

“Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said ‘Here I am.’” (Genesis 22:1, NASB)

“Tempt” comes from Middle English/Anglo-French tempter, tenter, which in turn is derived from the Latin temptare, or tentare, meaning to feel and try.

Here’s something else to think about…

Think of the following words: test, trial, try

Now, you probably know what this word means: attempt

Do you see the word “tempt” in there? If you at-tempt something, you are pursuing a try, a test, a trial. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are attempting evil. To take a creative spin on the issue, when you are tempted, you are not necessarily tempted to do evil. You can be tempted to do good by various incentives.