A Baited Trap: James 1:13–15

baited trap

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b) James 1:13–15: Since the same Greek word means “test” and “tempt” (peirazō),[1] some of James’s readers regarded testing by God as an act in which he tempted people to sin.[2]

In keeping with Prov 19:3, a Greek text records Zeus making this complaint:

See now, how men lay blame upon us gods for what is after all nothing but their own folly…though he knew it would be the death of him; for I sent Hermes to warn him not to do either of these things…

Hermes told him this in all good will but he would not listen, and now he has paid for everything in full.[3]

James used two allusions familiar to people who hunt and fish to explain how evil works. Someone who fishes employs a lure to capture and drag away a fish, and a hunter sets bait to entice an unsuspecting victim.[4] Even so, the seductive power of human desire pulls us toward sin.[5]

We may blame others, Satan, or even God, but ultimately the guilt for our moral failure falls upon us.[6]

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Read James 1:13–15. Why do we know that God does not tempt us?  How and why are we tempted?



Go to Hiding from God (Gen 3:8)

[Related posts include Receiving the Crown of Life (Jas 1:12); Succumbing to Temptation (Gen 3:6); Satan Tempts Christ (Matt 4:1–4); A Second Temptation (Matt 4:5–7); and The Third Temptation (Matt 4:8–11); Falling for Deception (2 Cor 11:3–4); An Angel of Light (2 Cor 11:13–15)]

[Click here to go to Chapter 6: A Serpent in the Garden (Genesis 3:1–13)]


[1] Danker, et al., “πειραζω” (peirazō), BDAG, 792–3.

[2] McKnight, The Letter of James, 114.

[3]Homer, The Odyssey (trans. Samuel Butler, revised by Timothy Power and Gregory Nagy; London: A. C. Fifield, 1900), 1.32–4, Http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3atext%3a1999.01.0218.

[4] Nystrom, James, 74.

[5] McKnight, The Letter of James, 118.

[6] Nystrom, James, 73.