Temptation or Trial?

Q: What does James mean the words Trial and Temptation in James 1: 3 -4; 13 -15, as the same word is used in Tamil Bible for trial and temptation?

A: Thank you for this question; the problem is not just in Tamil Bible. Even James himself, writing in Greek makes a subtle transition in the usage of two different words. There are two different words in Greek which are both translated same in Tamil. ‘dokimane’’= trial, severe troubles that cause us stumble in our faith ‘peirasmos’ = temptation to sin; passion to commit sin Though James uses these two words interchangeably, he talks about trials in vv.3and 4 and he speaks about temptation to sin in vv. 13 -15. TRIAL Vv. 3 & 4: The tests for our faith are called ‘trials; these attack the believers from outside. The family members insisting on giving up our faith in Christ, opposition from Government or persecution from anyone outside can be termed as trials. Moreover, God allows us to go through difficult situations in order to strengthen us in our faith. These situations lead us think that God is the source of all these pressures (v13). James forbids that. He admonishes us to bear with such pressures, but not to oppose. When we bear with such difficult situations we mature in faith and grow towards perfection. Ultimately we get the crown (v12). TEPMTATIONS (Vv. 13 -15): Believers are not exempted from being tempted to sin. We are often tempted. Friends, media and strategies that the world applies to come up in life try always to tell us that they are successful. They try to induce us by repeating certain catchy phrases to induce us. They even go to the extent of quoting the Scriptures wrongly to fall prey and say, “there is nothing wrong in making an attempt once; if you do that once God will not hate you but rather forgive.” We too are prompted to think, none has seen 30  me, so we try that. This is really a temptation. Believers should definitely stand against such promptings and run away from them (James 4:7). Otherwise we would give place to our natural desires and lose the battle. But when we oppose the temptations, sure is the victory. James exhorts us to pray for wisdom in 1: 4 & 5. This wisdom is not a general one. He specifically asks us to pray for wisdom to bear with the trials for faith and wisdom to resist temptations for sin.

TAST. Athma Soruban, The author Networking Secretary based in Chennai with his wife Beulah and daughters, Dibrizah & Clarizah.

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