Genesis 3:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 3:4, NIV: "You will not certainly die,' the serpent said to the woman."

Genesis 3:4, ESV: "But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die."

Genesis 3:4, KJV: "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:"

Genesis 3:4, NASB: "The serpent said to the woman, 'You certainly will not die!"

Genesis 3:4, NLT: "'You won't die!' the serpent replied to the woman."

Genesis 3:4, CSB: ""No! You will not die," the serpent said to the woman."

What does Genesis 3:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After drawing the woman, later named Eve, into a conversation about God's restrictions for their food, the serpent now flatly contradicts God. This creature—Satan in a serpent's form—rejects God's warning that the humans would die if they ate fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

This conversation serves as a prototype for temptation to sin. The serpent's strategy begins with starting a conversation about it, then subtly questioning the fairness of the command, then candidly calling God a liar. To this day, every temptation to sin is, at some level, a question of God's character using that same path: Did God really make that statement…is God really telling the truth…should I trust what He says…don't I actually know better…shouldn't I choose my own way? These are the questions, and the path of pride and sin, through which the serpent will lead Eve.

One key aspect of the serpent's strategy, of course, is that he never fully lies. Compelling deception is always built on half-truths about God's intentions and restrictions. As we'll soon see, Adam and Eve did not instantly die physically after eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. However, they did die as a result of their decision, both spiritually and physically. They began the "slow dying" of the aging process and they immediately lost their deep connection to God. They became spiritually separated from the source of all life. In the New Testament, Paul will describe this as being dead in our sins, the state of spiritual death each of us continues to be born into (Ephesians 2:1–2).