James 1:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 1:13, NIV: "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;"

James 1:13, ESV: "Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one."

James 1:13, KJV: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"

James 1:13, NASB: "No one is to 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."

James 1:13, NLT: "And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, 'God is tempting me.' God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else."

James 1:13, CSB: "No one undergoing a trial should say, "I am being tempted by God," since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn't tempt anyone."

What does James 1:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

James began this letter by commanding Christians to see trials in our lives as meaningful and ultimately beneficial things. Struggles during our earthly lives are opportunities to trust God at a deeper level. They can also be traps—excuses used to justify a decision to stop trusting Him and turn away. The temptation attached to trials is to trust God less. We might decide He is not strong enough to provide for us, not faithful to meet our needs, not compassionate about our pain and heartbreak. Is God good? Is He loving? Is He powerful?

James is talking about how we choose to answer those questions about God on our worst days. If we decide to tell ourselves God is not faithful, we may declare our independence from Him by choosing not to obey. If we decide He is trustworthy, we will move closer to Him looking for more help, more connection.

Here James makes clear that blaming God for tempting us to reject Him, by allowing trials into our lives, is not a valid response. God never orchestrates the events of our lives with an intent to lure us away from Himself. He always roots for us to move closer. That's who He is. The purpose of trials is not to drive us away from God, but to draw us closer to Him.

Christians are never guaranteed an easier life than nonbelievers. Quite the opposite: being a friend to God means being an enemy to the fallen world (John 16:1–4). So, trials will come (John 15:18–20). The trials will test our faith. But the temptation to be unfaithful to God during hardship is not from Him. He is, by definition, good. He can't be tempted by evil; He tempts no person with evil.

So where does temptation come from? Verse 14 will explain where the lure to reject God actually comes from.