Matthew 4:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 4:7, NIV: Jesus answered him, 'It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.''

Matthew 4:7, ESV: Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Matthew 4:7, KJV: Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Matthew 4:7, NASB: Jesus said to him, 'On the other hand, it is written: ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’?'

Matthew 4:7, NLT: Jesus responded, 'The Scriptures also say, 'You must not test the LORD your God.''

Matthew 4:7, CSB: Jesus told him, "It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God."

What does Matthew 4:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Satan knows the Bible well. He was bold enough to quote it to Jesus, tempting Him to claim the crown over Israel immediately. The devil took Jesus to the very top of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem and challenged the Lord to jump. He wanted Jesus to illegitimately claim the promise of Psalm 91:11–12: that God's angels would not allow Him even to strike His foot against a stone. In doing so, Jesus would also demonstrate to Israel He was indeed the Son of God. Such a dramatic event, however, would mean Jesus acting in His own timing and outside of the plan of God the Father.

Interestingly, Scripture does not say if this was something which had already weighed on Jesus' mind. Satan's first temptation involved food, and Matthew has been clear that Jesus is hungry. Temptation, by definition, requires an offer of something attractive—but this may or may not have been something Jesus was already eager for, prior to this moment.

This temptation is designed, perhaps, to appeal to Jesus' desire to skip the suffering of the cross. A flashy, public miracle might have led to Christ immediately taking the throne of Israel. Jesus does not reveal that He has any interest in this.

Instead, Jesus focuses on the act of jumping from the top of the temple and forcing the hand of God the Father to send the angels to save Him from death. This would amount to testing God to keep His Word, instead of obeying God by following His will. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:16 to the Devil: a clear command to Israel not to put God to the test.

Notice that, though He is the Son of God, Jesus believes the commands of Scripture apply to Him as much as to any other human being. He must remain obedient to God's Word in order to stand in as the sacrifice for the sins of humanity.