What does James 1:13 mean?
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.
NIV: When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
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.
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.
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.
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:
NKJV: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
James 1:2–18 begins with a challenging command for Christians. We are to classify hard things in their lives as ''joyful,'' because those ordeals help us develop a deeper trust in God. Christians who trust God also seek wisdom from Him—and not from ungodly sources. We continue to trust Him through difficult experiences, in part, to receive the crown of life promised to those who don't stop. We don't blame Him for our desire to sin, but we do credit Him for every good thing in our lives.
Chapter Summary:
How important is it for Christians to trust God? It's so important, James writes, that we should call our worst moments joyful things, because trials help us trust God more. People who trust God ask Him for wisdom—and then take what He gives. People who trust God make a bigger deal about their rewards in the next life than their wealth in this one. People who trust God don't blame Him for their desire to sin; they give Him credit for all that is good in their lives. They look into His Word, and they act on what they see there.
Chapter Context:
This first chapter in the book of James sets the course for the rest of his letter to Christians worldwide. God wants us to trust Him more, and more deeply, as we learn more of Him. This is so important to God that He calls on us to find joy, even in hard times, because hardship helps us trust God more. Those who really trust God will ask Him for wisdom, will be excited about their status in eternity, will recognize Him as the source of all good in their lives, and will work to act on what they find in His Word.
Book Summary:
The book of James is about specifically understanding what saving faith looks like. How does faith in Christ reveal itself in a believer's life? What choices does real trust in God lead us to make? Those are the questions James answers. Most scholars believe the writer was Jesus' half-brother, a son born to Joseph and Mary after Jesus' birth. James may not have come to believe Jesus was the Messiah until after the resurrection. Eventually, though, he became one of the leaders of the Christian church in Jerusalem. This is possibly the earliest-written of all the New Testament books, around AD 40–50. James addresses his letter to Jewish Christians scattered around the known world.
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