Resisting Temptation: What the Bible Teaches
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Resisting Temptation: What the Bible Teaches

Temptation is something we all face in life. Whether it’s temptation to lie, cheat, steal, or give in to lustful desires, the allure of sin can be difficult to overcome. As Christians, God calls us to resist temptation and pursue holiness. But how exactly can we resist temptation? What does the Bible teach about fighting sinful urges and fleeing from evil? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore 20 key Bible passages about resisting temptation and offer practical tips for gaining victory over sin.


The Bible has much to say about temptation and overcoming sin through God’s power. From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture shows how temptation originates, why we give in and how we can resist through Christ. The Bible warns that temptation comes from our own sinful desires. James 1:14 (NKJV) says, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” Temptation often feels irresistible in the moment. But 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) offers hope: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

With God’s help, believers can resist temptation through prayer, Scripture memory, accountability and avoiding compromising situations. While temptation is inevitable, sin is not. Through the power of Christ, Christians can overcome temptation and live holy lives. Commit these key Bible verses about resisting temptation to memory and meditate on them daily. Ask God to strengthen you in your struggle against sin. Pursue accountability and community with other believers. Avoid tempting situations whenever possible.

Here are 10 key takeaways on resisting temptation according to the Bible:

  1. Temptation originates from our own sinful desires (James 1:14)
  2. God promises to limit temptation and provide an escape (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  3. Jesus was tempted and can sympathize with our struggle (Hebrews 4:15)
  4. Scripture memory fortifies our minds against temptation (Psalm 119:11)
  5. Prayer strengthens us in the face of temptation (Matthew 26:41)
  6. Avoid compromising situations whenever possible (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
  7. Fight temptation with God’s Word (Matthew 4:1-11)
  8. Ask God to lead you away from temptation (Matthew 6:13)
  9. Sin and temptation must be killed before they progress (Romans 8:13)
  10. God rewards those who resist temptation (James 1:12)

Keeping these key truths in mind will help equip you to resist temptation. Now let’s explore 20 Bible passages that offer wisdom and insights about resisting sin.

Resisting temptation: what the bible teaches

20 Key Bible Verses about Resisting Temptation

1. James 1:12-15 – Temptation arises from evil desire

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 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. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

This key passage reveals the source of temptation – our own evil desires. Rather than blaming God, we must take responsibility for our sinful urges. Also, it promises that God will reward those who successfully endure temptation.

2. 1 Corinthians 10:13 – God limits temptation

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

God promises to limit our temptation and provide an “escape hatch” so we can resist. He knows how much we can handle and will not let us be overwhelmed.

3. Hebrews 2:18 – Jesus sympathizes

For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Jesus was tempted, so He understands and sympathizes with our struggle. Because He overcame temptation, He is able to help us resist and find victory.

4. Matthew 26:41 – Pray to avoid temptation

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Prayer is a key weapon against temptation. It strengthens our spirit and keeps us alert. Even Jesus warned His disciples to pray in order to avoid temptation.

5. Psalm 119:11 – Scripture memory counters temptation

Your word I have hidden in my heart,That I might not sin against You.

Hiding God’s Word in our heart empowers us to resist temptation. Memorizing key Scripture passages helps us fight sinful urges.

6. Philippians 4:8 – Dwell on pure thoughts

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.

Filling our mind with pure thoughts crowds out tempting thoughts. By meditating on noble, just, pure, lovely and praiseworthy things, we avoid compromise.

7. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 – Avoid tempting situations

Abstain from every form of evil.

While we cannot avoid temptation completely, we can avoid tempting environments and situations. Staying away from compromising circumstances is wise.

8. Matthew 6:13 – Seek God’s help to avoid temptation

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

The Lord’s Prayer demonstrates that we should ask God to keep us away from temptation and deliver us from the evil one, Satan.

9. Proverbs 1:10 – Avoid enticement by sinners

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.

There is wisdom in avoiding those looking to entice us into sin. Bad company corrupts good character. Choosing righteous friends is key.

10. Matthew 4:3-10 – Counter temptation with Scripture

Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Jesus modeled using Scripture to rebuke temptation. We can overcome temptation by memorizing and proclaiming relevant Bible verses.

11. Romans 13:14 – Put on Christ, resist flesh

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Rather than gratifying our sinful urges, we should “put on” Christ-like character. As we focus on Christ, temptation loses its grip.

12. Galatians 5:16 – Walk by the Spirit

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Choosing to “walk by the Spirit” empowers us to overcome the “lust of the flesh.” Dependence on the Holy Spirit enables self-control.

13. 1 Peter 5:8-9 – Resist the devil

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Staying spiritually sober and alert enables us to resist the devil’s temptation attacks. Resisting temptation brings suffering, but we are not alone.

14. James 4:7 – Submit to God, resist the devil

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Submitting to God provides authority to resist the devil’s temptations. As we draw near to God, Satan will flee.

15. Romans 6:12-14 – Do not let sin reign

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

We must not allow sin to reign in our body or use our bodies as instruments of unrighteousness. Through God’s grace, sin will not have dominion over us.

16. 2 Timothy 2:22 – Flee youthful lusts

Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Specifically addressing youth, Paul instructs Timothy to flee lusts and instead pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.

17. Romans 8:13 – Mortify sinful deeds

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

We must actively “put to death” sinful deeds through the Spirit. This intentional mortification of sin leads to life.

18. 1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Loving God helps us resist temptation. If we love the world or take pride in fleshly achievements, we make ourselves vulnerable. Focusing on eternal rewards motivates holy living.

19. Hebrews 3:12-13 – Encourage one another

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

We must encourage fellow believers daily to resist the deceitfulness of sin and prevent hard hearts. Accountability relationships help avoid temptation.

20.Galatians 6:1-2 – Restore fallen brothers & sisters

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

When a brother or sister is overtaken in sin, we should seek to restore them gently and carry their burdens. Holding one another accountable in love is key.

7 Practical Strategies for Resisting Temptation

We’ve explored 20 key Bible passages about resisting temptation. Now let’s discuss some practical strategies you can apply to gain victory in your battle against sin. Here are 7 tactics for resisting temptation based on biblical principles:

  1. Pray constantly – Make prayer your first line of defense against temptation. Ask God for strength and wisdom to resist. Pray without ceasing!
  2. Renew your mind with Scripture – Fill your mind and heart with God’s truth. Memorize key Bible verses about resisting temptation. Meditate on Scripture constantly.
  3. Avoid compromising situations – Be wise. Don’t put yourself in tempting circumstances if possible. Know your weak areas and trigger points. Flee temptation!
  4. Cultivate accountability – Surround yourself with godly friends who will keep you honest. Confess struggles early on. Ask them to pray for you. Let them speak truth into your life.
  5. Identify temptation triggers – Carefully evaluate patterns of temptation and sin. Avoid or manage trigger situations. Starve your fleshly desires. Don’t feed your temptations!
  6. Refocus your thoughts – Counteract sinful thoughts immediately with pure thoughts. Focus on Christ and kingdom priorities. Philippians 4:8 gives a list of pure topics to dwell on.
  7. Lean on Christ’s strength – You can’t resist temptation in your own power. Depend fully on Christ. Yield control of your life to Him each day. Let Him fight sin’s stranglehold through you.

Implementing practical strategies like these can help you gain victory in the heat of temptation. But ultimately overcoming temptation is a spiritual battle that requires clinging to Christ, submitting to the Holy Spirit and hiding God’s Word in your heart.

Closing Thoughts

Resisting temptation is a daily battle for every Christian. But God promises to limit temptation and provide an escape hatch (1 Cor 10:13). Temptation itself is not sin – giving into it is. By turning to Christ in prayer, saturating our mind with Scripture, avoiding compromising situations and pursuing accountability, we can overcome temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit. Lean into the Lord’s strength every day. Put to death the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13). God blesses those who persevere under trial (James 1:12). Keep your eyes on Jesus, Christian, and you will prevail in your struggle against sin!

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.