Is there any difference between trials, temptations and persecution?

Question:

Hi Jeff,

Is there any difference between trials, temptations and persecution?

Thanks.


Answer:

In English, a trial is any difficult situation, including temptations and persecution. A temptation is when you desire something but realize that to get what you want, you would have to break a law of God. Persecution is when others make life hard for you because of who you are.

In Greek, peirasmos refers to a hardship that proves something. Thus, a temptation is a hardship that proves you can resist the offer to break God's law. But hardships may not be just about resisting sin and they prove we can endure. Thus, one Greek word covers both trials and temptations. That can cause some difficulties as it would be the context that determines whether we are talking about a trial or temptation.

Thus, "Let no one 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), means that God doesn't try to make a person fail and break His laws. God tested Abraham (Genesis 22:1) by asking him to offer up his son. God was not attempting to get Abraham to sin but to prove the strength of Abraham's faith.