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Temptations, trials and tests: An Eastern Approach

*Disclaimer* I am not Billy Graham, Beth Moore or Francis Chan. I have never been to seminary. I like to read my Bible and I try hard to understand the heart of my Father through its pages. I try to include references and resources so you can (and I hope you do) explore the Scriptures on your own and formulate your own conclusions and convictions.


So I am rolling through my first day in reading James.  Nate and I had agreed to read the first “section” which in my Bible took me from 1-18. I’m reading right along—this is pretty familiar stuff– I think I even had to memorize part of it for a Counseling class at college, but I digress—and I come to some interesting words: trial, testing, and temptation.  Two of them are used pretty close together in James 1:2-3

“Consider it all joy my brothers when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

And then I found the other interesting word in 1:13

“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.”

Now in the past these words have not caught my attention like they do today.  Today, for whatever reason, I feel like God is a rough and tumble meanie.  Today “Consider it pure joy” comes out in a syrupy southern accent.  It feels thick and sweet and out of touch with reality. I want to punch it in the face.  Because today I am not a spectator of someone else’s “trial, testing, or temptation”; today I feel like I NEED to know what those words really, really mean.  So I decided to look up these annoying curious words in my friend, BlueLetterBible.com. (Blue Letter Bible is like having a Greek prof and Charles Spurgeon in your pocket)

I learn that all these word come from a common root, peria*.  Hmp. Well that’s confusing.  I was hoping for a plethora of Greek words like ajsldkj, aoieuot and asjflieji. In my typical Western thinking pattern I want to focus on the differences and this really throws a wrench in my plan. (Don’t you hate it when the Bible does that to you? 😉 )
Most commonly peria is used to describe a trial, an experience, or an attempt.  I keep looking and interestingly (I’m completely aware that finding Greek and Hebrew words interesting makes me a nerd), peria comes from another root peran*.  Peran is an even more interesting, and I would daresay intriguing word.  It carries the idea of piercing but means on the other side, beyond, over, on the farther side.  

A piercing that takes us to beyond where we have been to somewhere we otherwise would not have gone.

Temptation

Trial

Testing

A piercing that takes us to beyond where we have been to somewhere we otherwise would not have gone.
No matter how much I want to pull them apart and dissect them, all of these experiences are intricately laced together. They are painful. We would never choose them. But God is working through them. 

And we can rejoice in them because they will take us deeper, farther and nearer to the heart of our Father.
 
[1] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for peira (Strong’s 3984)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 2 Feb 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3984&t;=NASB >
[2]Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for peran (Strong’s 4008)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 6 Feb 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4008&t;=KJV >

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