Can Scripture Lead us into Temptation?

Can Scripture Lead us into Temptation?

Can Scripture Lead us into Temptation?

Luke 4:1-13

“Even the devil can quote Scripture,” is a phrase that you may have heard before.  This phrase comes from a line in a play written by William Shakespeare called “The Merchant of Venice.”  In the play there is a character who says, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”

I do not know exactly where Shakespeare got his inspiration for these lines.  There is a chance, however, that he would have been inspired by the temptation of Christ story that we will hear this Sunday from the Gospel of Luke.   In this text, Jesus encounters Satan after he has been fasting for forty days.  He is in a vulnerable state of mind and Satan decides to take advantage of it.  He tempts Jesus three times to get him to question his identity as God’s son and to turn him from God’s path.

On the third attempt Satan quotes Scripture to get Jesus to try to prove that he really does trust God.  The Scripture he quotes is from Psalm 91 where it says that God will send his angels to bear you up lest you strike a foot against a stone.  It sounds like a nice promise, but Satan uses it to challenge Jesus.  He says if it is true, then Jesus should be able to jump off the highest point of the temple and survive.  Satan is using Scripture to try and tempt Jesus into doing something magically against the laws of nature to prove his connection to God.  He is asking Jesus to put his life at risk in an unnecessary way.  Satan takes a beautiful verse from Psalms about God supporting us and twists it in a way in order to cast doubt on God’s power.

Do you know of ways where the Holy Scripture in the Bible has been twisted to hurt others, perhaps even in a way that puts their life at risk?  Are we ever tempted to use Scripture in ways that might benefit us at the expense of others?  How can we be cautious about the ways we use Scripture so that it does not cast doubt on God or drive people away from God, but rather brings them closer to God?

-Pastor Erik Goehner