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Bible Study: Power to resist temptation

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.

Bible Passage: Genesis 39:1-12

Discussion Questions:

  • Why is it important to stay on guard against temptation even when things are going well?
  • How has God’s Word helped you resist temptation?
  • What strategies have you found helpful in resisting temptation?

Food for Thought:

We see enticing objects, and we feel the urge to respond. A second helping of chocolate cake. An ad for an item we don’t need and can’t afford. A “click here to see more” online. Temptation lies around every corner.

We often resist temptation as long as someone is looking over our shoulder and says, “Don’t eat that” or “You really don’t need that.” Someone is always watching over our shoulders: God! In this lesson, Joseph modeled what it means to live with that truth in mind: God is watching our every move. Joseph’s aim was to keep himself clean amid a dirty culture. That is our challenge as well.

Read Genesis 39:1-12. Broken-hearted, Joseph was taken to Egypt and placed under Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. He had been disowned and enslaved by his own brothers because of their father Jacob’s favoritism toward him. His brothers were angry; Joseph had shared dreams with them that placed him over the family. However, in Egypt there was little hope those dreams would ever come true. Instead of anger and revenge, Joseph trusted God to see him through. With great success also came new temptations and new challenges.

Despite Joseph’s circumstances, God was working out His divine plan. Joseph was successful, but he couldn’t take credit for his continued success because God was with him (v. 2). One blessing God had given Joseph was that he “was well-built and handsome” (v. 6). So, why is this detail about Joseph’s advantages in life included? The answer lies in the pitfalls that come with success. Joseph had God’s hand on him, and he had looks that caused all eyes to be on him! Yet these “blessings” also presented challenges and temptation.

One temptation came through Potiphar’s wife. She wanted Joseph and was probably used to getting whatever she wanted. Would Joseph sacrifice his integrity for whatever momentary pleasure she offered? This moment of decision would define his life forever.

Joseph didn’t submit. He tried to talk sense to the corrupt woman by reminding her of how her husband blessed him. “My master does not concern himself with anything in his house, and he has put all that he owns under my authority. No one in this house is greater than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you” (v. 9). Joseph knew she was off limits! But in an aggressive moment, she ripped his cloak off. He escaped to safety, “leaving his garment in her hand” (v. 12). Joseph was running from sin.

Running from temptation is key to our survival when facing spiritual warfare. More important than running away from sin is the daily decision to walk closely with Jesus. Emmanuel came to earth to be with us. As He prepared to leave earth, He assured His disciples the Spirit would come – and this would prove to be far better (John 16:7). God is always with us, and His Holy Spirit always leads us into truth (16:13).


YOU is committed to providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multiethnic lens that provides relevant, engaging and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated, all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional downloadable online teaching resources, visit You.Lifeway.com.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources