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Trials Bible Study

Trials are a challenge to our faith. It is difficult for us to accept that God would allow us to suffer, and not heal when we pray for healing. What does the Bible say about suffering, and the basis for our trust in God in the face of human suffering?

These are my personal Bible study notes.

God's Blessing and Healing on Righteousness

Exodus 15:25-26 Promise to heal from the diseases the Egyptians suffered.
Exodus 23:25-27 Blessings on bread and water; take sickness away.
Deuteronomy 7:15
Deuteronomy 28:1-14
Leviticus 26:3-13 Blessings on obedience.
Psalm 1
Psalm 103:1-5
Proverbs 11:8; 13:25; 15:6
Jeremiah 17:7-8
Malachi 3:10 (in the case of tithing)


Psalm 34:17-19
Psalm 71:20
Psalm 119:75
Matthew 7:14 difficult way
John 16:33 In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Acts 14:22 We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.
Romans 8:17-39
Romans 12:1 Present our bodies a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:12 "...patient in tribulation..."
1 Corinthians 10:13
2 Corinthians 1:3-10 God's comfort in our suffering. We have both sufferings and consolation of Christ.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10
2 Corinthians 7:4-7 Tribulations, and comfort in fellow brethren.
2 Corinthians 13:3-4 We live in physical weakness, but through Christ are made strong.
Philippians 3:7-11 Paul suffered loss of all things he previously held dear. Verse 10 talks of knowing "the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death".
Colossians 1:24 Rejoice in sufferings?!
1 Thessalonians 3:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:3 endure hardship as a good soldier
James 1:2-4; 5:7-11
1 Peter 1:6-9; 2:18-25; 4:12-19
1 Peter 5:9 same sufferings experienced by our brotherhood in the world.


Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.
Matthew 24:9 They will deliver you up to persecution and kill you.
Mark 8:34-38 Be prepared to suffer for our faith in Christ, even to lose our physical life.
Luke 6:20-23 Beatitudes. Blessings on the poor, those who hunger, those who weep, those who are persecuted.
John 15:18-25 If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.
John 16:1-3 Persecution of apostles. Be put out of synagogues.
Philippians 1:28-29 We will suffer for His sake. But, a Christian must be bold not terrified.
Ephesians 3:1; Philippians 1:13-14; Colossians 4:3,18; Philemon 1:10,13,23 Apostle Paul was in chains due to his preaching of the gospel message.
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 persecution from religious authorities.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-7 persecutions and tribulations.
1 Timothy 4:10 ...we suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God...
2 Timothy 1:8; 2:9 Apostle Paul imprisoned for his preaching of the gospel.
2 Timothy 3:12


Daniel 11:32-35 Some of God's people to fall to the beast power in the end time, though preaching God's word before they fall.
Matthew 10:21
Matthew 24:9 They will deliver you up to persecution and kill you.
Mark 8:34-38
Luke 9:23-26; 14:26-27
John 16:2
Acts 7:1-60 Stephen was martyred by the religious leaders.
Revelation 12:11


Ecclesiastes 3:6; 7:13-15; 9:11-12 Sometimes we are unlucky in life, and we just have to do the best we can in adverse circumstances. Still learn to trust in God who created a certain amount of adversity and unfairness as the facts of life.
Luke 13:1-5 Christ talked about men killed by falling tower of Siloam. They weren't worse sinners to deserve that fate.


Job 1:12; 2:6-7 Consider Satan's hand in Job's suffering. God gave him permission to harass Job, within limits. Satan had the power to do so when permitted.
2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul's trial from "a messenger of Satan".
Luke 13:16 Woman's suffering caused by Satan.

God's Judgment on Sin

Exodus 15:26 God had sent diseases on the Egyptians, and promised the Israelites He would spare them if they obeyed Him.
Leviticus 26:14-39 Curses on disobedience.
Deuteronomy 8:5 God chastens us as a father chastens his son.
Deuteronomy 28:15-68 Curses on disobedience.
Judges 2:11-23; 3:8,9,12-15 4:3 10:7-10 God's judgment in the time of the judges.
1 Kings 8:33-40
Job 33:15-30
Psalm 39:7-11 David recognised God's chastisement of him with trials. God "uses rebukes to correct a man for iniquity."
Psalm 78:34-35 Trials may turn people back to God.
Psalm 107:10-32
Proverbs 3:11-12; 19:29
Isaiah 1:19-20
Isaiah 30:20 God gives the "bread of adversity and the water of affliction".
Jeremiah 17:5-6,10-11
Hosea 5:15
Luke 13:1-5 Though people may suffer now what seems to be divine retribution, the just judgement of God is at a future time.
Luke 19:41-44 Jerusalem didn't recognise their Messiah, and suffered punishment as a consequence.
John 5:14
1 Corinthians 11:27-32
Ephesians 5:3-7 Wrath of God on sin.
Hebrews 12:3-11
Revelation 3:19 God chastens those whom He loves, so that we may repent.

God Sometimes "Tests" or Purifies Us With Trials

Genesis 32:24-32 Jacob wrestling with God.
Exodus 18:8 Israel's hardships and God's deliverance.
Leviticus 26:40-45 Repentance.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 "...God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not..."
Deuteronomy 8:16 "...that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end..."
Psalm 66:10-12
Psalm 119:71,75
Proverbs 17:3
Isaiah 1:25
Isaiah 48:10
Jeremiah 17:10
Ezekiel 22:18-22
Daniel 11:35; 12:10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined.
Zechariah 13:8-9
Malachi 3:1-3 God is like a refiner of silver.
Matthew 7:24-27 The storms of life will come. The one who heeds Christ's words will be able to weather the storms.
Mark 9:49 everyone seasoned with fire
John 15:2 God "prunes" us, so we can bear more fruit.
1 Peter 1:6-7 Genuineness of our faith tested by fire.

Don't Test God

We should know God's loving character, power and wisdom, sufficiently to be able to have faith that He will give us what's best in the long run.

Matthew 4:7
Exodus 17:2,7
Numbers 14:22
Deuteronomy 6:16
Psalm 78:18-22,41-43,56 The Israelites should have been able to trust God on the basis of the saving power they had witnessed (plagues on Egypt, crossing the Red Sea).
Psalm 95:9-10 "They tried me, though they saw My work... they do not know My ways."
Psalm 106:14

Natural Consequences of Sin

Galatians 6:7 Reap what you sow.

Sometimes/Often God Doesn't Heal

Luke 4:25-27

Sometimes Righteous People Suffer

Consider Job. His friends were wrong to conclude that he must have sinned to cause his suffering.
Psalm 44:17-26 God's people "sheep for the slaughter" but not due to judgement for sins.
John 9:1-5 A man was blind, but not for his or his parents' sin (John 9:34 Pharisees thought his parents must have sinned). It was to show God's power and love.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh. (Gal 4:15; 6:11 Possibly eyesight problem.)
Philippians 2:25-30 Epaphroditis was sick nearly to death, while serving the brethren.
1 Timothy 5:23 Timothy's "frequent infirmities".

God's Purpose Is Spiritual Blessings, Not Physical Blessings

Luke 11:9-13 God desires to give us the Holy Spirit when we ask.
Romans 5:3-5
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 God's strength in the midst of Paul's weakness.
Philippians 4:11-13 Spiritual provisions despite physical lack.
Hebrews 11:34 ...out of weakness were made strong...
James 4:3

God Accomplishes Good In Trials

Genesis 45:5-8; 50:20 God accomplished great good from Joseph's trial. Psalm 105:16-22
Job -- God accomplished good in Job's life through a tremendous trial incited by Satan. James 5:11
Ecclesiastes 7:1-4
Romans 5:3-5
Romans 8:28
2 Corinthians 4:17 our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh kept him humble and made him depend on God's strength. (Gal 4:15; 6:11 Possibly eyesight problem.)
Philippians 1:12-18 In prison, Paul saw his trial as bearing spiritual fruit and furthering the gospel message.
Hebrews 11:34 ...out of weakness were made strong...

God's Deliverance Out of Trials

Psalm 34:15-22
Psalm 71:20-21

God Gives Strength in Trials

Psalm 23:3-4
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh kept him humble and made him depend on God's strength. (Gal 4:15; 6:11 Possibly eyesight problem.)

Perseverance and Endurance

Genesis 32:24-32 Jacob wrestling with God.
Psalm 13 "How long?"
Psalm 77 Remembering God's character in the midst of a hard trial.
Matthew 7:24-27 The person who lives by every word of God is able to endure the storms of life.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-7
James 1:12 Endurance of temptation.
Hebrews 3:6,14 Endure to the end.
Hebrews 12:1-2
James 5:10-11 Perseverance of the prophets; God's mercy on Job.
NT word study "overcome".

Trials Normal Part of the Human Condition

Ecclesiastes 7:13-14
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 No temptation has overtaken us except that which is common to man.
2 Corinthians 4:7-18 We have this treasure in earthen vessels.
1 Peter 5:9 Same sort of trials suffered by others.

Trials Due to Old Age

2 Samuel 19:34-37 Barzillai 80 years old, talks to David of his old age.
Job 14:1-2
Psalm 39 The transience of human life.
Psalm 90:9-10 The brevity of human life.
Ecclesiastes 11:8; 12:1-8
Zechariah 8:4 Even in the Millennium, old people will need a staff to help them get around. This phenomenon of such aged people is seen as a blessing on society.
James 1:9-11 The rich need to remember that their life's pursuits will fade away.


Psalm 90 Life is fleeting.
Psalm 116:15
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
Ecclesiastes 7:1-4
Ecclesiastes 12:7
Isaiah 57:1-2 God lets the righteous die, to keep them from the world's evil. Eg 2 Chronicles 32:33 (Hezekiah); 2 Kings 22:18-20; 2 Chronicles 34:26-28; 35:24 (Josiah).
James 1:9-11; 4:13-16 Life is fleeting. We must not boast in ourselves.

The Trial of Living in Ungodly World

As patriarchs and Israelites lived as pilgrims in unfamiliar countries and in the wilderness, so we are pilgrims in a foreign country.
Deuteronomy 2:7; 8:2-6,11-16
God is bringing us to the promised land.
Deuteronomy 2:7-10
2 Peter 2:7-9 Lot tormented by sin around him.

Our Physical Bodies Must Die, for Us to be Resurrected to Glory

Psalm 116:15
Romans 8:10,23-25
1 Corinthians 15:42-44
2 Corinthians 5:1-8

Christ Suffered, Unjustly

Matthew 26:36-42
Luke 23:34 Asked for forgiveness of His persecutors.
Acts 2:23; 3:13-15
Romans 8:32
Hebrews 2:9-18; 4:14-16; 5:8-9
1 Peter 2:21-25


Jacob running from Esau, tricked by Laban.
Joseph in slavery then jail.
Israelites in slavery.
When God started to intervene for the Israelites, at first things got worse for them.
Deuteronomy 2:7 Israelites going through the wilderness.
Ruth and Naomi's blessing emerged out of family sorrow which Naomi characterised as "bitterness".
David on the run from King Saul.
1 Kings 19:1-18 Elijah felt overwhelmed by Jezebel's threats, right after his spectacular showdown with prophets of Baal.
Daniel 3 Shadrak, Meshak and Abed-Nego had their lives on the line after they disobeyed the law to do what was right. There was a 4th man with them in the fiery furnace.
Daniel 6 Daniel had his life on the line when he disobeyed the king's law to do right.
Nehemiah built the temple in difficult circumstances.
Matthew 11:1-6 John the Baptist suffered doubt in his difficult circumstances.
Matthew 14:1-12 John the Baptist beheaded.
Acts 7 Stephen martyred.
Most apostles martyred.
2 Corinthians 11:22-33 Apostle Paul had many trials. Philippians 1:12-18 In prison, he saw his trial as bearing spiritual fruit and furthering the gospel message.
Hebrews 11:32-40 Faith chapter—believers who trusted God in the midst of trials.

Pray for Healing for Ourselves & Others

James 5:13-16

Despite Trials, God's Way Is Blessed

Matthew 5:3-12 Blessed are...
Matthew 11:28-30

We Are God's Precious Children

Psalm 22:24 He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted.
Psalm 56:8 God takes note of our suffering.
Psalm 116:15 Precious to God is the death of His saints.
Luke 12:6-7 More precious than sparrows. He counts the hairs on our head.

Future Hope of Resurrection to Glory

Deuteronomy 8:16 "...that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end..." Israelites' destiny of promised land is symbolic of our eternal destiny.
Romans 8:18-39
1 Corinthians 15 Resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:19 Our hope is in the next life, not this one.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
2 Thessalonians 1:7
Hebrews 11:13-16,39-40
1 Peter 1:3-9
1 John 3:1-3
Revelation 14:13
Revelation 21:1-5


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