Matthew 4: Temptations and the Beginning of Jesus' Ministry

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 12–13

It is important for us to know that not only was Jesus without sin, but also that He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He understands temptation because He experienced it and resisted. As you read Matthew 4:1–11, notice the perfect example He set for us in how to overcome temptation. We should also recognize that this testing came as He was preparing to publicly preach His gospel. Satan also seeks to tempt those who will preach the Savior’s gospel today. We must learn to overcome these temptations in order to successfully accomplish our callings to teach and minister in the name of Jesus Christ. The rest of Matthew 4 tells us what Jesus did and said as He began to preach and minister among His people. Read all of the Joseph Smith Translation references for this chapter. There are some very important changes in the first eleven verses.

Understanding the Scriptures

Matthew 4

The tempter (v. 3)Satan, the devil 
Proceedeth (v. 4)Comes 
Holy City (v. 5)Jerusalem 
Pinnacle (v. 5)Tower 
Cast (vv. 6, 12)Throw 
Charge concerning thee (v. 6)Power to watch over and help you 
Lest (v. 6)Just in case 
Dash (v. 6)Hit 
Get thee hence (v. 10)Go away 
Straightway (v. 20)Immediately 
Thence (v. 21)There 
Synagogues (v. 23)Buildings where those of the Jewish faith met together for religious services 
Divers (v. 24)Different 
Torments (v. 24)Problems, pains 

Matthew 4:1—The Wilderness

The wilderness of Judea is a harsh and difficult place to live. It is a very dry desert of sandy, rocky soil with very little vegetation. In the summer it gets as hot as 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees centigrade).

Matthew 4:1–11—How to Overcome Temptation

Doctrine and Covenants 20:22 gives us additional understanding by telling us that Jesus simply “gave no heed” when temptations came to Him. Elder Neal A. Maxwell, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “Instead of dismissing temptations as Jesus did, it is giving heed to them which gets so many in trouble! My mission president used to say we may not always be able to keep an evil thought from entering our minds, but we don’t have to offer it a chair and invite it to sit down” (“I Will Arise and Go to My Father,” Ensign, Sept. 1993, 67).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Matthew 4.

Activity A iconResisting Temptation

  1. 1.

    Make a chart like the following and fill it in with information you find in Matthew 4:1–10, and with your own ideas and experience.


First Temptation (vv. 2–4)

Second Temptation (vv. 5–7)

Third Temptation (vv. 8–10)

What was the temptation?




How did Jesus respond?




How does Satan tempt us today in similar ways?




  1. 2.

    Notice what is similar about the ways Jesus dismissed each of those three temptations. Based on what Jesus did, finish the following statement of advice on resisting temptations: One of the most important tools to resist temptation that I have available to me is …

Activity B iconFollow Me

Jesus addressing fishermen

“Come, follow me”

  1. 1.

    List the four men in Matthew 4:18–22 whom Jesus asked to follow Him.

  2. 2.

    What did those men give up to follow Jesus, and why do you think they did it?

  3. 3.

    Choose one of the two following situations: A person who is considering joining the Church or a person who is considering accepting a call to serve a mission. For the situation you chose, list what a person in that situation might have to give up, then write what you would say to that person about why it would be worth the sacrifice.