The Bible uses many words for traps. How to avoid them? How to strengthen our walk in Christ. The Bible give the answer.  A person does not fall into sin by accident.  It is by their own desires they are attracted to sin and fall into the snare of the devil to get tangled up with sin.

“For he is thrown into the net by his own feet, And he steps on the webbing.  “A snare seizes him by the heel, And a trap snaps shut on him.  “A noose for him is hidden in the ground, And a trap for him on the path. Job 18:8–10


I find it interesting that these three verses use six different words for traps showing how the wicked falls by is own devices.  Verse 18 goes on to say of the wicked, “He is driven from light into darkness”.

Net               רֶ֣שֶׁת     (resheth)       a net for trapping birds
Webbing    שְׂ֝בָכָ֗ה   (sevakhah)     wicker-work or trellis-work
Snare            פָּ֑ח          (pah)           a trapping net used with bait that springs up when trigger is tripped.
Trap            צַמִּֽים     (tsammin)      a trapping device
Noose          חַבְל֑          (havl)         a trap made of rope
Trap           מַלְכֻּדְתּ֗   (amlkudt)      a kind of a trap

Job’s friend could have kept going.  The Hebrew language has a rich vocabulary of about eighteen words for things designed to catch animals.  Many of these traps depend of the use of bait to draw the animal close to the trap or trapper.  In the New testament bait is used as a metaphor for deceit.[1]  The trap itself is not so much the problem as the bait that draws one to the trap.  The feel-good promise is the bate that snared the addict.  The alcoholic fell for the promise of friends or relief.  These are traps that, for many people, just will not let go. It becomes a never-ending lifelong struggle.  Some people turn to sinful ways as they chase the promise of riches and the good life.  Not to pick on these things, any sinful habit is tough to break, and we didn’t get there by accident.  It was our desire for the bait.

Are there traps for the Christian?  It would seem so.  Paul tells Timothy, of the devil’s snare.  There are things the Christian must be careful about.  A common metaphor is the “stumbling block.”  Jesus called the devil a stumbling block in Matthew 16:23.  Matthew 18:7 tells us stumbling blocks come from people.  The stumbling block is not just something that one just happens to stumble on.  It is placed there for you to stumble on.  Things will not go well at the judgement for those who place these blocks either.  Romans 14:13 says not to “judge one another anymore, but rather determine … not to put a stumbling block in a brother’s way”. Our liberties must not cause our fellow Christian to fall. (1 Corinthians 8:9) 

1 Timothy 3:1-13 gives qualifications for those desiring to serve in the church.  These also serve as a good guide for living the Christian life “so that he [or she] will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”  Additionally, perusing the fruit of the Spirt as found in Galatians 5:22-23 will go a long way toward keeping one away from traps.  The fruit of he Spirit keeps us from desiring the bait and falling for its lies that draw people to the traps in the first place.  Hebrews 12:1 encourages us “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

We all have been entangled by sin and cannot get away from it.  Only Christ can break us free when we turn to Him for help, salvation.  Then we can sing with the Psalmist, “Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; The snare is broken and we have escaped.” (Psalm 124:7)  For some people the residual affects of sin lingers and continually tugs for them to return to their old ways.  For them a verse of encouragement:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”  For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. Psalm 91:1–4

All Scripture quotes are from the New American Standard Bible.


[1] Williams, D. J. (1999). Paul’s Metaphors: Their Context and Character (p. 34). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.