STS Study Excerpt: The Integrity of Moral Purity

The following mini-study is presented to familiarize you with Pastor Chuck’s method of Bible study and provide an opportunity to study the passage yourself.

“We come to the finest examples of personal integrity in the area of moral purity in the entire Bible: the account of Joseph and his victory over sexual  temptation.” —Pastor Charles R. Swindoll

Temptation’s appeal is strong, but it’s possible to say no to the flesh. Let’s discover Joseph’s principles for staying morally pure.

Prepare Your Heart

Read the following reminder of God’s faithfulness and pray for insight from God’s Word so you can overcome temptation in your hour of need.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Turn to the Scriptures

Read Genesis 39 in the Old Testament.

Temptation strikes when we least expect it, often when we’re doing well and our guard is down.

The Lord was with Joseph in Egypt, and “he succeeded in everything he did” (Genesis 39:2). Potiphar could see “that   the LORD was with Joseph” (39:3), so he “didn’t worry about a thing” (39:6).

Observation: Uninvited Appeal, Untrue Accusation

The Lord was faithful to Joseph (Genesis 39:2–3), but how would Joseph hold up under pressure? Would he prove faithful to God under an extreme test of character?

How does the author set the scene for Joseph’s test in Genesis 39:6?

According to Genesis 39:7, what secret sin led to Potiphar’s wife propositioning Joseph?

According to Genesis 39:8–9, when Joseph refused Potiphar’s wife, what reasons did he give? Whom would the act offend?

According to Genesis 39:10, what did Joseph do when Potiphar’s wife kept “putting pressure” on him?    What strategy for maintaining moral purity was Joseph modelling?

When circumstances in Genesis 39:11–12 intensified the pressure on Joseph to sin? What action did he take as the only recourse?

Joseph passed the test! However, instead of a commendation, what “reward” did Joseph receive for keeping himself pure, according to Genesis 39:13–20?

What phrases in Genesis 39:21–23 does the author repeat from Genesis 39:1–6 that reveal a central theme?

Interpretation: Staying Pure in a Foreign Land

What strategies from Joseph’s example can you list for handling temptation and staying sexually pure in a morally decaying society?

Joseph did what was right, but he was wrongly treated. What principle was Moses, the author of Genesis, communicating about the  realities of living in a fallen world?

Correlation: What Happens When We’re Tempted?

Read James 1:14–15. What is the source of all temptation, whether we are tempted by material possessions, personal power, or  physical pleasure?

According to James 1:14, what are the two components of temptation?

According to James 1:15, what are the consequences of temptation once it leads to sin?

Joseph doused temptation’s fire by focusing his desires on God and His righteousness. Joseph saw sin as a misuse of what God created as good and an offense against those Joseph cared about. In addition, he feared the deadly consequences of sin and wanted nothing to do with it. So, he ran, modelling what Paul counselled centuries later: “Flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace” (2 Timothy 2:22 NASB1995).

Application: Three “Must Not” Principles

What lessons from Joseph’s example shine like stars to guide us in our morally dark world? Pastor Chuck offers three key principles to resisting temptation.

1. We must not be deceived by persuasion

What enticements does the temptress of our culture whisper  in our ears? Recognize them for what they are: pathways to destruction and heartache. We need to train ourselves to recognize the falsehoods in these deceptive messages.

2. We must not be gentle with our emotions

Joseph didn’t give himself time to consider his feelings. He acted swiftly. Temptation must be doused immediately, no smouldering allowed.

3. We must not be confused by the immediate results

Resisting temptation once doesn’t banish it forever.   Like Potiphar’s wife, it comes around again even when we try to avoid it. So be on guard.

Look back over the principles from this study. What strategies do you find most helpful for you? What current situations in your life will these principles   prove most helpful?

A Final Prayer

Father, thank You for being with me when I’m tempted to sin. When I struggle to be faithful to You, Your faithfulness towards me never dims. As You promised, give me strength to resist temptation. Help me see beyond my sin, that I might desire only You and Your ways and the sweetness of the good gifts You offer. In  Jesus’ name, amen.

Go to to download the full-length Searching the Scripture Study and listen to Pastor Chuck’s message.