A painting by Josef Untersberger of Jesus depicted as the good shepherd. He is knocking at a door while holding a lamb, with twelve sheep at his side.

Bible Verse that Says God Will Never Give Us More Than We Can Handle

Over the past thirteen years, I have learned that some things will always remain a constant fact of life: taxes, the overwhelming loudness of toxic members of my fandoms, and the fact that the most overwhelmingly popular way for people to end up on this site via a search engine is by searching for “god never gives us more than we can handle” or “god doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”

I can’t imagine that there aren’t many websites which address that phrase better than I ever could, but if you’ve reached this point, it’s because according to your search results and your choices made regarding them, there aren’t. I’m glad to have you here!

But… There is no such Bible verse! Disappointed?

I hope not.

But if you are? Look, I get it. You hear the phrase a lot, such as when things are getting rough in life. “Cheer up, sister. God isn’t going to give you more than you can handle.” It’s repeated so often by so many people that it not only rings true in the ears of Christians but seems like it could easily be a paraphrased Bible verse.

On the contrary, the phrase has become a platitude, a Christian meme which lacks in both substance and originality.

And on top of that, it doesn’t reflect what the Bible teaches about Christian living.

Considering Stephen

The Book of Acts tells of Stephen, “full of grace and power,” who “did great wonders and signs among the people.”1 Despite being so highly regarded by God, he was stoned to death for his trouble.2 I really like what Stephen did as he was being killed — he cried out to God, pleading with him to not hold the act against his attackers. Flash forward 2,000 years later, and we find certain stripes of Christian justifying, if not celebrating, the punishment of undocumented immigrants because to them, the misdemeanor of illegally entering the United States is more important than anything else. Where is the grace of Stephen?

Anyway, I digress. Stephen, a man approved of God, was given more than he could handle, literally. The man died because he was a faithful servant of God. He didn’t live his life according to empty platitudes, but according to a message which was vile to his hearers.

Just prior to his death, Stephen looked and saw Jesus standing at God’s right hand.

This may sound crass, but not only will God not give you more than you can handle, he’s going to sit by and watch as you are broken by what you are given.

From an outside perspective, that is monstrous. I can’t fathom having the ability to help someone who is most assuredly going to die but choosing instead to stand idly by as the last breath leaves their lungs.

However, from a Christian — or more specifically, a biblical — perspective, the situation fits with Jesus’ call for those who would follow him to deny themselves, taking up their own cross.3 The cross isn’t a minor inconvenience or a tchotchke to be displayed on a shelf, wall, or necklace; no, the cross is a tool of death. Brutal. Merciless.

Wondering what the Bible says about not being given more than you could handle is a distraction from everything Jesus taught. Nowhere are his followers told to give incrementally until that point that you think enough’s enough and then you can stop. Nowhere in the New Testament is it imagined that a Christian would love a cushy middle class life in suburbia, full of sweet tea, weed, and air conditioning with no sign of spiritual acts, let alone spiritual suffering.

If your biggest worries are how you’re going to pay the bills, you have forgotten what Jesus told you about not worrying about your clothes, your food, your basic needs — that if you focus instead on seeking the kingdom of God, he would provide for your needs.4

That seems to be the reward for living a life which is going to drive those around you away, just as it did Stephen. Fortunately, most people today aren’t likely to martyr you — let’s take a moment to be grateful that despite religion surviving into the twenty-first century, it has been tempered by humanism.

If you’re really curious what happens when God gives you too much, I recommend reading John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs or even dc Talk’s modern follow-up Jesus Freaks. Understand that if you’re not living your life in such a way that it is in constant threat of being killed, if the worst thing you have to put up with is an atheist from work who posts pro-choice and content friendly toward “the gays” on their Facebook page, please, please recognize that you are living Christianity on easy mode.

It isn’t a stretch to say that God wants you to take upon yourself more than you can handle — sacrificing more so that others don’t go without, giving up friends and family for the sake of God’s kingdom, etc. Can you really be said to be “taking up your cross” otherwise?

If you are a Christian, you are emphatically called to live a life of suffering; then and only then could it ever be said of you in any meaningful way that your life, like Stephen’s, is “full of grace and power.”

However, if you instead choose a life with the freedom to pursue your own interests — such as anime, video games, sex, rock and roll, nature conservancy, politics, macro insect photography, or any other pastime which doesn’t fit the Bible’s ascetic vision of Christian living — then I encourage you to try humanism, wherein you retain the freedom to do good, but you no longer have the pressure to do so under any sort of eternal threat. After all, if you’re not going to do the Christian thing whole hog, it is better that you just not do it at all!5

Wait, Maybe You Really Just Wanted a Bible Verse…

Okay, maybe you really just wanted the closest possible verse to “God will never give you more than you can handle” and all this commentary has just been a waste of time.

You’re looking for 1 Corinthians 10:13, and here it is from a variety of Bible versions as a reward for sticking around this long!

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

New King James Version

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

King James Version

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

New American Standard Bible

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

New International Version

No temptation has taken you but such as is according to man’s nature; and God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able to bear, but will with the temptation make the issue also, so that ye should be able to bear it.

Darby’s Translation

No temptation hath taken you–except human; and God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able, but He will make, with the temptation, also the outlet, for your being able to bear it.

Young’s Literal Translation

No temptation has taken you except that which is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow that you be tempted beyond what you are able, but will, with the temptation, also make the way out, that you may be able to endure it.

Recovery Version

What Do You Think?

You most likely ended up here because of something you searched for; did this satisfy your curiosity? Do you still believe that God will protect you from too great a burden? Share your thoughts and experiences below, and as always, don’t forget to like and share this post to broaden the conversation!

Featured image: The Good Shepherd by Josef Untersberger.

This post was originally published on 2006-09-06. It has been updated for republication. Comments below may reflect the original version of this content.

  1. Acts 6:8, Recovery Version.
  2. Acts 7:54–60.
  3. Luke 9:23.
  4. Matthew 6.
  5. Revelation 3:15–16.

31 thoughts on “Bible Verse that Says God Will Never Give Us More Than We Can Handle

  1. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Ben: I guess it depends on what one expects as an escape. The temptation in question is certainly temptation to sin, and we know from James 1:13 that the Lord is never the source of such temptations. (Okay, that isn’t really pertinent to the question you asked, but I wanted to include it in the original post but forgot, so I’m sneaking it in here.)

    We also know from 2 Peter 3:9 that the Lord knows how to deliver the godly from temptations, which because the Lord is all-wise is rather obvious. And lastly, we’re instructed to pray in such a manner as asking to not be led into temptation in the first place (Matthew 6:13).

    But when we do face temptation, what can we do? Circumstances may not always allow us to flee, as Joseph did from Potiphar’s wife. If there is always an escape, what is it? You mentioned having to bear through the temptation, and the verse (1 Cor. 10:13) does mention that. The idea of escape and endurance is joined together, though. God provides a means of escape so that we may endure it. I probably should have touched on that more above. God does not promise a blink-of-an-eye, poof-and-you’re-elsewhere escape from sin, but rather the escape He provides involves enabling us to bear through the temptation, to face it without giving into it.

    I would suppose Jesus epitomized this when He resisted temptation thrice in the wilderness. His escape which allowed Him to bear through each of them was the word of God.

    I could also see the giving of more faith, the granting of wisdom, and other such things as gifts from God during times of temptation which would allow us to bear through them.

    And I’m a little bit in awe that you’re so high in MSN’s results list for Su Do Ku! With the popularity of that puzzle, such a ranking in the search engines is quite a feat. :)

  2. Ben Gray says:

    Heh. This is a good idea. Now I just need to respond to all those searches coming in from MSN for Su Do Ku. I would disagree on one minor point though, unless I’m exegeting this verse incorrectly (and frankly, that’s very possible) it seems to me that Paul is saying that there will always be a way to bear through the temptation, not that there will always be a way out. I say that to emphasize that sometimes there’s not a way out or a way of escape and we’re forced for one reason or another to bear through the temptation. Again, I don’t know that I’m 100% correct. What do you think?

  3. Kurt says:

    I don’t have allot to say, but i came across this site after a Google search for “bible verse never give up”. Before you ask, do a Google image search for “Never Give Up”, and you will find a great picture of a frog chocking a water bird trying to it him. Very amusing.
    And so I’m kind of on topic, Through God we can resist temptation, but remember, its not God who puts as through sitchuations we cant handle. He gives us strength to handle the sitchuatoin when we’re in trouble, if we accept His guidents. Not sure if that made sense…did to me.
    Kurt

  4. katherine fedorchenko says:

    I came upon this webpage while I was searching for the verse in the Bible which says that things will not always be this way. I was not successful in finding that verse, however I found this page most inspiring. Maybe you could be kind enough to locate that verse I was trying to find? Thanks :)

  5. Dawn says:

    A key verse, found in Romans 8:37 states “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
    The answer to ‘how’ is THROUGH HIM. If you don’t have faith in Jesus Christ, then understanding how to handle trials is probably not going to make sense. When individual’s have faith only in themselves, answers and comfort fall short. Man cannot handle life sucessfully without Faith in Jesus Christ the Son, the only person God and human.

    • Rick Beckman says:
      Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

      You’re really suggesting that all non-Christians are maladjusted, unable to handle the things life throws at them?

      Perhaps that’s why if there’s someone complaining about circumstances on my Facebook feed, their religion is most often set to “Christian” or some variety thereof.
      Perhaps that’s why since I’ve accepted atheism, I’ve found it easier to be joyful, without all the baggage of wondering about circumstances and how they fit into a god’s plan.

      Sure, the Bible makes it seem like a life apart from God (whatever his name is) isn’t really worth living, but that’s not at all how life plays out in the real world.

    • Rick Beckman says:
      Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

      You’re welcome. Curiously enough, this is the most popular post on this site by a huge margin. It’s amazing how many people search Google for this stuff.

  6. Kyle Latchaw says:

    I have been writing a paper on the subject of sin and the acts of Free Will. What a topic let me tell you. I was using the internet to find verses ( I know just use a concordance) and yours popped up and was a great help. Thank You.

  7. LK says:

    “Sure, the Bible makes it seem like a life apart from God (whatever his name is) isn’t really worth living, but that’s not at all how life plays out in the real world.”

    The real world as in the life we lead here on Earth? This is not the “real world.” This is not the end. It is what happens after our time here on Earth. This is but a blink of an eye. In the end is our beginning.

    I think we are all given an escape out of circumstances of temptation we think we cannot handle. He gives us that, but whether we choose to utilize the escape route is up to us. The closer you become to God, I think the easier it is to know which path to take, and to trust and stand by the decisions you’ve made.

  8. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    LK — This is very much the “real world”; it’s the only world we’ve got, the only one we’ll experience. (If there is something after this life, there is no evidence of it, and thus no reason to live this life in anticipation of it.)

    Unless you’ve proven the existence of another dimension wherein our consciousnesses take up residence after our bodies die, then you have embraced superstition and are very likely missing out on the joys and experiences which this one life affords us.

  9. Tribo says:
    A spiritual traveler into the heights of Carmel. …

    I’m searching for the exact Bible passage, but it seems there is none. So, does this mean that such a passage is but an interpretation of people on 1 Corinthians 10:13?

    So, the Bible really did not say that God would not give us challenges that we cannot handle. That is just sad.

  10. Gabrielle says:

    Unfortunately, there is no where in the Bible that says God will never gives us more than we can handle. It would be very comforting if it did, but it doesn’t. Although, even though you said, “That is just sad,” I don’t know why you say that because Romans 6:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ”
    Therefore, even if God does give you more than you can handle, He will always be with you (Hebrews 13:5) especially in the hard times (Psalm 23:4).
    So don’t worry about facing hard times alone. By the way, a little bit of Bible trivia: Did you know that God directly says “Do not [be afraid/fear] 365 times? He really means it and He will stand by you.

  11. Ed says:

    “If there is something after this life, there is no evidence of it, and thus no reason to live this life in anticipation of it.”
    Rick, it’s called FAITH…Christians don’t need EVIDENCE. I will pray that God will change your heart before you leave this earth.

  12. DP says:

    It takes a lot more faith to believe there is no god and there is plenty of evidence in the truth of that.
    This life is real. His joy, blessings and grace abound in it. And it is but a vapor in “time”. The life beyond is even more real as it will last forever. Our choices in this life will carry consequences in the next.
    We are all made up of flesh, soul and spirit. We have to begin to understand that before the next revelation can be understood.

  13. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Tribo: That interpretation seems more likely. And it isn’t really sad that God doesn’t promise that, unless religion is meant as a guarantee that believers will never face true challenges. There are plenty of sayings in the Bible which do exist, however, which are far sadder.

    Gabrielle: The Bible often says “fear not” in reference to God himself; however, Jesus says to fear he who can destroy both body and soul. Also, God didn’t really give anybody true reason not to fear him; he had a reputation for striking people dead for some really pathetic reasons.

    Ed: Believing something is so does not make it so. Your statement carries no more or less weight than my saying that i have faith that there is an invisible, weight-less, non-corporeal, scent-free dragon standing outside your door at all times. I don’t need evidence of it; after all, i have faith.

    Faith is not a magic wand which makes things exist. Demand evidence.

    DP: It takes no more faith to be an atheist than it does to believe that there is not an invisible pink unicorn floating somewhere between here & Venus. The acceptance of a god’s existence ought to be subject to the same scientific rigor as the existence of, for example, germs. Until the point that there is real evidence for a god, there’s no reason to believe in one, especially to the point of devoting significant amounts of time to such a belief.

    “We are all made up of flesh, soul and spirit.” Prove it.

    • Rick Beckman says:
      Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

      Simple: The context of that passage is to Israel. There’s no reason to pluck God’s promises to Israel out of context to apply them to Christians.

  14. Dave says:

    Nice article. I hope the next one is about the verse that says god never closes a door without opening a window.

  15. KP 2 says:

    First off – this is a quote from Mother Teresa. It was meant more of humor with a religious overtone. “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” Quote Mother Teresa. Since I’m not catholic, I’m not worthy of the statement she was making. However, God gave me independence and freedom of choice. I choose to be a believer in Christ and accept both extremes, Catholics and athiests. In the end, we will all come together and meet together next to God. Rick, as much as you want me to prove God to you, I want you to prove to me there is no God. Faith is a belief, not an absolute. You call yourself an athiest, but you seem very concerned about proving a non existence of God. It seems to me, you could be second guessing your belief and searching for facts. However, your claims are based on faith (or lack of faith) just as belivers and followers of God. Neither you or I need to prove our belief of reality. Whatever gives you comfort and support was given to you by God. A Gift from God through the Holy Sipirt. In our end, most people tend to ask for help and forgiveness. We all have sinned or hurt other people in some way. Before we leave we want to rectify our wrong doings and make peace to be sure we leave on innocent terms. I pray you find your answers and establish your relationship with your creator God. Thanks for your interest in the truth.

    • Rick Beckman says:
      Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

      I’m not out to prove there is no God — that’s an impossibility. However, if you want to claim there is a God, then the burden of proof is upon you. No one is expected to prove, for instance, that unicorns do not exist; however, the moment someone wants to believe in them, they are the ones that are required to prove their case.

      Ditto UFOs, Bigfoot, psychics, and so on. The burden of proof lies upon the one making the claim, not upon the skeptics. So if you want others to believe in God or (even more extreme) dedicating their lives to God, then it is your responsibility to provide proof to support your claims.

      If you’re interested in truth, step back from the propaganda (the Bible) and deal with hard evidence. You’ll quickly find that there is none for the existence of the God of the Bible or any other god for that matter.

      • Koos says:

        Mat 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
        Mat 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
        Mat 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
        Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
        Mat 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
        Mat 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
        Mat 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
        Mat 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
        Mat 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
        Mat 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
        Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
        Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
        Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
        Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

        All this have happened or is happening now. Islam is considered to be the largest religion and the fastest growing currently. In moderate muslim states, Christians are allowed, but may not prozelyte. In Islamic states, christians are arrested because they are christians, mocked and sometimes tortured (interesting that Roman Catholic/communist states, hindus and buddhists also do this – hated by the world, said Yeshua) and in many cases killed. The war in Nigeria is because islam does not allow a christian government to rule over muslims. You want physical real-life proof of biblical prophesy? Follow the world news and compare to what Yeshua said about the coming end times. You doubt Revelation 13? Food is the one substance no man can go without. Islam demands all food be halaal to be sold. No man shall be able to buy food without the halaal mark.
        Or what about cashless society? Credit and debit cards are all over the place, there are even places that refuse any other form of payment than electronic. My girlfriend’s son used to work at a major bank. He said they were shown the microchip to be implanted, amazingly small, it can actually be injected with a botox (for the vain). Cheque books are not issued anymore and paper currency is on the way out. Guess what? the chip works optimally in the right hand and the forehead. As the apostle John was shown nearly two thousand years ago.

        Don’t live for now. This might be your final warning. Yeshua was very right with His statement concerning the End of the World. Hopefully you still have time to repent.

  16. dawners says:

    Proof that God exists is all around us in our beings, nature and the universe….also the written history contained in the Bible. If you want proof that God does or does not exist, then just ask God to prove it to you…and He will….He’s done it for many people throughout history…..BUT….He he knows when or if that person actually “cares or wants” to really know the truth. If you can handle the Truth, God will show it to you. Many people spew that there is no God as what they are really saying is “I don’t want the obligation or responsibility to be accountable to a God”. They do not even believe themselves rather they just don’t want to be expected to put in “effort” into their own salvation. It is laziness and foolishness at its peak.

    I have met many a fool and many a denier simply because they are afraid of personal, moral and ethical accountability for themselves. I will not waste my time presenting an argument for the obvious, rather, would challenge you to do your homework yourself. Get honest with yourself and don’t expect your confusion, denial or apathy to be a point of so-called “debate”.

    If you are LOST…..please work at finding your own way home. Thank you :)

  17. dawners says:

    PS > God will always give us more than we can handle so that we KNOW we need Him. May the peace of Jesus Christ be with You all.

    • Rick Beckman says:
      Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

      Yep, 1 Corinthians 10:13 was quoted half a dozen times in the post.

  18. Offor Chibueze Valentine says:

    There is a GOD. Believe it or not. If you want proof, then ask yourself why you are existing today? What is the force behind human existence? To me, that force is God. I’d love to know the opinions of the atheists on this one.

  19. Nick says:

    There is a clear distinction between “not” being given too much to “handle” and “not being given too much “temptation”. A simple understanding of the english language propounds this, without even a search into the Greek root words used by Paul.

    It clearly states he will not gives us too much “temptation”. God is not the author of confusion. If he authorized Satan to initiate more “temptation” then we could handle, then what good was the Sacrifice of our Lord? It would nullify it, as our allegiance to God would be a moot point, because then it would indicate that not even the power of the Blood and the whispers of the holy Spirit could help us.

    The scripture does *not* say that God will not put before us more than we can handle. In fact the scriptures affirm that it “rains on the just and the unjust”. Things happen. Thats one of the many reasons why we need God. If nothing in life happened that was more than we could handle then what need would we have of God?

    • Nick says:

      An additional note

      In proverbs it is made mention that one of the most ignorant questions that can be asked is “Why would God allow this to happen….”

      Anyone who is having a hard time in life – i would suggest reading the book of Job and his story.

      I ahve had my fair share of storms on my life. When i look back, especially in those days before the wool had been removed from my eyes, in most cases it is clear that i essentially asked for those hard times due to my disobedience to God.

      A staple scripture for me in this area due to the significant amount of hard ship i have endured – “We know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans.” [Romans 8:28] Look at Job. He lost his children, wife, home, animals – his entire livelihood. To ask “why did this happen expresses upmost ignorance of the truthful situation.” Did the children, wife, animals, home… did they belong to Job or was he a Steward for those things which belonged to God? A slow read will reveal that his family had given themselves over to idolatry and excessive partying, etc. God didnt “remove” them from Job to hurt him, but to help him. He then blessed him two fold? with more family, home, and livestock.

      It all boils down to obedience and disobedience. Strive to “be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect” and leave the rest to God.

      Was at a funeral not too long ago… so many were stating “why God, why” – and their ignorance was displayed and their affinity for worship of the dead was revealed. Instead of raising their heads to the Father and thanking Him for the time they had with the individual, instead they blame God and yearn for the return of the dead.

      “let the [spiritually] dead bury the [physical] dead”

      Christianity isnt a “do this” and “do that mentality”. It is a “renewing of the mind” where the will of the Father becomes your greatest desire…..

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