Jesus Christ



15. I have often heard that Jesus said that we must be crafty as snakes; could you tell me where in the Bible this statement of Jesus is written?



Nowhere, for Jesus never said such a thing. Jesus said that we must be wise as serpents, as it is written: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16), which means that we must be cautious, prudent, careful, which is completely different from being crafty!

To affirm that Jesus said that we must be crafty means to make Jesus say that we believers must act cunningly like the old serpent, that is, the devil. For it is the devil who acts cunningly, as it is written that he “deceived Eve by his craftiness” (2 Corinthians 11:3 – NKJV. The NIV reads “Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning”), and consequently his children also act cunningly; we have a clear example of this in the Bible when we read that the scribes and the chief priests (who, according to the words of Jesus Christ, were children of the devil) “watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's. And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace” (Luke 20:20-26). With regard to the same incident, Matthew says: “But Jesus perceived their wickedness and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?” (Matthew 22:18). Therefore, cunning or craftiness is a form of wickedness.

Those who spread false doctrines use craftiness in order to make people accept them, for Paul says to the Ephesians: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:11-14). The immoral woman has “a crafty heart” (Proverbs 7:10 - NKJV). Have you understood that we believers must not be crafty?

The apostles did not act cunningly toward people, for Paul says: “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:1-2). Let us follow their steps and we will prosper.

If anyone thinks that the saints must be crafty, let him keep in mind that God “taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (1 Corinthians 3:19) and that “He disappointeth [frustrates] the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise” (Job 5:12).