What Are Trials and Tribulations? Bible Verses and Meaning Today

The phrase “trials and tribulations” refers to the challenges we endure in life that test our faith, love, hope, and more.

nature view of man at sunset on grass outdoors

The phrase “trials and tribulations” refers to the challenges we endure in life that test our faith, love, hope, and more.

Definition of Trials and Tribulations

Trials and tribulations can be simply defined as "difficult experiences, problems, etc" as does Merriam-Webster. In a secular context, they are plainly bad things or times that we endure.

However, within the Christian meaning, trials and tribulations are more than just hardship. In trials of unfortunate circumstances, our faith is tested and our devotion to Christ can grow from this suffering. As Paul's epistle to Romans says, "we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance..." (Romans 5)

Similar to the judicial "trials" of courts, in our personal trials and tribulations, the authenticity of our trust in God is revealed, and we are often found guilty of lacking in faith. Use these moments of revelation into your heart as an opportunity to humbly see the love of Christ. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)

Read some of the most popular Bible verses about tribulation, suffering, and steadfast faith in the collection of scriptures below!

Bible Verses about Trials and Tribulations

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

1 Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Romans 5:3-6
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 

Romans 8:18
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Trials and Tribulations Today

In the modern world, we face trials that are novel to mankind (technological) and tribulations that have been present since Adam and Eve (temptations of pride).

While there are many new challenges in the post-modern age we now live in, the essence of suffering remains the same, a separation from God. Distractions from God have existed since the fall of Adam and Eve, only now more technologically advanced. It has been said that the psychological sufferings of Christians today will parallel the physical trials of early Christian martyrs.

We are bombarded with trivial entertainment, constant advertising, and anxiety-fueled news programming through our phones and televisions. We must guard our hearts and minds against such worldly obstructions from faith and remain constant in prayer. "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)

Thankfully, often in our trials and tribulations, we recalibrate our priorities and treasures of the heart to seek the transcendent love of God. In our suffering in this world, we hopefully look to the eternal life given by Christ who saves us from sin and death. God calls us all to repentance and to rejoin Him in communion as faithful Christians, but sometimes hard times are the only way we'll get the message.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

Read more - Prayers for Strength: God Give Me Strength

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/kieferpix