Does the Bible Say That Charm Is Deceitful?

Contributing Writer
Does the Bible Say That Charm Is Deceitful?

We have all experienced deception in life. Charm can draw us in, tell us what we want to hear, and then blindside us. God is very clear about his opinion on someone being charming. He says that charm is deceitful. How do we combat a world full of deception and stay level in the truth of Christ? The Lord guides us by His Spirit and through His Word to have discernment and a strong foundation in Him in the midst of the uncertainties.

What Does "Charm Is Deceitful" Mean?

This phrase comes from the English Standard Version of Proverbs 31:30: "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

Charm is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “compelling attractiveness, a trait that fascinates, allures, or delights.” In fact, there is a worldly definition describing how charm is used in a term of “entrancing" or “casting a spell.” In other words, charm is the power that someone possesses over another by means of attractiveness or persuasion. 

The first instance of deceptive charm happened at the start of the world in Genesis 3. The serpent in the Garden of Eden was very charming. In fact, the Bible says that he was crafty. (Genesis 3:1) The serpent appealed to the woman and was calculated in his approach.

1. He Posed a Twisted Question: Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” Charm entices us by twisting the truth and adding or taking away from the word of God.

2. He Contradicted God: "You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die” (Genesis 3:3). Charm is self-focused. Charm draws you in and puffs up. Charm can lead someone to doubt the Lord.

3. He Tried to Present Something Better Than God: You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). The serpent told a lie and then made up what the woman wanted to hear. Charm tells us lies that we want to hear, not truths that we need to hear.

1 Timothy 2:14 says, “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”

Charm is deceitful means that someone can appear to have your best interest in mind, but they are actually tricking you to get what they want. I think of a situation of a young woman in college who meets a charming young man who wants to sleep with her before marriage. He might tell her that she is beautiful and he loves her and entices her to be with him physically; however, his charm is leading her into sin and regret. Charm can also be telling that friend you’ll be there to make her happy, but not actually showing up. Charm is often flattery. Charm could be flirting with someone else who is married. Watch out, charm is deceitful. It promises what it cannot deliver. Charm is a great liar. Christ-followers need to beware.

What Is the Context of Proverbs 31:30?

The writer of Proverbs 31 is unknown. However, many speculate that it was Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba. The context is advice about the type of woman her son should look for when he marries. After the list of many positive attributes to look for in a wife, verse 30 is a warning. When we think about charm, many times it can tie into attractiveness and sexuality. A worldly woman will lure a man to sin with her. She can charm her way into his heart and trap him. I think about the many times in Scripture when the people of God were warned not to intermarry with unbelievers. Every single time it caused division and pain. It led to idolatry and consequences. The fact that God warns us from charm, means that He knows our tendency towards it.

Although this chapter is very useful to any man looking for a godly wife, it is also used to encourage women of the Lord. This chapter not only includes the warning in verse 30, in fact, but most of it is also an encouragement to the wonderful qualities of women who serve God. The number of adjectives and jobs that are described can at first glance appear overwhelming. However, the intent is not to discourage women, but to applaud them in their efforts to live lives surrendered to God.

Lysa Terkeurst from Crosswalk shares, “In Jewish culture, these verses are read out loud on the Sabbath as a celebration over the women.” She goes on to share that this was not belittling, but this was encouraging the women for their individual purposes. Lysa says that it can be a lot of pressure to read Proverbs 31, however, the heart behind it is to motivate women that no matter what season, a woman who fears God is to be celebrated.

Why Is "Charm is Deceitful" Such a Countercultural Idea?

Our culture loves charm. Everything is about the appeal and the presentation. Thinking about how people dress or what they post online, reminds us that the world cares about being charming and popular. God, however, cares about the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Especially in western culture, we care about excess. People charm us and products entice us. We see something and we want it. I even think about Christmas coming up. It is a wonderful holiday and such a great time of year; however, the commercials and ads starting to come out tell us what we “need” to get this holiday. Those “must-have” Christmas pajamas are on sale. The newest car model is coming out for a Christmas special. If we are not careful, materialism can quickly take over. The culture says charm is the way to get what you, the Bible says, charm is deceitful above all things.

Ed Jarrett from Christianity.com shares that beauty is overemphasized in the culture. Today and businesses spend billions of dollars on the cosmetic industry. He shares how God tells us in 1 Timothy 4:8 that physical efforts have value, but the spiritual life of a Christ-follower has greater eternal benefit.

We need to not only be careful about falling into the trap of charm but also not deceiving others ourselves. Our flesh will be tempted to charm others to get what we want. Ultimately charm can be defined as manipulation. How common of a struggle is this for humanity, especially us as women? We see it from the beginning with Eve giving the fruit to her husband. Our flesh will want to manipulate, but the Holy Spirit can help us to surrender to His control in all things. God has so much more for us than our schemes. We do not need charm to get what we want; ultimately, we want Jesus and just need to go to Him authentically.

Betsy St. Amant Haddox from Crosswalk shares that verse 30 emphasizes that the godly woman is not so much about what she is doing, but Who she is living for each day. No matter what career, relationship status, etc. A woman who puts Jesus first is living out Proverbs 31:30. Her focus is not on her own charm or beauty, but on her Savior. 

How Do We Teach the Church That Charm Is Deceitful?

It is our job to share the truth of Scriptures like Proverbs 31:30. We as Christians share the messages of the Lord, but ultimately the Holy Spirit works in another’s life. We should present this truth of the Bible and warn fellow believers about the deception in this world, then we entrust that the same Holy Spirit lives in them and will guide them.

We can teach this by Scriptures and especially stories of people in the Bible who struggled with charm such as Solomon, Sampson, Eve, etc.

We can share personal testimonies of times when we ourselves have been deceived and what we learned from it.

We can create accountability to help each other avoid temptation.

We can set an example with our choices and pray for one another. If we see a loved one following the charm of this world, we are called to talk with them in love and encourage them out of it.

We all fall short and make poor choices at times, so as the body of believers, a major role is speaking truth kindly to each other and spurring each other on in faith. May we not be fooled by the charm of sin but fear the Lord instead.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Vagengeym_Elena

Emma DanzeyEmma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, inspiring young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew for over two years and mom to baby Graham. Drew and Emma serve with Upstate CRU college ministry in South Carolina. Emma is an avid writer for Salem Web Network and provides articles on the Bible, life questions, and on the Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 viewed article on Crosswalk for the year 2021. All the glory to the Lord! She had the joy of hosting Her Many Hats podcast where she explored the many roles that women play while serving One God. Most recently, Emma has released her first Bible Study Book, Wildflower: Blooming Through Singleness.

Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Emma also had the privilege of having been a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com and check out her Bible Study videos on Instagram @Emmadanzey.


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