How does sin entrap someone and hold them captive? See Proverbs 5:21-23:

[Pro 5:22-23 CSB] 22 A wicked man's iniquities will trap him; he will become tangled in the ropes of his own sin. 23 He will die because there is no discipline, and be lost because of his great stupidity.

  • This is too broad a question. The way it is asked, it is not about the text of scripture. It would have been helpful to actually quote the text, but we had to look it up for ourselves. And to ask 'how does sin trap us' the question turns it into something personal, rather than being an hermeneutical consideration.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 13, 2018 at 19:30
  • Addiction (to various pleasant yet sinful activities) constitutes a possible interpretation.
    – Lucian
    Nov 17, 2018 at 13:38
  • Have you never had to overcome sin? When you are living in sin, it takes great strength to overcome them. You might stop for a time but when the time comes to decide to put them off forever, that is the moment whether you either overcome or fall back into the bonds of sin.
    – GFFG
    Apr 13, 2019 at 1:46

1 Answer 1


Here are the verses (Proverbs 5:22-23 NIV) for anyone who may be reading this in the future so they don't need to open up a new tab.

22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. 23 For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.

In essence, sin holds those who sin captive by providing immediate gratification or satisfaction in this life. Here are some verses that support that point of view.

3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. 7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits. 8 They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance, they threaten oppression. 9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. 10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. 11 They say, “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?” 12This is what the wicked are like— always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.Psalm 73:3-12 NIV

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:25b NIV

"They spend their days in prosperity, And suddenly they go down to Sheol. Job 21:13

From these verses, it certainly looks like the righteous don't gain anything from being righteous and that the wicked prosper, leading many astray. Wickedness then becomes a cycle of gratification, where we see our desires fulfilled and participate in more wickedness to again fulfill our sinful desires, even to the point of encouraging others to join in. In the New Testament, Jesus speaks on this cycle and calls it slavery.

“Truly, truly, I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:34-36 NIV

In James, James speaks about this slavery to sin (friend of the world) that it must be substituted by

7 [submitting] yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:7-8 NIV

Yet, we can see that "by his stripes we are healed" and freed from our bondage to sin through the aforementioned verses. So through the belief in Jesus and submission to God, we can thereby resist the devil, throw off the shackles of sin, and become a permanent member in the family of God.

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