Question:

Below I copy and pasted from a web site with their beliefs on Satan and I emphasized the part that disturbs me. I was wondering what your thoughts on it are. To respect Satan is to exalt him and evil and is woefully contrary to God's word, in my opinion. Is there a passage in the Bible that says to respect him?

We believe there is a personal being called the Devil, Lucifer, the Evil One, and a number of other names in Scripture. He apparently is the highest created (Ezek. 28:14-15) being who, because of pride, sought equality with God (Isa. 14:13-14). He was removed from his lofty position and now functions as the greatest and most powerful enemy of God (Job). He blinds the eyes of unbelieving men (2 Cor. 4:4), offers temptation to sin (1 Cor. 10:13), and causes confusion and destruction in God's orderly creation. Demon spirits are fallen angels which do the bidding of Satan always opposing God. We are assured as believers that we have no need to fear personal bodily harm (1 John 4:4) but we are instructed to respect Satan and his angels because of his position, power and craftiness. While the Scriptures reveal some information about the activities of the demonic world, in dealing with this menace they only give simple instructions to resist, avoid and not practice evil. Any attempt to describe the practices, habits and operations of Satan and his demons based on personal experiences will lead believers away from their dependence on the Lord and His Word.


Answer:

I suspect that this is a case of poor wording on the part of the authors. It is a bit ironic since this particular group insists that they are being personally led by the Holy Spirit separate from the Word of God. The authors of the Bible who were truly inspired by the Spirit did not make mistakes like this.

When you see statements like this that strike you as odd, the first thing to do is examine the references given. The only reference in this statement is "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (I John 4:4). The statement says nothing about respecting Satan, so we look to see if there is a passage that says this that might have been overlooked. What I find is:

  • ""Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27).
  • "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11).
  • "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
  • "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (I Peter 5:8-9).

Always we are commanded to do battle against Satan. We should never expect to be immune to Satan's schemes. The danger Satan brings is real and ever present, requiring constant vigilance on our part. "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12).

I'm guessing the authors were trying to say that a person must keep the danger of Satan in mind, but chose the wrong word because "respect" does carry the meaning of admiration, which doesn't match the Christian's view of the archenemy of God.