God's Word For You is a free Bible Study site committed to bringing you studies firmly grounded in the Bible – the Word of God. Holding a reformed, conservative, evangelical perspective this site affirms that God has provided in Jesus Christ his eternal Son, a way of salvation in which we can live in his presence guilt free, acquitted and at peace.



Copyright © Rosemary Bardsley 2002


In this study we will at who or what 'the evil one' is from whom we are praying to be delivered. In the next study we will look at what 'deliver us' means, then in two further studies we will look at ways in which God delivers us.


Bible teachers and translators raise the question what is the correct meaning here? Should we understand it to mean 'deliver us from evil' or 'deliver us from the evil one'? The Greek word for both is identical in these two forms. In the context both make grammatical and theological sense.

What are the meanings:

  1. 'evil' would mean all that is evil - whether evil actions or evil people or evil circumstances.
  2. the 'evil one' means the devil, who is the author of all evil actions, the prime mover of all evil people, and the instigator (of at least some) evil circumstances.

It would seem that we should perhaps hold both options to be true, and to run with a comprehensive, all-inclusive understanding of Christ's meaning here, for the two go hand in hand.


Who is the evil one from whom we are praying to be delivered?

[1] He is the original tempter: Genesis 3:1-4, Revelation 12:9

Here we see Satan, under the guise of the serpent, putting before Eve the temptation to do what God had forbidden. [See also Matthew 4 and Luke 4, where Jesus was 'tempted' by the devil.]

[2] He is the original deceiver: Genesis 3:1-4.

In the references in Worksheet 10 we see deception in action by the evil one and his servants in a number of situations. There you will find that the evil one's deception is aimed to make us:

  1. worship false gods
  2. listen to and believe the messages, visions and dreams of false prophets
  3. be impacted by false miracles
  4. believe false Christs
  5. believe lies
  6. believe sin is okay
  7. lead us away from God and the truth - 'astray'.
Go to Worksheet 10 to check out these Biblical references.

In addition to all of that there is also an aspect of deception in which we are deluded that God will let unrepentant sinners into heaven, or that it is okay to sin, or that we have no sin. This is perhaps the ultimate deception: that a man is convinced that he is acceptable to God and going to heaven when in reality he is not:

1 Cor 3:18

Do not deceive yourselves. ... [See also 15:33]

1Cor 6:9,10

Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers not male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows ...

James 1:22,26

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says ... If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

1 John 1:8

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

[3] He is the original sinner, and promotes sin and ignorance of God (darkness):

Read the following texts and think about their meaning under the heading of the evil one as the one who promotes sin and ignorance of God:

Matt 23:16,17,19,


... you blind guides ... (compare Matthew 15:13-14; John 9:40)

Luke 22:53

But this is your hour - when darkness reigns.

John 8:44

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning ...

Acts 26:17,18

I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God ...

Romans 1:21

... their foolish hearts were darkened ...

2 Cor 3:14

... but their minds were blinded ...

2 Cor 4:4

The God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Ephesians 4:18

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them ...

Ephesians 6:12

... our struggle is ... against ... the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Colossians 1:13

God ... has rescued us from the dominion of darkness ... (Compare John 8:12; 12:46; 1 Thess. 5:4,5; 1 Peter 2:9)

1 John 2:11

Whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

1 John 3:8

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning ...

1 John 3:12

Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.

[4] He is the destroyer

These references identify Satan as the one who destroys:

Luke 4:35

The demon threw the man down ...

Luke 8:12

The devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved

Luke 9:42

The demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion

Luke 22:31

Satan has asked to sift you as wheat

2 Cor 12:7

There was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me ..

Hebrews 2:14

... him who holds the power of death - that is the devil

1 Peter 5:8

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Revelation 9:11

They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abbaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon (both = 'Destroyer').

[5] He is the accuser [the Greek word diabolos which is translated 'devil', means 'slanderer', 'accuser', 'defamer'.]

Genesis 3:1,5

'Did God really say ... ' 'For God knows ... '

Job 1:9

Does Job fear God for nothing? ... stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.

Job 2:4

Skin for skin! A man will give all he has for his own life. Stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.

Revelation 12:10

... the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, ...

You have probably discovered already that one of Satan's primary tactics with Christians is to accuse - in such a way that he succeeds in taking our minds off the complete salvation we have in Christ and making us focus on our own short-comings, sins and failures, so that if we are not careful we end up wallowing in our own guilt rather than rejoicing in the unmerited salvation and forgiveness we have in Christ.

[6] He is the manipulator of men

The following texts demonstrate this:

1 Chron 21:1

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel,

Matthew 16:23

Jesus said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.'

John 13:2

... the devil prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus ...

John 13:27

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him

Acts 5:3

Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit ...

2 Cor 2:10/11

I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us ...

Revelation 13:2

The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority ... men worshipped the dragon because he had given the beast authority ...

[7] He is the one who oppresses, ensnares, and enslaves

Luke 13:16

... a daughter of Abraham whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years ...

Acts 10:38

... healing all who were under the power of the devil ...

1 Timothy 3:7

... so that he will not fall into the devil's trap ...

2 Timothy 2:26

... and escape the trap of the devil who has taken them captive to do his will

[8] He is the enemy of God and God's people

Matt 13:(28), 39

... the enemy who sows them is the devil

Luke 10:19

... to overcome all the power of the enemy ...

Acts 13:10

You are a child of the devil and an enemy of all that is right!

Ephesians 6:12

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Colossians 2:15

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Revelation 12:17

Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring - those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

Revelation 13:5-7

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them ...

[9] He is the ruler of this world

John 12:31

' ... now the prince of this world will be driven out ... '

John 14:30

' ... the prince of this world is coming ... '

Acts 26:18

' and turn them ... from the power to Satan to God'

2 Cor 4:4

'the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers ... '

Ephesians 2:2

'you followed the ways ... of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient'

Colossians 1:13

'he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness'

1 John 5:19

We know ... that the whole world is under the control of the evil one

That the evil one is the 'ruler of his world' does not mean that he and God are equal powers, or that his power in this world is greater than the power of God. There is no question in the Bible that God is the one who is Lord of all the earth and of everything that is in it. The descriptions of the evil one as 'ruler', 'prince' and so on are relative only, and are valid only because in Genesis 3 we humans changed our allegiance from the one true Lord of all the earth and gave it to him who aspires to that unattainable position.

When we pray 'deliver us from the evil one' we are asking our Father to snatch us away from all that is listed in these nine points. Again, as we have seen in earlier phrases of the Lord's Prayer, this is a massive prayer.


What is the 'evil' from which we are praying to be delivered? It is all that results from the power, work and suggestions of 'the evil one', and all that is in line with, and contributes to, his purpose and his persistent opposition to God, as listed above. This includes

[1] all moral sin;

[2] the ultimate sin of rejection of God and any form or level of rebellion against God.

[3] all that is listed above as being the work of the evil one, or resulting from the work of the evil one.

  • All that the devil tempts us to do, including the provocation to give up our faith
  • Everything that is geared to deceive us in any of the ways listed under B. [2] above
  • Everything that promotes sin
  • Everything that promotes ignorance of God and his truth
  • Everything that belongs to spiritual darkness
  • All that is destructive
  • All accusations made with a view to discrediting and condemning
  • All of the devil's manipulative schemes and tricks
  • All of the ways in which the devil would oppress us, robbing us of our joy and peace in Christ
  • All of the traps the devil would set for us
  • All enslavement to sin, to the devil and to his purposes
  • All that the devil would do to us as the enemy of God and his people.

[4] all that will be no more after the final judgement day, those things that are here only as the result of the entry of sin and suffering onto earth at the devil's instigation in Genesis 3:

  • imperfection (1 Corinthians 13:10; 1 John 3:1,2)
  • anti-God dominion, power and authority (1 Corinthians 15:24)
  • death (1 Corinthians 15:26)
  • weakness and mortality (1 Corinthians 15:40, 52-55)
  • hunger, thirst, tears (Rev 7:16,17)
  • death (Rev 20:14)
  • tears, death or mourning or crying or pain (Rev 21:4)
  • impurity, shamefulness or deception (Rev 21:27)
  • curse (Rev 22:3)
  • darkness (Rev 22:5)

With all of this in mind, how much we need to pray this prayer 'deliver us from the evil one'!

In Study Eleven we will look at that this prayer to 'deliver us' means.