Demons in the Bible

Compiled by The BibleStudyTools Staff on 02/19/2021

What are the references to Demons in the Bible? Demons in the Bible can refer to the forces of evil in the world as well as the devil himself. We are continually warned throughout scripture to be wary of demonic forces attempting to corrupt and influence. While many of the demons we must look out for are external, the Bible also reminds us we may have demons living within our own psyche that need to recognized and expelled. According to the Bible, demons are involved in multiple activities.

  • They are organized under Satan in hierarchical levels known as rulers, authorities, powers, and spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:10-12).
  • Demons have the ability to “demonize” people. This is what the Bible identifies as demon possessed although the exact phrase, “demonic possession,” is never actually used in Scripture. People can be demonized which is another term for demonic possession (Luke 8:30).
  • Many believe that about one-third of the angels joined in rebellion with Satan against God Almighty. These fallen angels are what the Bible refers to as demons. The Bible never says that the number was actually one-third. However, that number has been speculated by many for a variety of reasons (Isaiah 14:12-15; and 2 Peter 2:4-10).
  • Demons are able to take shape, form and be visible to humans (Job 4:15).
  • Demons may be exercised, or driven out, from a possessed person. However, this may be dangerous if not followed by stringent cleaning and discipleship. Without proper spiritual care, the person might then be open for a seven-fold infestation (Matthew 12:45).
  • Demons confuse the truth by utilizing demonic lies and half-truths (1 John 4:4).
  • Those who worship idols and pagan gods are really worshipping and sacrificing to demons. Demons live to deceive people into worshipping themselves (1 Corinthans 10:20-21).
  • The Bible teaches that demons can inhabit animals (Matthew 8:31).
  • During the time of the great tribulation, demons, who since the fall, have been imprisoned in the lowest level of hell, are released to wreck incredible pain and torture upon those who are not Christians (2 Peter 2:4-5, Revelation 9:1-7).
  • Demons will eventually be chained along with Satan in the lowest level of hell, often called the “Abyss”, where they will be tortured for eternity (Revelation 20:10).
  • God has given us every too necessary to stand against Satan and win. The best weapon we have in consistently defeating Satan is effective and constant discipleship.

    Used with permission from Do Demons Still Exist Today by Dr. Roger Barrier

    Photo credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Gun2becontinued

19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
Resist the Devil
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
15 A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end.
6 Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.
7 They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.’
2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;
30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him.
11 Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;
45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.
21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.
Ephesians 6:12
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.
44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.
45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.
9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”
14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?”
16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.
1 John 4:4
1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;
5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;
6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless
8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—
9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.
10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;
1 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.
2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.
3 And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth.
4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
5 They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes.
6 During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
7 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces.