Can the devil
read our MINDS?
Q. We were recently talking about the devil in one of our Wednesday night Bible classes and the topic of whether the devil had the power to read our thoughts (like God does) or not came up. What does the Bible teach on this?
A. Jesus could read the minds of others:
"Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.' At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, 'This fellow is blaspheming!'
"KNOWING THEIR THOUGHTS, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? . . ." (Matthew 9:1-4, NIV throughout)
"An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, KNOWING THEIR THOUGHTS, took a little child and had him stand beside him . . . " (Luke 9:46-47)
Humans, in spite of the claims by some, do not and cannot read the minds of other people. However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. " (1Corinthians 2:9-11)
The word of God judges our thoughts and attitudes. Every thought we have is clearly seen by God:
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:12-13)
Satan knows HOW humans think and he knows the weakness of human beings. This is how he's able to tempt us. The devil, and any human who is not truly converted, have much in common when it comes to thinking. Jesus referred to this commonality of thinking when he rebuked Peter (who was not yet fully converted) at a moment when the devil was influencing him to think and say certain things:
"From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
"Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 'NEVER, LORD!' he said. 'THIS SHALL NEVER HAPPEN TO YOU!'
"Jesus turned and 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.' ” (Matthew 16:21-23)
The devil does not know our innermost thoughts and cannot read our minds, otherwise, he would not have wasted his time tempting Job (Job 1:6-12), or even Jesus when he was on the earth (Matthew 4:1-11). The devil certainly does have the power to deceive those who do not follow God:
"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." (Revelation 12:9)
Satan was brought under the power and authority of Jesus when He died for our sins and established His Kingdom and His church. Satan no longer has power over us and by this we can be sure that he cannot read our thoughts.
Written by: Clay Willis
edited by BibleStudy.org