Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul called Elymas, the sorcerer, “a child of the devil.” From time to time, a teacher can have such a person in their Bible study class. Perhaps you have been teaching and a member of your class or visitor has interrupted and said something like, “Let me be the devil’s advocate here and ask (or say) . . .” I learned a long time ago to never be the devil’s advocate in any situation or for any reason. If I sincerely want to know an answer to a question or problem I have in a class, I will ask the one teaching without being “the devil’s advocate.” Sometimes people want to be “the devil’s advocate” to create an opportunity for further discussion and will say they are being “the devil’s advocate” when they make a statement or ask a question. How do you think such a person should be answered or what should they be told?
On the other hand, we must also face the fact that from time to time we will have a real devil’s advocate in our class (perhaps a longtime member or a visitor), who may not even know they are one. A true or pretend devil’s advocate will do as Elymas did. They will try to turn others away from the faith (see Acts 13:8). They may try to turn people away from belief in Jesus as the Son of God or faith in the Bible as the word of God. They will sow seeds of doubt in a variety of ways. In some sense they are an: “enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, who will not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord” (see Acts 13:10). When this happens, as teachers or as members in a class, we need to pray for the Holy Spirit to help us know what to do or what to say, so we can do it or say it. We can pray for words and actions that might help the person come to believe, even as the Holy Spirit gave Elymas an opportunity to repent with only temporary (not permanent) physical blindness. Can you think of other responses to someone who gives every indication that they may be or are a child of the devil?
May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!CLICK HERE To Go to the International Bible Lesson Commentary and International Bible Lesson for additional Uniform Sunday School Lesson Series Resources.
For the love of God's Word,