What to Teach About Satan

Written by Janet Denison
Published on October 27, 2015

I remember seeing The Omen when I was in college. My theologian fiancé had to write a paper about the biblical position of the movie and asked me to go with him to watch it. Big mistake! I didn’t sleep well for days. Years later I read a couple of novels by Frank Peretti and lost sleep again! Most of the information we have about Satan comes to us from fictional sources, and those authors usually have wonderful imaginations.

Chances are, your child will learn about Satan’s existence from a movie, television show, or a child at school. Hollywood has some interesting versions of Satan and his demons and very seldom reflects a biblical point of view. Sunday school teachers often prefer to avoid the discussion as well. Some parents would probably appreciate the lesson more than others.

My favorite quote on the subject of Satan comes from C. S. Lewis in the preface to his book titled Screwtape Letters. He wrote: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is the disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” I think that is a great perspective for parents as well.

At some point, your children will ask you about the devil and it will be good if you have a few answers ready to go. Here are some thoughts to consider about Satan from Scripture:

  • Satan and demons are real. Luke 11:14-23 describes Jesus casting out a demon. The Pharisees accused Jesus of working for Beelzebub, another name for Satan. Jesus explains that if that were true, he wouldn’t be casting the demon out of the person. Children need to know that if Jesus believed in Satan and his demons, and worked to save people from them, then we should believe Jesus. Satan and demons are real, but Jesus has power over them.
  • Satan wants to tempt us to disobey God. The story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 and the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert from Matthew 4 teach this truth. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Satan doesn’t want people to be devoted to Christ, so he tempts us to want different things than what Jesus wants for us.
  • Satan doesn’t seem evil all of the time. Satan likes to trick people into thinking he and his ideas are good. Paul wrote, “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Sometimes good people can have bad ideas. Sometimes people can look or sound like they are good, but if their words and actions don’t agree with the Bible, then we can know their ideas are not from God.
  • Jesus has a wonderful plan to bless our lives, and Satan doesn’t want us to have those blessings. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). We should lead lives that God can bless which means we need to ignore the things that Satan would suggest.
  • We are safe when we trust in Jesus. The devil cannot trick us or lead us to do wrong things if we are obeying what Jesus told us to do. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). “ Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The book of Revelation tells about a fight between God and the devil. Guess who wins!
  • The best way to fight the devil is to wear the armor of God. Ephesians 6 tells us about how to protect our lives from anything that Satan might bring our way. The armor of God is a fun thing for children to learn about and will be a great reminder to them that they can be safe.

Verses like 1 Peter 5:8 can be frightening to a child and to parents who are raising children as well. Peter wrote, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” I’m reminded again of the wisdom from C. S. Lewis. There are two mistakes we can make teaching our children about Satan. We can teach them that Satan doesn’t exist, but that makes it easy for Satan to attack. The other mistake is to teach them that Satan is like that lion and cause them to fear his attacks more than they should. Christians are like Daniel in the lion’s den. Even lions are no problem for our great God. We just need to put on our armor and stand behind Jesus. No lion can get past him!


Photo on Flickr.

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Janet Denison

Janet Denison teaches others to live an authentic faith through her writing, speaking, and teaching ministry. She blogs weekly at Foundationswithjanet.org and often at ChristianParenting.org.

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