Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.New Living Translation
For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
English Standard Version
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Berean Study Bible
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out his desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
Berean Literal Bible
You are of your father the devil, and you desire to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he might speak falsehood, he speaks from the own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.
New American Standard Bible
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
King James Bible
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.
International Standard Version
You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and has never stood for truth, since there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
New Heart English Bible
You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and its father.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“You are from your father The Devil, and the desire of your father you are willing to do; from the beginning he has been murdering men and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him; whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from what is his, because he is of falsehood and is also its father.”
GOD’S WORD® Translation
You come from your father, the devil, and you desire to do what your father wants you to do. The devil was a murderer from the beginning. He has never been truthful. He doesn’t know what the truth is. Whenever he tells a lie, he’s doing what comes naturally to him. He’s a liar and the father of lies.
New American Standard 1977
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.
Jubilee Bible 2000
Ye are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father ye desire to do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it.
King James 2000 Bible
You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version
You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American Standard Version
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and standeth not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.
Darby Bible Translation
Ye are of the devil, as [your] father, and ye desire to do the lusts of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks falsehood, he speaks of what is his own; for he is a liar and its father:
English Revised Version
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.
Webster’s Bible Translation
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Weymouth New Testament
The father whose sons you are is the Devil; and you desire to do what gives him pleasure. *He* was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand firm in the truth–for there is no truth in him. Whenever he utters his lie, he utters it out of his own store; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.
World English Bible
You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn’t stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and its father.
Young’s Literal Translation
‘Ye are of a father — the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do; he was a man-slayer from the beginning, and in the truth he hath not stood, because there is no truth in him; when one may speak the falsehood, of his own he speaketh, because he is a liar — also his father.
The Children of the Devil
…43Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you are unable to accept My message. 44You belong to your father, thedevil, and you want to carry out his desires. Hewas a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth inhim. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the fatherof lies. 45But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me!…
The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!2 Chronicles 18:21
“He said, ‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and prevail also. Go and do so.’
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
For this people’s heart has grown callous; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them.’
The field is the world, and the good seed represents the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,
Jesus answered them, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”
If anyone desires to do His will, he will know whether My teaching is from God or whether I speak on My own.
I speak of what I have seen in the presence of the Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
You are doing the works of your father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they answered. “Our only Father is God Himself.”
You do not know Him, but I know Him. If I said I did not know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word.
Treasury of Scripture
You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
John 8:38,41 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do that which …
John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your …
Matthew 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; …
Acts 13:10 And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, you child of the …
1 John 3:8-10,12 He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the …
Genesis 3:3-7 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, …
1 Kings 22:22 And the LORD said to him, With which? And he said, I will go forth, …
1 Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
James 4:1-7 From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even …
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring …
Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil …
Revelation 9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless …
Revelation 13:6-8 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his …
Revelation 20:7-9 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out …
2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down …
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their …
Genesis 3:4,5 And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die…
2 Chronicles 18:20-22 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, …
Job 1:11 But put forth your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will …
Job 2:4-6 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yes, all that …
Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to …
Acts 13:10 And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, you child of the …
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through …
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves …
2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power …
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, …
Revelation 13:14 And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles …
Revelation 20:2,3,10 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, …
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, …
Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, …
(44) Ye are of your father the devil.–“Ye” is emphatic. “Ye who have claimed Abraham and God as your father. Ye are of the father, but that father is the devil.” The possessive pronoun (your) is not expressed in the Greek, and the form of the sentence is one which would have required it if it were included in the sense. The father who has been referred to in John 8:38; John 8:41 is now definitely named. The relation between father and son is maintained, but the father of the thoughts and acts of those to whom He speaks was not God, not Abraham, but the devil.And the lusts of your father ye will do.–Better, ye desire to do, ye will to do. The verb is not an auxiliary, as it appears to be in our version, but expresses the determination of the will. (Comp. Notes on John 5:40; John 7:17.)
He was a murderer from the beginning.–Comp. Wisdom Of Solomon 2:23-24, “For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of His own eternity. Nevertheless, through envy of the devil came death into the world, and they that do hold of his side do find it.” So St. Paul, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12). The Fall was the murder of the human race; and it is in reference to this, of which the fratricide in the first family was a signal result, that the Tempter is called a murderer from the beginning (see Note on John 1:1). “Cain was of that wicked one, and slew his brother.” (Comp. Notes on 1John 3:8-12, where the thought is expanded.) The reference to the murderer is suggested here by the fact that the Jews had been seeking to kill our Lord (John 8:40). They are true to the nature which their father had from the beginning.
And abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.–Better, and standeth not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. The word is not that which we have before had in the sense of “abide” (see Note on John 5:38), and the tense of the verb is present in meaning. The words do not refer to the fall of the devil, which is here implied but not stated, but to his constant character. He has no place in the sphere of the truth; it is not the region of his action and outer life; and the result of this is that there is no truth in the sphere of his thought and inner life. Had he been true, he would have come to stand in the light and life of truth.
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own.–This is in contrast to the work of Christ (John 8:28; John 8:40) and to the work of the Holy Spirit (Note on John 16:13.) The Holy Spirit will not speak of Himself; He came to speak the truth which He heard from God. The devil speaketh a lie (comp. Genesis 3), and this is of his own (see Note on Matthew 12:35).
For he is a liar, and the father of it.–Better, and the father of the liar. This is probably the meaning of the Greek, and it can only be expressed in English by the repetition of the substantive. The verse ends as it begins, by a reference to the Jews whom He is addressing. They were of the nature of him whose spiritual children they were. The murderous thoughts in their hearts, and their non-receptivity of truth, plainly indicated who their father was.
The reader will hardly, perhaps, need to be cautioned against the old heretical rendering of the first and last clauses of this verse, by “Ye are of the father of the devil . . . for he is a liar, and also his father.” Still, as this view has been revived in some quarters in our own day, one word of reminder that it is no less opposed to the context and the teaching of this Gospel than it is to the whole tenor of Biblical truth and of rational theology, may not be misplaced. On the personality of the devil, which, if plain words have any meaning, is here implied in the words of Christ, see Notes on Matthew 4.
Verse 44. – Ye are of the father who is the devil. In this way the great bulk of the best commentators translate this difficult clause, Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, and Davidson translate, “You are of the father of the devil;” and suggest that here the evangelist betrays his fierce Gnostic (Ophite) antagonism to the Jews, and adopts the view that the God of the Old Testament, the “Creator,” was the Father of the serpent. This is surely untenable. The Creator of all things, in the prologue, is none other than the Father acting through the Logos. In the third, fourth, and fifth chapters, the greatest honours are ascribed to the God of the Jewish people, and not the faintest hint given of such radical divergence from the standpoint of Judaism. In this very passage the father of the faithful Jews is spoken of with profound reverence. “The second-century Gnostic” must have so cleverly concealed his sentiments, and have refuted his position so frequently, that it is inexcusably inept for him to have shown his cloven foot on this occasion. Thoma ignores the wild conjecture of Hilgenfeld. Our Lord was not dealing with the parentage of the devil, but with the moral and religious parentage of those Jews who were manifesting the most bitter antagonism to himself and plotting his destruction. For them to claim spiritual kinship and childlike feeling to the Father whose holy nature and whose love to them he was revealing, was a strange contradiction in terms. Our Lord repudiated it in this terrible language. He had worsted the seductive suggestions of the devil, and when he saw and heard them repeated and set forth as Divine proposals, he gave them their true name. “You disclaim the faintest sympathy with other gods; you resent the bar sinister on your escutcheon; you say that religiously as well as historically you are not born of any fornication – there is no taint in your theological position; but I tell you plainly that you are from, you are manifesting the very essence and substance of, the father who is the prime enemy of God and man. The phrase is in perfect keeping with many synoptic phrases (Matthew 13:38; Matthew 23:15; cf. John the Baptist’s language, Matthew 3:7). And the lusts of your father – those of falsehood and murder, lying and slaughter, being the top and chief of all his evil passions – ye are willing, desirous to do. He has engendered these very lusts within you. The paternity of your angry passions, your incapacity to see and accept my word, are both alike explained. There is no more terrible rebuke in the whole compass of revelation. The disciple whom Jesus loved, in preserving these words, shows very decidedly that he was a “Son of Thunder,” and calls down fire from heaven (a very storm) which has been ever since descending upon the heads of these and all other bitter antagonists of the Son of man. He was a murderer(literally, a manslayer) from the beginning. This has often been referred to the spirit which animated Cain in the slaughter of his brother Abel. There is some corroboration of such a reference in 1 John 3:12, “Cain was ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ of that wicked one, and slew his brother;” and in the language of 1 John 3:15, “Whoso hateth his brother is a murderer.” (So Lucke, Reuss, De Wette, and others.) But the narrative of the death of Abel makes no reference to the agency of the devil, but rather indicates that the sin of Cain was originated by his having been begotten in the image of the fallen Adam. The better interpretation and reference of the words may be seen in 1 John 3:8, “He that doeth sin is from the devil (ἐκ τοῦ διαβόλου), for the devil sinneth from the beginning (ἀπ ἀρχῆς).” And sin entered into the world through the seduction and false statements of the devil, by which the first man was veritably slain, his moral nature killed outright. Grace was not shut out, but Adam died. In the day that he ate of the forbidden tree, man most surely and in the deepest sense died. “God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity. Nevertheless, through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of its side do find it” (Wisd. 2:23, 24; Revelation 12:9); “Sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12). The work of destruction at the beginning of humanity upon earth has never been exhausted. In murderous propensity, in lying and seductive words and ways, the children of wrath are ever showing their parentage. To this statement our Lord added what has by many been regarded as a distinct revelation of the fall of Satan himself from the condition of rectitude (cf. Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4). He stands not; continues not – in the truth (ἕστηκεν in the perfect is the better reading, and demands this translation; the rendering of the Vulgate, stetit, favoured by Augustine, and involving a reference to the fall of the devil, would have required εἱστήκει, pluperfect). Jesus (lid not, therefore, explicitly assert anything with reference to the act of original revolt of the devil, but declared that the devil has no place in truth; he restlessly resists, throwing a hopeless, perilous glamour of falsehood round all he touches. Schaff suggests, rightly, that the combination of this statement with that of the prologue (John 1:3) presupposesthe fall of this mighty and murderous spirit from a previous condition of rectitude, and the dictum of our Lord ought never to have been charged with the admission of an eternal principle of evil. The fall of the lost angels is not explicitly stated. Because there is no truth in him. The absence of the article before “truth” shows that in the previous clause the objective truth is meant, that the reality of things as known by him is referred to. The truth was that region or sphere of action in which he elected not to stand, and, as a matter of fact, does not stand nor find place. By “truth” is meant subjective truth or “truthfulness,” the spirit which repudiates falsehood in all its forms and manifestations. There is no consistency with himself, no inward harmony with reality. This is given as reason why the devil stands not in the truth. Whensoever hespeaketh a lie, he speaketh (λαλεῖ) from (ἐκ, out of) his own resources – from what is most entirely his own, revealing the depth of his truthless, loveless, fatal, godless nature. Schaff quotes from Gothe’s ‘Faust’ the account which Mephistopheles gives of his own being. Here it is in Kegan Paul’s translation –
“I am the spirit, who aye deny!
And rightly so; for everything
Is only good for perishing;
So better ’twere that nought had been,
And, therefore, all that you call sin
Ruin, whate’er with evil’s rife
Is my true element of life.” Gothe exactly expressed the ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων by “mein eigentliches element.” Because he is a liar, and the father of the liar. This translation makes the αὐτοῦ refer to τεύστης, which is the most natural antecedent (so Bengel, Meyer, Lange, Godet, etc.), notwithstanding the difficulty of the construction. This language asserts not only the agelong proof which history gives of the falsehood of this terrible personality, but declares that he exerts an evil paternity in the life of every liar. “Brood of vipers” is a phrase used by John Baptist and Christ himself when addressing Pharisees. The well known imagery of the first promise, “I will put enmity between her seed and thy seed,” etc., suggests the same thought. There is an awful significance in this power of the devil to sow his deadly seed in human life, and to produce thus, on the soil of human nature, “children of the wicked one” (cf. Paul’s language, Acts 13:10, addressed to Elymas, υἱὲ διαβόλου, “son of the devil”). Another translation makes αὐτοῦ refer to ψεῦδος: He is a liar, and the father of falsehood, or thereof (Revised Version); thus drawing an abstract out of the concrete ψεύστης, or possibly referring to the first he which slew the spiritual life of men – to the “Ye shall not surely die” of Genesis 3:4. It is against this view that our Lord is here dealing with persons rather than with abstractions. Westcott and Moulton and Revised Version in margin have given indefiniteness to the subject of the verb λαλῇ, and translate, “Whensoever one [or, ‘a man’] speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for his father also is a liar;” the idea being that the evil inheritance from the father of lies has even made falsehood the essential element, the proprium, of the liar. This, however, appears to involve a very complicated thought. The ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων, if strictly spoken, contradicts the idea of the liar’s peculiarities being the result of inheritance. Still less satisfactory is the vain endeavour of the Gnostics, who found here a second reference to the father of the devil. They discovered in some Italic Versions, and in the usage of some of the Fathers, καθὼς καί, in place of καὶ, and so took it to mean, “he is a liar, as also his father.” Higenfeld and Volkmar have fastened upon this text also, and thus found further proof of Gnostic (Ophite) heresy in the Gospel. Riggenbach and Godet have remarked that, if the father of the devil was spoken of in the previous clause, “his father” would mean “the father of the father of the devil”! We have already seen how groundless such a charge against the Gospel is, and how such a rendering would throw the entire context into confusion. If we accept the first translation, we find that our Lord announces a doctrine concerning the devil, and conveys more information than can be obtained from any other source. This is not mere accommodation to the consciousness of a daemoniac or the prejudices of the Jews, as some have interpreted Christ’s language in the synoptic Gospels, but it is distinct dogmatic teaching about the personality, character, and method of the devil.
Ye are of your father the devil,…. Not of his substance, but by imitation and example; and as being under his authority and influence, his instructions and directions, and ready to follow after him, and obey his commands; the word “your” is rightly supplied, and is in some copies:
and the lusts of your father ye will do; the Syriac and Persic versions read in the singular number, “the lust”, or “desire of your father”; by which may be particularly meant, his eager desire after the death of Christ, which he showed at different times; he instigated Herod to seek to destroy his life in his infancy, and when he was just entering on his public ministry, he tempted him to destroy himself; and often stirred up the Scribes and Pharisees, to stone him or kill him, some other way; and at last put it into the heart of one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, to betray him: this looks as if though the devil had a notion of the salvation of men by Christ, yet that he thought, as some erroneous men have also done, that it was only by his doctrine and example, and therefore he was in haste to get him out of the world, that he might not be useful, or any more so that way; and not by the shedding of his blood, the sacrifice of himself, or by his sufferings and death, in the room of sinners; or otherwise it is scarcely credible, that he would have sought his death so earnestly: now this selfsame lust and insatiable desire after the death of Christ prevailed in the Jews; and they were resolute and bent upon fulfilling it at any rate, nor could anything divert them from it; this is the thing Christ is speaking of in the context, and is what fully proved the devil to be their father, and them to be his children:
he was a murderer from the beginning; he was not only spoken of from the beginning, as he that should bruise the Messiah’s heel, or should compass his death, but he was actually a murderer of Adam and Eve, and of all their posterity, by tempting them to sin, which brought death and ruin upon them; and who quickly after that instigated Cain to slay his brother; and has had, more or less, a concern in all murders committed since; and has been in all ages, and still is, a murderer of the souls of men; and therefore is rightly called Abaddon, and Apollyon, which signify the destroyer: the phrase, “from the beginning”, does not intend the beginning of his own creation; for he was created a holy creature, was in the truth, though he abode not in it; and was in an happy state, though he lost it: nor strictly the beginning of time, or of the creation of the world, which were some days at least before the fall of man, when the devil commenced a murderer; but it being very near it, therefore this phrase is made use of: the Syriac version renders it, “from Bereshith”, which is the first word in the Hebrew Bible, and is frequently used by the Jewish Rabbins for the six days of the creation; and if Adam fell, as some think, the same day he was created, it might be properly said that the devil was a murderer from thence. Philo (p) speaks of Eve’s serpent, as , “a murderer of man”; applying to this purpose the text before referred to, Genesis 3:15;
and abode not in the truth; neither in the integrity, innocence, and holiness, in which he was created; nor in veracity, or as a creature of veracity, but spake lies, and formed one, by which he deceived Eve, saying, “ye shall not surely die”, Genesis 3:4, when God had said they should, Genesis 2:17; nor in the truth of the Gospel, which was at least in part made known unto him; particularly that the Son of God should become man, and in that nature be the head of angels and men: this he and his associates, in the pride of their hearts, not bearing that the human nature should be exalted above that of theirs, left their first estate, broke off their allegiance to God, and turned rebels against him:
because there is no truth in him; not that this is a reason why he continued not in the truth, for there was originally truth in him; though he abode not in it; but a reason, showing there was none in him now, since he was fallen from it, and abode not in it; there is no truth in him, that is natural and genuine, and essential to him; and if at any time he speaks it, it is not from his heart, but because he is forced to it, or has an evil design in it:
when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; that is genuine and natural, of his own devising, willing, and approving:
for he is a liar, and the father of it; he was a liar, as early as he was a murderer, or rather earlier; it was with a lie he deceived, and so murdered our first parents, and he has continued so ever since; he was the first author of a lie; the first lie that ever was told, was told by him; he was the first inventor of one; he was the first of that trade; in this sense the word “father” is used, Genesis 4:20; so the serpent is by the Cabalistic Jews (q) called, the lip of lie, or the lying lip.
(p) De Agricultura, p. 203. (q) Lex. Cabalist. p. 724.
44. Ye are of your father the devil—”This is one of the most decisive testimonies to the objective (outward) personality of the devil. It is quite impossible to suppose an accommodation to Jewish views, or a metaphorical form of speech, in so solemn an assertion as this” [Alford].
the lusts of your father—his impure, malignant, ungodly propensities, inclinations, desires.
ye will do—are willing to do; not of any blind necessity of nature, but of pure natural inclination.
He was a murderer from the beginning—The reference is not to Cain (as Locke, De Wette, Alford, etc.), but to Adam [Grotius, Calvin, Meyer, Luthardt, etc.]. The death of the human race, in its widest sense, is ascribed to the murderous seducer of our race.
and abode not in the truth—As, strictly speaking, the word means “abideth,” it has been denied that the fall of Satan from a former holy state is here expressed [Locke, etc.], and some superior interpreters think it only implied [Olshausen, etc.]. But though the form of the thought is present—not past—this is to express the important idea, that his whole character and activity are just a continual aberration from his own original truth or rectitude; and thus his fall is not only the implied basis of the thought, but part of the statement itself, properly interpreted and brought out.
no truth in him—void of all that holy, transparent rectitude which, as His creature, he originally possessed.
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own—perhaps his own resources, treasures (Mt 12:35) [Alford]. (The word is plural). It means that he has no temptation to it from without; it is purely self-begotten, springing from a nature which is nothing but obliquity.
the father of it—that is, of lying: all the falsehood in the world owes its existence to him. What a verse is this! It holds up the devil (1) as the murderer of the human race; but as this is meant here in the more profound sense of spiritual death, it holds him up, (2) as the spiritual parent of this fallen human family, communicating to his offspring his own evil passions and universal obliquity, and stimulating these into active exercise. But as there is “a stronger than he,” who comes upon him and overcomes him (Lu 11:21, 22), it is only such as “love the darkness,” who are addressed as children of the devil (Mt 13:38; 1Jo 3:8-10).
8:41-47 Satan prompts men to excesses by which they murder themselves and others, while what he puts into the mind tends to ruin men’s souls. He is the great promoter of falsehood of every kind. He is a liar, all his temptations are carried on by his calling evil good, and good evil, and promising freedom in sin. He is the author of all lies; whom liars resemble and obey, with whom all liars shall have their portion for ever. The special lusts of the devil are spiritual wickedness, the lusts of the mind, and corrupt reasonings, pride and envy, wrath and malice, enmity to good, and enticing others to evil. By the truth, here understand the revealed will of God as to the salvation of men by Jesus Christ, the truth Christ was now preaching, and which the Jews opposed.
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Question: “What does it mean that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44)?”
Answer: Speaking to a group of Jews, Jesus says, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Satan is the “father of lies” in that he is the original liar. He is the “father” of lies in the same way that Martin Luther is the “father” of the Reformation and Robert Goddard is the “father” of modern rocketry. Satan told the first lie in recorded history to Eve, in the Garden of Eden. After planting seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind with a question (Genesis 3:1), he directly contradicts God’s Word by telling her, “You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4). With that lie, Satan led Eve to her death; Adam followed, and so have we all.
Lying is Satan’s primary weapon against God’s children. He uses the tactic of deceit to separate people from their heavenly Father. Some of his more common lies are “there is no God,” “God doesn’t care about you,” “the Bible cannot be trusted,” and “your good works will get you into heaven.” The apostle Paul tells us that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), so that what he says and does sounds good and seems reasonable. But it is nothing more than a false appearance.
Many of Satan’s lies tend to perpetuate themselves. This is what happened when Eve convinced Adam to also believe the devil’s lie. Today, Satan still uses people to spread his lies for him. Often, he uses charismatic but foolish people to further his falsehoods, as in the case of false religions and cults.
The Bible has many names for Satan to describe his true nature, including “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5), “deceiver” (Revelation 12:9), “Beelzebub” (literally, “lord of the flies,” the ruler of demons, in Matthew 10:25), and “Belial,” meaning “wicked” (2 Corinthians 6:15).
Satan has told more lies to more people (and even angels) than any other being ever created. His success depends on people believing his lies. He has used everything from “little white lies” to huge, pants-on-fire whoppers to deceive folks. Adolph Hitler, a man who learned how to lie effectively, once said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
Whether a lie is small or large is not really the issue. Lies are of the devil. If you’ve lied even once, then, unless you repent, you will not enter heaven. The Bible teaches that all liars “will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Proverbs 19:9 also teaches that anyone who lies will be punished.
Avoid this fate by obeying Mark 1:15: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), and He will never deceive you. Those who come to Jesus in faith will find that “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Recommended Resource: God’s Devil: The Incredible Story of How Satan’s Rebellion Serves God’s Purposes by Erwin Lutzer
How is Satan the father of lies (John 8:44)?The description of Satan as the “father of lies” comes from a passage in the gospel of John. Jesus was addressing a group of religious leaders in Israel, who were accusing him of being from Satan. He responded by telling them that they were liars, and that proved that they, not He, were of the Devil. Jesus said: “When he (Satan) lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44c). He also told the group of accusers that they were the children of the Devil because they were spreading lies about Him and refusing to see the truth. So, Satan is not only the father of lies, but of those who suppress the truth.
From the beginning, Satan has been a liar. He told his first lies to Eve, to deceive her and draw her away from God (Genesis 3:1, 4). He was the first liar, which makes him “the father of lies” in the same way that Hippocrates is the father of modern medicine. He was the first to think “I’m going to say the opposite of what is true” and to carry out that action. God speaks the truth and Satan says the opposite, and man is confused. Ever since the garden of Eden, this has been happening. Satan uses the world system to disseminate his lies (1 John 5:19), and the lies are always growing in number and complexity.
We know that God speaks the truth—the apostle John said, “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6). John was drawing a distinction between the teachings of Jesus’ apostles and the contradictory teachings which were leading people astray. John and the other apostles suffered greatly, dedicating their lives to the truth. The majority of them died horrible deaths rather than deny the truth about Jesus—His life, His death, His return to life, and the way of salvation for all men through His resurrection (John 3:16). John was saying “We are speaking the truth. Anybody who says the opposite is a liar.”
This is how Satan operates: he takes God’s truth and twists or contradicts it so that people are led away from Him. God is love (1 John 4:7–8). But Satan says “how can a loving God allow so much suffering?” God says Jesus is the only way to heaven (John 14:6). Satan says “a good person of any belief system can get there.” Jesus spoke of everlasting torment for those who reject Him (Matthew 25:46). But Satan says “there’s no hell.” God claims to exist, and to be a personal Being that interacts with us (Hebrews 11:6). But Satan says “God is dead.”
Unfortunately, since we are finite and fallen, we are susceptible to these lies. So, Satan continues to use them, and rehash even the original lie he told (“Did God really say…?”) in order to get us off track. The Bible is attacked often and viciously by false religions and worldly men who want us to think that the Bible is not literal, is not authoritative, is not reliable. Why do so many people put so much thought and effort into contradicting the Bible? Because Satan is working to convince us that God is the liar—and that is the ultimate lie.