Demons In the Bible

The Christian world can’t seem to make up its mind about demons.  On one side of the spectrum, there are plenty of Christians who never think or talk about demonic forces operating in the world today.  On the other side, there are Christians who seem to believe every bad thing that ever happens is directly caused by a demonic spirit.

So which is it?

Have you ever wondered how often the Bible really has to say about demons? In the chart below, you’ll find a (relatively) definitive answer to that question.  It lists all the verses in the Bible that mention demonic spirits in one way or another.

What’s the point of this chart?  Well, I’m working on a book called Subtle Darkness that will be a sound biblical theology of the demonic realm.  As part of this book, I intend to explore and provide any necessary commentary on all the passages in the Bible that speak about demons, so I’ve begun by compiling a list of all such texts.  However, it turns out that doing so is trickier than you might think, for several reasons, including the fact that the Bible uses a variety of words to speak about demons.

So…I’d love your help.  Take a look at this chart and let me know if you think I’ve missed any!

Notes on the chart:

1.  The chart lists all the individual verses where demonic spirits seem to be mentioned.  Many of these verses belong together as part of a single story/pericope and I have indicated this on the chart as well.  Some of the texts speak about things like a “spirit of jealousy” which may be a metaphorical statement rather than a reference to a literal spiritual entity.  To be sure I don’t miss anything, I’ve included such texts in the list, though I’ve indicated that they are “questionable”.

2.  There appear to be 116 unique passages in the Bible that speak of demonic forces.  This number takes into account several passages from one book that appear to be paralleled in another book, counting all the parallel accounts as one.  So, for instance, the story of Jesus’ temptation by Satan in the desert is paralleled in Matthew, Mark and Luke, but counted only one time.  Where it was questionable whether a passage was really paralleled in another book or the other book was recounting a different but similar story, I counted both stories separately.

Please use the comments section at the bottom to let me know of any questions, comments, additions or corrections you have for the chart!

(if you’d like to view the chart as a separate web page, you can look at it here:  Chart of Biblical Texts Mentioning Demons)