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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What's the Difference between Demons and Devils?

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Don Stewart
Is there a difference between demons and devils? Unfortunately some English translations in the past have translated the Greek word for "demons" as "devils." This has led to much confusion. There are many demons, but there is only one Devil.

Only One Devil

The word translated Devil is the Greek diabolos, which means "slanderer." It is always used in the singular when referring to the Devil. The adjectival form of the word diabolos is used three times in the New Testament and is translated "slanderer" or "false accuser."

Women likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things (1 Timothy 3:11).

inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good (2 Timothy 3:3).

Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good (Titus 2:3).


The word translated "demon" comes from the Greek word daimon, or the diminutive form daimonion, The root meaning of the Greek word daimon is "knowing" or "intelligence." This may have the idea that their intelligence is above humans.

Never Interchangeable

It is important to note that daimon and daimonion are used in the New Testament in both the singular and the plural (demon and demons), but they are never used interchangeably with diabolos (Devil). There is only one Devil.


The Bible says that demons do exist. There are many of them. This is in contrast to the one Devil. Since the root meaning of the Greek word translated as demons means "knowing," there is the possibility that it reflects creatures with higher intelligence than humanity. This, however, is only conjecture.
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