Eph 2:2 KJV - 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Eph 2:2 mGNT ἐν αἷς ποτε περιεπατήσατε κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντος ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας

I must point out that there is no comma between "air" and "spirit" as in most English translations. It is a string of genitives (IE: "ofs") ala "the ruler of the authority of the air of the breath/spirit".

I notice that the word translated as "at work" in the KJV is actually ἐνεργέω which is often associated with supernatural manifestations of power:

Mat 14:2 KJV - 2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves[G1754] in him.

Mar 6:14 KJV - 14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves[G1754] in him.

Rom 7:5 KJV - 5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work[G1754] in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

1Co 12:6, 11 KJV - 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh[G1754] all in all. ... 11 But all these worketh[G1754] that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

2Co 1:6 KJV - 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual[G1754] in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

2Co 4:12 KJV - 12 So then death worketh[G1754] in us, but life in you.

Gal 2:8 KJV - 8 (For he that wrought effectually[G1754] in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty[G1754] in me toward the Gentiles:)

Gal 3:5 KJV - 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh[G1754] miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Gal 5:6 KJV - 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh[G1754] by love.

Eph 1:11, 20 KJV - 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh[G1754] all things after the counsel of his own will: ... 20 Which he wrought[G1754] in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Eph 2:2 KJV - 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh[G1754] in the children of disobedience:

Eph 3:20 KJV - 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh[G1754] in us,

Phl 2:13 KJV - 13 For it is God which worketh[G1754] in you both to will and to do[G1754] of his good pleasure.

Col 1:29 KJV - 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh[G1754] in me mightily.

1Th 2:13 KJV - 13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh[G1754] also in you that believe.

2Th 2:7 KJV - 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth[G1754][G0] already work:[G1754] only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

Jas 5:16 KJV - 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent[G1754] prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Throughout Ephesians and its cognate letter Colossians Paul seems to use the the word translated "power" in the NASB to refer to "authority" or "the right to" and "powers". Col 1:13 has "domain":

[Ephesians 1:21 NASB] far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

[Ephesians 2:2 NASB] in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

[Ephesians 3:10 NASB] so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

[Ephesians 6:12 NASB] For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

[Colossians 1:13 NASB] For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

[Colossians 1:16 NASB] For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him.

[Colossians 2:10 NASB] and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

[Colossians 2:15 NASB] When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

Is Paul speaking of "influence" by bad spirit or manifestations of supernatural power? Or both?

One reason I ask is that the Satan, even with his minions is not omnipresent (see Job 1). Is this suggesting that the Devil has an "anti-spirit" that is an unclean spirit that permeates ho KOSMOS?


Possibly relevant:

[Rev 16:13-14 KJV] (13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

These appear to be the lying breaths and delusions that motivate persecution:

[Isa 66:4 KJV] (4) I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

[2Th 2:8-12 NLT] (8) Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming. (9) This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. (10) He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. (11) So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. (12) Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

This in turn alludes to:

[1Ki 22:23 NLT] (23) "So you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all your prophets. For the LORD has pronounced your doom."

This refers to God's "hireling" prophets that tell the king what he wants to hear (that they will prevail).

3 Answers 3


The operative word is ἐνεργέω a verb for which BDAG provides two basic meanings but the one relevant here is listed as (1a), specifically, "(intransitive) to put one's capabilities into operation, work, be at work, be active, operate, be effective", eg, Phil 2:13, Matt 14:2, Mark 6:14, Eph 2:2, Gal 2:8.

Certainly the cognate noun "energeia" is always used to describe actions of transcendent beings, but the verb in the middle voice always has an impersonal subject (Rom 7:5, 2 Cor 1:6 etc).

None of this excludes Satan (= "the prince of the power of the air") doing great and miraculous things. Indeed, there other places where Satan (and "his minions") are accused of performing miracles to deceive the inhabitants of the earth (Rev 13:13-16, see also Matt 24:24, Mark 13:22, Luke 6:26, Acts 13:6, 2 Cor 11:13-15, Titus 1:10-14, 2 Peter 2, 1 John 4:1-6).

I agree that Satan and his minions are not omnipresent but the fact that we do not know their exact locations means that they could be (and often are) anywhere. In 2 Thess 2:7 the same verb is used to describe "secret power of lawlessness is already at work".

It is interesting that of the 21 occurrences of this verb, all but 2 are from God or other positive influences such as the prayer of elders or faith. Just 2 (Eph 2:2, 2 Thess 2:7) describe evil work.

In Eph 2:2, "the prince of the power of the air" is described as a spirit who is at work in the sons of disobedience. Precedents are numerous in the Gospels of people being either being "possessed" of at least greatly influenced by evil spirits (see John 8:44, Gal 1:6-9, 2 Cor 4:2, etc.

  • So would you see the "power of the air of the breath that is manifested in the disobedient" as actually comprised of many discrete daemons?
    – Ruminator
    Mar 13, 2019 at 13:25
  • 1
    Very possibly. Just how these "minions" work we are not told.
    – user25930
    Mar 13, 2019 at 20:27

Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

As a man thinketh so is he. The children of disobedience are being influenced. This influence is manifest as the fruit of the work hands; as the things they say and do. They build idols of stone, wood and gold. They worship, and they adulterate.

In simple terms, "the devil" temps people into disobedience and abominations against themselves and other people (spiritual wickedness). This is apart from the spirit entities who "work" that wickedness. E.g. A witch would be someone in whom they are at work in. Which is different from a regular non-believer in Christ, who get tempted.

  • Hi and welcome to the site. When you have a minute please take the site tour: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour I notice you bolded the words "spiritual wickedness". Are you saying that the "authority of the air of the breath/spirit" is "spiritual wickedness"? However, notice that he actually also uses the words "principalities, authorities, rulers" which have a different sense from "spiritual wickedness" which you did not account for. Also, please use the edit button and indicate which translation you are using. Thanks, and again, welcome.
    – Ruminator
    Mar 13, 2019 at 14:02
  • @Ruminator, please let me know if the answer is clearer now.
    – user77232
    Mar 13, 2019 at 20:47

It involves spiritual influence

Ephesians 2:2 in which once you walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience

We once were of the children of wrath, having the devil as our spiritual father being held captive to do his will

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.....

2 Timothy 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

You are correct in understanding that Satan is not omnipresent, only The Triunity God is, Satan as the other demons can go back and forth between the 3 heavens but I wouldn't say they permeate every inch of material and immaterial existence. His Influence is not everywhere.

  • Hi Joseph and welcome to the site. When you have a moment please take the site tour: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour The scriptures you cited are very relevant. However, your last paragraph is unsupported by a source. You make several assertions without supporting any of them. Can you please cite a passage of scripture or a commentary that backs up the last paragraph? For example, on what authority do you say that Satan and the demons have free access to the 3 heavens?
    – Ruminator
    Mar 13, 2019 at 13:32
  • Also, why does Paul say "the prince of the POWER/AUTHORITY of THE AIR OF THE BREATH/SPIRIT that is now MANIFESTING among the disobedient?" Why "power/authority" rather than "evil inclination" or something else more moral? See: blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/…
    – Ruminator
    Mar 13, 2019 at 13:38
  • Because revelation 12:6-17 has not occured yet, thus Satan although no longer able to dwell in the third heaven still can be summoned by God into His presence even after Yeshua destroyed the authoriry of death he had over the elect through our enslavement of sin by Yeshua's shed blood to redeem. Aug 29, 2020 at 9:42

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