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I’ve heard some say that the Devil cannot devour Christian’s, and others say he attempts to by devouring their faith.

There seems to be some dispute on the exegesis of 1 Peter 5:8 and 9.

We read:

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-11‬

So the object is us (Christians) and the subject is (devouring) by the devil.
We are said to have: “experiences of suffering” (V.9)

Q: Is the suffering from the devil based on being devoured or something else?

2 Answers 2

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The Pulpit Commentary says this:

Walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (comp. Job 1:7; Job 2:2). The words express the restless energy of the wicked one. He cannot touch those who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation; but he walketh about, looking eagerly after any lost sheep that may have wandered from the fold. He roars in the craving of his heart for prey, like a hungry lion, seeking whom he may devour, or (for the reading here is somewhat uncertain) to devour some one, or simply to devour. The Greek word means literally "to drink down;" it implies utter destruction. It is the word in 1 Corinthians 15:54, "Death is swallowed up κατεπόθη in victory." Satan now seeks whom he may destroy: "The Lord will destroy him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14). 1 Peter 5:8

Thus, the Devil cannot devour anyone who is "alert" and resists the Devil in the strength of the Lord.

However, all Jesus' true disciples will experience suffering, disappointments, troubles and persecution.

  • John 16:33 - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
  • 1 Cor 7:28 - But if you do marry, you have not sinned. And if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
  • Heb 13:12, 13 - And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate, to sanctify the people by His own blood. Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore.
  • 1 Peter 2:21 - For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His footsteps:
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OP asked,

"Is the suffering from the devil based on being devoured or something else?"

Peter wrote this letter to the believing remnant in Israel who left their homes from the land of their fathers. They continued to suffer great persecution not only from their country man but also from the people wherever they lived.

They cannot be devoured by the adversary with his loud roars because they are protected by the power of God as stated in first Peter 1:5

In whom God in His power is guarding through faith for a salvation that even now stands ready for unveiling at the End of the Age.

If Israel had accepted their Messiah as a nation they would not be going through what they were now suffering. Their salvation will come when the millennium is ushered in and Jesus Christ is unveiled.

Now they are to walk by faith. It is tried by the adversary in different forms. Either by those who are persecuting them, making fun of them and perhaps even killing them. Others come in the form of unbelief in one's mind. God's word is tested in believers life all the time. To stand on His word alone in spite of sight and what one feels.

Just think if the adversary actually devoured a believer that he would be devouring Christ.

This is an add on to give bit more detailed study:

OP asked: Is the suffering from the devil based on being devoured or something else?

Faith when tested always involves suffering. One learns to depend upon the word of God in spite of the suffering one may be going through.

Rejoice triumphantly in the prospect of this, even if now, for a short time, you are compelled to sorrow amid various trials. 1 Peter 1:6

Testing of your faith--being more precious than that of gold, which perishes and yet is proved by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the re-appearing of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:7

And it is to this you were called; because Christ also suffered on your behalf, leaving you an example so that you should follow in His steps. 22He never sinned, and no deceitful language was ever heard from His mouth. 23When He was reviled, He did not answer with reviling; when He suffered He uttered no threats, but left His wrongs in the hands of the righteous Judge. 1 Peter 2:21-23

For it is better that you should suffer for doing right, if such be God's will, than for doing evil; 1 Peter 3:17

12Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you. 13But because you are partakers of Christ's sufferings,1 Peter 4:12

But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name. 1Peter 4:16

Going through all these sufferings humbles one, In other words don't fight the people that are doing these things to you, accept the sufferings as part of God's testing to you in various ways.

Cast your anxiety on Him because He truly does care for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Like how the amplified Bible expands on the meaning.

6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, 7casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. 8Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. 9But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack--rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.] 10After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. 11To Him be dominion (power, authority, sovereignty) forever and ever. Amen.

In the mist of all the suffering that these exiles were going through, the enemy tops it off as a roaring lion by accusing them. (Probably the same way he does any believer..)

The slander, in regard to the devil as here called ἀντίδικος because he accuses men before God).

1228 diábolos (from 1225 /diabállō, "to slander, accuse, defame") – properly, a slanderer; a false accuser; unjustly criticizing to hurt (malign) and condemn to sever a relationship

228 (diabolos) in secular Greek means "backbiter," i.e. an accuser, calumniator (slanderer). 1228 (diábolos) is literally someone who "casts through," i.e. making charges that bring down (destroy). Satan is used by God in this plan – as a predictable wind-up toy, playing out his evil nature.]

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  • So a believer can not be devoured, sure. Can they be in a state of devouring? An continuum?
    – Cork88
    Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 17:09
  • Do you mean that their faith is continually being devoured to where it's totally gone?
    – Sherrie
    Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 18:27
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    @cork88. Can they be in a state of devouring? An continuum? Now I comprehend more of what you were asking. The answer is yes. This Word study helped clarify your question. 1228 diábolos (from 1225 /diabállō, "to slander, accuse, defame") – properly, a slanderer; a false accuser; unjustly criticizing to hurt (malign) and condemn. 228 (diabolos) in secular Greek means "backbiter," i.e. an accuser, calumniator (slanderer). 1228 (diábolos) is literally someone who "casts through," i.e. making charges that bring down (destroy).
    – Sherrie
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 12:44
  • 1
    The devil is like a roaring lion. His lies are often loud, heard in one's head so often that the truth seems more like a lie. This in turn can destroy a relationship between a person and God because of what once was believed that brought much joy and peace is no longer believed. He thinks it is God who is against him. Even then in that state of one's faith being devoured, God is faithful, to the faithless.
    – Sherrie
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 12:44
  • Well spoken, makes sense. What did you mean by: “Peter wrote this letter to the believing remnant in Israel who left their homes from the land of their fathers.”? When Peter says: ““Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” ‭‭I Peter‬ ‭1:1‬ Where are Jewish Israelites mentioned? I’m curious.
    – Cork88
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 16:27

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