“Deceit” – representing as true what is known to be false; dishonest action or trick; to lead astray (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary).
Greek “apate” – deceit; that which gives a false impression, whether by appearance, statement, or influence (Vine’s, An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words). For example, wearing a police uniform to make people seriously think you’re a police officer.
Col. 2:8 Through what, are Christians to see to it that they are not taken captive?
Are you being taken captive through philosophy (beliefs, concepts, and attitudes), according to the tradition of (ideas and values handed down by) men, according to the elementary (basic) principles of the world (all that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims/goals, aspirations, at any time current among humanity who are living alienated/apart from God – Wuest’s Word Studies, “Romans”, p. 207), rather than according to Christ (what He would want you to think, believe, say, and do, 2 Cor. 10:5)?
[Some “traditions of men” are: “humanism” – the belief that mankind is the highest good, the center of the universe, and rejects super-naturalism; “materialism” – the belief that the highest value, objective, and good is in material well-being; “socialism” – an economic system of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state and its distribution of goods administered, there is no private property; “communism” – a totalitarian/dictatorial system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls the state-owned means of production with the aim of establishing a stateless society, and economic goods are distributed equitably.].
[Some “philosophies and empty deceptions” are: “This life is all there is, so live it up.” “Get all the gusto you can since you only go around in life once.” “Heaven and hell are here on earth, so make the best of it here.” “There are no absolutes.” “We/mankind evolved from a single cell.” “Existentialism, only what you can experience is real/true.” “Atheism, there is no God.” “Agnosticism, you can’t know if there is a God.” “The end justifies the means.” “The majority is always right.” “Do unto others before they do unto you, and then split.” “You owe it to yourself, so get it or do it.” “To be happy and/or fulfilled, you have to conform to the cultural norm.” “The devil made me do it (whenever I sin).” I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, that’s why I am the way I am.” “If it feels good, do it.” “I’m OK, you’re OK.” “Everyone is doing it, so it must be OK.” “If we love each other and don’t hurt anyone, why not have sex?” “Be independent; don’t submit to anyone; don’t let anyone tell you what to do.” “Situational ethics, what’s right or wrong can change depending on the circumstances.” “I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, so I couldn’t help what I did or the way I am.” “You’ll get another chance in the next life if you don’t make it this time around.” “I couldn’t help myself, after all, I’m only human.” “Be happy at any cost.” “Step on the next guy to get ahead.” “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.” “Be a success at any price.”].
Through what means or vehicles of communications are these philosophies and empty deceptions usually communicated?
Eph. 4:20-23 What is our “old self” (unconverted self) being corrupted in accordance with?
[“the lusts of deceit” – deceit is personified. So, it’s the passionate desires of falsehood].
How can we be renewed in the spirit of our mind?
Are you meditating upon God’s Word, the Bible, and adopting its values and views?
If so, why, and how often?
Heb. 3:13 Why should Christians encourage one another daily?
[Sin is deceitful in that it promises pleasure, ease, prosperity, benefits, happiness, etc. without mentioning its consequences. Sin makes “self” god (e.g., “you deserve it”), and deceit makes sin look good or that God won’t care.].
How can you prevent from being deceived by sin?
Are you encouraging other Christians daily?
If so, how?
Mk. 4:14, 18-19 The thorns of what, choke the word (the gospel) so that it becomes unfruitful in a person’s life?
[“worries of this world” – having enough clothes, food, financial security, a nice home, job, spouse, transportation, family approval, society’s acceptance, etc.].
[“desire for other things” – fame, prestige, recognition, position, power, relationships, possessions, talents/abilities, looks, skills, degrees, etc.].
In what way are or can riches be deceitful?
Has God’s Word (any of His commands) ever been choked out in your life because of the deceitfulness of riches?
If so, which, and why?
What can you do to prevent this from ever happening?
Jer. 14:14 What were the prophets of Israel prophesying during the days of Jeremiah?
Do religious leaders today make predictions, or even just statements, that are merely deceptions/false beliefs of their own minds/thinking?
If so, how do you know?
1 Thes. 2:2-4 How didn’t Paul’s exhortation of the gospel message come to these Thessalonians?
How did it come?
Do you falsely represent the gospel by changing its message in order to please people?
Or, do you state that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ’s death as the complete payment for the penalty and complete forgiveness of all our sins, and not by our good works that we are saved and get to go to heaven?
Psa. 5:6 Whom does the Lord abhor?
Are you ever guilty of giving people a false impression either by word or appearance?
If so, why do you do so?
[In certain situations where revealing total/complete information could either bring harm to yourself or others or betray a confidence, it’s not wrong to only give partial, but true, information. Such is the case where God tells Samuel to only mention his offer of a sacrifice if Samuel is questioned rather than mentioning the additional information of his anointing David to be the next king of Israel – 1 Sam. 16:1-13.].
Is our ministry being deceptive by calling our method of evangelism a “Philosophy of Life” interview?
Jer. 17:9 What is more deceitful than all else and desperately wicked?
Do you view your heart (nature by birth) this way? Why?
Prov. 27:6 What is deceitful?
Do you have or have you ever had anybody do that to you (not necessarily a literal kiss, but falsely do some act of kindness for you)?
How could you tell it was deceitful?
Prov. 31:30 What is deceitful?
Why would physical attractiveness or external, graceful mannerisms be deceitful?
Are you or have you ever been deceived by a person’s charm?
How could you prevent this from happening again?
1 Ki. 22:18-23 What did a spirit tell the Lord that he would do in order to get king Ahab to fight against the Syrians?
Had you realized that God uses deceiving spirits in people to accomplish His will?
2 Cor. 11:7-9, 12-14 How does Paul describe those who were trying to be recognized as apostles but weren’t (yet were making money off of people because they went about claiming to be apostles)?
Do you know of people who pretend to be Christian workers or ministers, yet are not really Christian or are in Christian work for the wrong reasons?
How should you relate to them? Why?
“Deceive” – to make (a person) believe what is not true; mislead; implies deliberate misrepresentation of facts by words, action, etc, generally to further ones ends.
(Other Hebrew and Greek words for “deceive” are “nasha”, “pathah”, “ramah”, and “apatao”).
Jer. 29:8-9 What does Jeremiah write to the Jews in exile, that God had said?
Do you think that God would say this today about most of the church leaders here in America?
Jer. 37:7-10 What shouldn’t these Jews deceive themselves in?
Why was God having this to happen (Jer. 37:1-2)?
Have you ever deceived yourself into thinking that the consequences of your disobedience to God’s word as taught by a teacher or discipler of God wouldn’t catch up with you (i.e., rejecting aggressive evangelism and being trained to be Christ-like in character and mission)?
If so, what will you do about it?
Jer. 49:7, 16 What deceived the Edomites?
What were they proud of (Obad. 1:3-4)?
Has the arrogance, pride, or self-importance from your position, possessions, or accomplishments in life ever deceived you into not repenting of your sin and disobedience to God?
If so, how can you prevent this from ever happening again?
Prov. 24:28 What are we told not to do?
Have you ever engaged in this? Why?
Prov. 26:18-19 Who is a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death compared to?
Have you ever belittled, slandered, cheated, or made a derogatory remark about a person, and then when confronted about it, excused it by saying you were only joking?
Or, has anyone ever done so to you?
What should you do in each case? Why?
Eph. 5:5-8 What shouldn’t we let people deceive us with, and why?
Do people ever try to talk you into committing sin by saying that these sins (Eph. 5:5) aren’t really sin, or that “you’re just human”, or it won’t matter that much cause you can always confess them later and be forgiven?
1 Tim. 2:12-14 Why shouldn’t women be allowed to teach or exercise authority over a man?
Why do you think women tend to be more easily deceived?
Jas. 1:26 Whose religion is worthless?
Do you know people who go to church, prayer meetings, teach Sunday School, read their Bible, or are even a church leader, yet gossip, lie, or slander, and still think that they’re good Christians?
Or, are you ever guilty of doing this?
How can you control or prevent either of the above situations?
Rom. 16:17-18 Who deceives the hearts of the unsuspecting, and how?
Have religious or churchy people ever deceived you by their smooth and flattering speech into believing wrong doctrine/theology (that which is contrary to the Bible)?
Do religious/church people you know try to deceive you into thinking that it’s not your responsibility to aggressively evangelize and/or build up believers spiritually in the way Jesus or Paul did?
If so, how do you respond to them, and why?
How should you respond, and why?
Jas. 1:22-24 We are to prove ourselves doers of the word and not merely what?
When you read or hear the Bible and the responsibilities/commands for you to do, what do you do with that information (e.g., Matt. 28:19-20), and why?
Matt. 24:4-13, 24 Why were Jesus’ disciples told to see to it that no one misleads them?
What can you do to keep from being misled?
1 Cor. 15:33 What shouldn’t we be deceived about?
Have you ever thought that you could have non-Christians as friends for very long and not get corrupted, if you spent very much time with them and they didn’t respect you?
How does a Christian go about witnessing if keeping bad company is not good to do?
Gal. 6:7 What shouldn’t we be deceived about?
Have you ever been deceived into thinking that you can get away with sins that no one else knows about?
Was it because you forgot that God sees and knows all?
Gal. 6:2-3 Who deceives himself?
Are you deceived about yourself in this area, and why?
And how do you see/view yourself, and why?
How can you keep from being deceived in this area?
2 Tim. 3:12-15 What will be true of evil people and imposters?
What was Paul’s advice to Timothy to counteract his possibly falling prey?
If someone comes along and tells you that you don’t have to evangelize aggressively or build up believers spiritually, what will you do, and why?
1 Jn. 1:8 When would we be deceiving ourselves and not have the truth in us?
Have you ever deceived yourself into thinking that you’ve arrived or are perfect?
1 Jn. 3:7-8 What aren’t we to let anyone deceive us in?
Why is it important that we not be deceived about this?
Rev. 12:7-9; 20:1-3, 7-10 Who deceives the whole world (inhabited earth)?
What does Satan appear to be always involved with (Rev. 12:9; 20:8, 10)?
How does knowing the extent of Satan’s influence affect you, and why?
Rev. 13:11-14; 19:20 Who does the second beast (false prophet) deceive during the tribulation period of history, and why (Rev. 13:14)?
Can you see that Satan can deceive people through the working of miracles through false prophets to get people to worship demonic leaders?
Deut. 11:16 For what should the Israelites beware?
Do you know of religious/church people whose hearts have been deceived and have turned away to serve and worship the gods of: career, sports, money, education, pleasure, possessions, family, position, comfort, computers, etc.?
What are you doing to keep from being deceived and making these things your gods?
The Greek word for “deceiver” is “planos”.
2 Cor. 11:3 What was Paul afraid of?
Who might lead these Christians astray (2 Cor. 11:4)?
Are you easily deceived by smart sounding, smooth talking, emotionally arousing, religious people who claim to be Christians?
How would Acts 17:11 help?
2 Jn. 1:7 What do certain deceivers not acknowledge?
What cults or people do you know of who don’t acknowledge this?
Jas. 1:13 What shouldn’t we be deceived about (Jas. 1:16)?
Are you ever deceived into thinking that God tempted you to sin?
If so, why?