Words Have Meaning: Devil, Diábolos, Slanderers, and False Accusers

Words Have Meaning / “Devil”

Devil, διάβολος, diábolos, dee-ab’-ol-os; from G1225; a traducer; specially, Satan (compare H7854):—a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer; prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely, (Aristophanes, Andocides (), Plutarch, others): 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3; as a substantive, ὁ διάβολος, a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer, (see κατηγορέω, at the end) (Xenophon, Ages. 11, 5; (Aristotle, others)): the Sept. Esther 7:4; Esther 8:1.

From: διαβάλλω diabállō, dee-ab-al’-lo; from G1223 and G906; (figuratively) to traduce:— to accuse. Properly, to throw over or across, to send over, (τί διά τίνος). Very often, from Herodotus down, to traduce, calumniate, slander, accuse, defame (cf. Latinperstringere, German durchziehen, διά as it were from one to another; see Winer, De verb. comp. etc. Part v., p. 17)), not only of those who bring a false charge against one (διεβλητο πρός αὐτόν ἀδίκως, Josephus, Antiquities 7, 11, 3), but also of those who disseminate the truth concerning a man, but do so maliciously, insidiously, with hostility (cf. Lucian’s Essay de calumn. non temere credend.) (Daniel 3:8, the Sept.; Daniel 6:24 Theod.).

Bottom-line: In civil, and honest discourse, we should be able to restate each other’s views, discuss them, and even critique them (in right manner, with the right motive) without resorting to lies, slander, logical fallacies (e.g. straw men and red herrings), misquotations, mischaracterisations, scriptorture (as in, really bad eisegesis), altering the narrative, etc. When people resort to such things, repeatedly, and unrepentantly, they are literally behaving like devils, diabolos in the Greek. This ought not be amongst Christians. This is why it is important to quote actual statements, abstain from imputing false motives, and ask, question, verify before jumping to conclusions. This is, again, how you engage in calm, civil, honest, and open discourse. You do more harm to your own position by mischaracterising others than you do to theirs (in the eyes of those who know better, which is admittedly a dwindling number, sadly). If you and your arguments have legs upon which to stand, speak honestly, truthfully, and avoid the lies. Such is good in God’s sight.

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