30+ Bible Verses About Evil (with Explanations)

The concept of evil is a pervasive and complex theme woven throughout the fabric of religious and philosophical discourse. Rooted in questions of morality, ethics, and the nature of humanity, discussions on evil explore the inherent struggle between good and malevolence.

In biblical teachings, the notion of evil is intricately entwined with divine guidance, human choices, and the cosmic battle between light and darkness. The Bible provides a rich tapestry of verses that delve into the various facets of evil, offering guidance, warnings, and insights into navigating a world where moral choices carry eternal significance.

This exploration seeks to uncover the depth and breadth of the Bible’s teachings on evil, drawing from diverse passages that illuminate the nature of malevolence, the consequences of unrighteous actions, and the transformative power of responding to evil with righteousness and love.

Also Read: 30 Bible Verses About the Beauty of Woman (with Explanation)

Bible Verses About Evil

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

In Ephesians 6:12, the apostle Paul unveils the unseen dimensions of the battle between good and evil. By stating that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces, Paul emphasizes the spiritual nature of the conflict.

This verse serves as a profound reminder that evil is not merely a human phenomenon but a cosmic and spiritual reality. It challenges believers to approach the struggles they face with a discerning perspective, recognizing the need for spiritual armor and reliance on God’s strength in the face of spiritual adversaries. Ephesians 6:12 invites believers to view their challenges through a broader lens, understanding that the ultimate source of evil is not confined to human actions but extends into the spiritual realm.

Romans 12:21 (NIV)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In Romans 12:21, the apostle Paul provides a practical exhortation on overcoming evil. The verse encapsulates the transformative power of responding to evil with goodness. Paul’s instruction is rooted in the teachings of Jesus, who advocated for love and kindness even in the face of hostility. This verse challenges believers to resist the temptation to be overcome by the darkness of evil, instead choosing to counteract it with acts of goodness and love.

+It calls for a radical and counter-cultural response to evil, emphasizing the potential for positive transformation when confronted with a spirit of benevolence. Romans 12:21 serves as a guide for believers to actively contribute to the triumph of good over evil, fostering a culture of compassion and grace in the midst of a broken world.

Matthew 6:13 (NIV)

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

In the Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:13, Jesus imparts a plea for divine protection from the influence of the evil one. The acknowledgment of the potential to be led into temptation reflects the human vulnerability to the forces of evil. By seeking deliverance from the evil one, believers express their dependence on God’s strength to resist the snares of malevolence.

This verse underscores the reality of spiritual warfare and the need for continuous reliance on God’s guidance and protection. It serves as a humble recognition of human frailty and the essential role of God in safeguarding believers from the pervasive influence of evil.

1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

In 1 Peter 5:8, the apostle Peter issues a sobering warning about the vigilant stance believers must maintain against the schemes of the devil. The metaphor of a roaring lion captures the predatory and relentless nature of evil seeking to devour unsuspecting victims.

This verse underscores the importance of spiritual alertness and sobriety, urging believers to be conscious of the dangers that surround them. It calls for an active resistance against the tactics of the enemy, emphasizing the need for a clear and focused mind to discern and navigate the spiritual challenges presented by the adversary. 1 Peter 5:8 serves as a call to arms for believers, encouraging them to stand firm in their faith and resist the insidious advances of evil through the empowering grace of God.

James 4:7 (NIV)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 provides a practical and empowering directive on overcoming evil through submission to God and resistance against the devil. The call to submit to God acknowledges the divine authority and sovereign power that believers can align themselves with in their battle against evil. By resisting the devil, believers engage in an active stance against the forces of darkness. This verse carries the promise that the devil will flee when confronted with the determined resistance rooted in submission to God.

James 4:7 serves as a roadmap for believers to navigate the spiritual warfare they encounter, emphasizing the importance of aligning with God’s authority and actively resisting the influences of evil. It instills a sense of confidence in the believers, assuring them that through their submission to God and steadfast resistance, they can experience victory over the schemes of the adversary.

Proverbs 3:7 (NIV)

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

In Proverbs 3:7, the wisdom literature of the Bible imparts a profound principle for navigating the complexities of life. The admonition to “fear the LORD and shun evil” encapsulates the essence of true wisdom. The verse challenges the inclination to rely solely on human understanding and urges a posture of humility before God. By acknowledging the fear of the Lord as a foundation for wisdom, believers are directed away from self-reliance and towards a dependence on divine guidance.

The call to shun evil is a practical expression of this wisdom, emphasizing the intentional avoidance of actions or paths that deviate from God’s moral standards. Proverbs 3:7 serves as a timeless guide, inviting believers to cultivate a reverence for God that leads to a life marked by discernment, righteousness, and a deliberate turning away from the allure of evil.

2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV)

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

In 2 Timothy 4:18, the apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, expresses a profound assurance in the face of potential evil attacks. This verse radiates with the confidence that the Lord is the ultimate protector and deliverer. The promise that the Lord will bring believers safely to his heavenly kingdom underscores the eternal security found in Christ. Paul’s declaration is not a naive dismissal of the existence of evil but a declaration of unwavering faith in God’s faithfulness and sovereignty.

2 Timothy 4:18 serves as a source of comfort for believers, assuring them that, regardless of the challenges and threats they may face, their ultimate destination is secured in God’s heavenly kingdom. This verse encourages believers to face the uncertainties of life with a steadfast trust in the Lord’s ability to rescue and guide them through every trial, pointing towards the hope of an eternal glory that transcends the temporal challenges of this world.

Psalm 97:10 (NIV)

Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 97:10 encapsulates the intimate connection between love for the Lord and a repudiation of evil. The verse not only exhorts believers to hate evil but grounds this admonition in the character of God. By emphasizing God’s role as the guardian of the lives of the faithful and their deliverer from the wicked, the psalmist establishes a foundation for the rejection of evil.

This verse aligns with the broader biblical narrative, portraying evil not merely as a moral failing but as a force that stands in opposition to the protective and redemptive nature of God. It calls believers to cultivate a love for God that naturally results in a disdain for anything that runs counter to His righteous character. Psalm 97:10 serves as an invitation to a lifestyle marked by a commitment to God’s goodness and an active avoidance of all that opposes His divine purposes.

John 17:15 (NIV)

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

In John 17:15, Jesus utters a poignant prayer for his disciples, expressing a nuanced understanding of the presence of evil in the world. The prayer is not for isolation from the world but for divine protection within it. This verse acknowledges the inevitability of encountering evil forces but places trust in God’s ability to shield believers amidst life’s challenges. The prayer highlights a tension between engagement with the world and the need for spiritual protection, recognizing that believers are called to navigate the complexities of life without succumbing to the corrosive influence of the evil one.

John 17:15 resonates with the broader biblical theme of God’s provision and care, assuring believers that, even in the midst of a fallen world, they can find refuge and security in God’s unwavering protection. This verse encourages believers to face the realities of the world with a confidence grounded in the knowledge that God, in His infinite wisdom and power, is a reliable protector against the snares of the evil one.

Proverbs 4:14-15 (NIV)

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.

Proverbs 4:14-15 imparts practical wisdom, urging believers to exercise caution and deliberate avoidance of the path of the wicked. The emphasis on not setting foot on that path underscores the proactive nature of resisting evil.

This verse aligns with the broader biblical theme of choosing the way of righteousness and steering clear of the influences that lead to wrongdoing. The call to turn from evil and go on one’s way is an invitation to a purposeful and righteous journey. Proverbs 4:14-15 serves as a guide for believers, encouraging them to be intentional in their choices and to distance themselves from the allure of paths that deviate from God’s principles.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (NIV)

Reject every kind of evil.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, the apostle Paul provides a succinct and powerful directive: reject every kind of evil. This verse embodies the call to discernment and intentional refusal of anything contrary to God’s goodness. The universality of the command, encompassing “every kind of evil,” underscores the comprehensive nature of the rejection believers are called to undertake.

This verse encourages believers to maintain a vigilant and discerning spirit, consistently evaluating their choices and actions in light of God’s moral standards. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 serves as a timeless exhortation, challenging believers to be resolute in their commitment to reject any form of evil, irrespective of its guise or subtlety.

Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4 provides solace in the face of the darkest valleys of life. The assurance that believers need not fear evil because God is with them resonates throughout this verse. The imagery of God’s rod and staff evokes the shepherd’s tools, symbolizing protection, guidance, and comfort.

This verse encapsulates the overarching biblical theme of God’s presence as a source of strength and assurance in the midst of adversity. It invites believers to navigate challenges with a steadfast confidence, trusting in God’s unfailing presence and the comforting reassurance found in His care.

Romans 12:9 (NIV)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

In Romans 12:9, the apostle Paul intertwines the concepts of sincere love and a profound aversion to evil. The call to hate what is evil is not rooted in animosity but in a commitment to righteousness. This verse challenges believers to uphold a standard of love marked by authenticity and discernment.

By linking sincere love with a rejection of evil, Paul establishes a foundation for healthy relationships within the community of believers. Romans 12:9 serves as a guide for believers to cultivate a genuine and discerning love that actively opposes anything contrary to God’s goodness.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV)

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:3, the apostle Paul affirms the faithfulness of the Lord in providing both strength and protection from the evil one. This verse echoes the sentiments of other biblical passages that highlight God’s unwavering commitment to His people’s well-being. The assurance of God’s faithfulness serves as a source of comfort, emboldening believers to face the challenges posed by the evil one with confidence in God’s sustaining power.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 encourages believers to anchor their trust in the Lord’s faithfulness, recognizing that, in Him, they find a reliable refuge and defender against the assaults of the evil one.

Isaiah 5:20 (NIV)

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Isaiah 5:20 issues a warning against moral confusion and the inversion of values. The prophet condemns those who distort the distinctions between good and evil, light and darkness. This verse remains relevant as a cautionary message in a world where ethical standards can become distorted or manipulated. Isaiah challenges believers to uphold and discern the timeless truths of morality, resisting the cultural pressures that may attempt to redefine right and wrong.

Matthew 5:39 (NIV)

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

In Matthew 5:39, Jesus introduces a radical concept of responding to evil with non-resistance. This teaching challenges conventional notions of retaliation and vengeance, encouraging believers to transcend the cycle of harm.

The verse exemplifies the transformative power of love and selflessness, illustrating a response to evil that seeks reconciliation over retaliation. Matthew 5:39 prompts believers to embody the principles of forgiveness and peacemaking, reflecting the character of Christ in the face of adversity.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Paul presents a profound perspective on the spiritual warfare believers engage in. The battle against evil is depicted as a war fought with divine weapons, emphasizing the transformative power of God’s truth.

This passage challenges believers to recognize the spiritual dimensions of the conflicts they encounter, urging them to employ God’s weapons—truth, righteousness, and faith—to dismantle strongholds and align every thought with obedience to Christ.

1 John 2:15-16 (NIV)

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

In 1 John 2:15-16, the apostle John addresses the allure of worldly values and desires that can lead to destructive behaviors. The warning against loving the world is rooted in the understanding that such affections can jeopardize one’s relationship with God.

This passage challenges believers to scrutinize their priorities and desires, ensuring that their hearts are aligned with the values of the Father rather than being captivated by transient and empty pursuits.

Revelation 12:9 (NIV)

The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Revelation 12:9 provides a vivid depiction of the cosmic battle against evil, personified as the dragon, Satan. This verse underscores the pervasive influence of evil in leading the world astray. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing spiritual warfare and the need for believers to be vigilant against the deceptive schemes of the adversary.

Revelation 12:9 encourages believers to recognize the broader context of the cosmic struggle against evil and to stand firm in their faith amidst the spiritual battles of life.

Matthew 6:13 (NIV)

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus imparts a timeless plea for divine guidance and protection from the influence of the evil one. The acknowledgment of the potential to be led into temptation reflects the human vulnerability to the forces of evil. By seeking deliverance from the evil one, believers express their dependence on God’s strength to resist the snares of malevolence.

This verse underscores the reality of spiritual warfare and the need for continuous reliance on God’s guidance and protection. It serves as a humble recognition of human frailty and the essential role of God in safeguarding believers from the pervasive influence of evil.

Romans 12:17-21 (NIV)

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Romans 12:17-21 provides a comprehensive guide on navigating the complexities of responding to evil. Paul’s instructions go beyond personal retaliation, advocating for a life characterized by doing what is right, seeking peace, and refraining from revenge.

The call to leave room for God’s wrath emphasizes the divine authority in matters of justice. This passage challenges believers to embody a counter-cultural response to evil, one rooted in love, forgiveness, and trust in God’s ultimate justice.

Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV)

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21 provides a sobering list of acts associated with the flesh, revealing the destructive nature of evil when left unchecked. Paul’s warning is not merely a catalog of moral failings but a call to recognize the serious consequences of yielding to the desires of the flesh.

This passage challenges believers to pursue a life led by the Spirit, free from the entanglements of behaviors that stand in opposition to God’s kingdom.

Proverbs 24:19-20 (NIV)

Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

Proverbs 24:19-20 provides a perspective on the ultimate destiny of evildoers. The call not to fret or be envious serves as a reminder that the apparent prosperity of the wicked is fleeting.

This verse encourages believers to trust in God’s justice, recognizing that the actions of evildoers have no lasting impact on those who place their hope in the Lord. It fosters a steadfastness in the face of apparent injustice, assuring believers that God’s justice will prevail in due time.

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

In 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul issues a warning about the influence of company on character. The caution not to be misled underscores the subtle and pervasive nature of the impact of association with those who embrace evil.

This verse challenges believers to be discerning in their relationships, recognizing the potential for corrupting influences and the importance of surrounding themselves with those who uphold values aligned with God’s righteousness.

Psalm 37:1-2 (NIV)

Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass, they will soon wither, like green plants, they will soon die away.

Psalm 37:1-2 provides a poetic perspective on dealing with the actions of evildoers. The call not to fret or be envious is grounded in the transient nature of their deeds. The imagery of grass that withers and green plants that die away emphasizes the impermanence of the apparent success of those who do wrong.

This passage encourages believers to adopt an eternal perspective, understanding that the fleeting prosperity of evildoers is contrasted with the enduring nature of God’s justice. It fosters a mindset of patience and trust, affirming that the righteous will ultimately inherit a lasting reward.

1 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

In 1 Peter 3:9, the apostle Peter articulates a counter-cultural approach to responding to evil. The call not to repay evil with evil or insult with insult challenges the natural inclination towards retaliation. Instead, believers are encouraged to embody a transformative response by repaying evil with blessing.

This verse aligns with the teachings of Jesus, emphasizing the redemptive power of love and forgiveness. It invites believers to participate in God’s work of reconciliation, recognizing that responding to evil with blessing is not only a reflection of Christian character but also an inheritance of divine blessing for the believer.

Matthew 7:15-16 (NIV)

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”

In Matthew 7:15-16, Jesus issues a warning about false prophets, those who may appear outwardly righteous but harbor destructive intentions. The metaphor of wolves in sheep’s clothing emphasizes the deceptive nature of such individuals.

By emphasizing the importance of discerning their fruit, Jesus challenges believers to evaluate the actions and teachings of those who claim spiritual authority. This passage underscores the need for discernment and wisdom in navigating the complexities of spiritual influence, encouraging believers to be vigilant and attentive to the genuine fruit of righteousness.

1 John 3:12 (NIV)

“Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.”

In 1 John 3:12, the apostle John draws attention to the biblical narrative of Cain and Abel, highlighting the destructive consequences of jealousy and unrighteous actions. The contrast between Cain, who belonged to the evil one, and Abel, whose actions were righteous, serves as a cautionary tale.

This verse prompts believers to examine the motivations behind their actions and relationships, emphasizing the significance of righteousness in one’s conduct. It calls for self-reflection and a commitment to avoiding the destructive path that stems from jealousy and unrighteousness.

Proverbs 14:22 (NIV)

“Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.”

Proverbs 14:22 highlights the contrasting outcomes for those who engage in plotting evil versus those who plan what is good. The verse suggests that the intentions behind one’s actions shape the trajectory of their lives. Those who plot evil are portrayed as going astray, while those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.

This passage underscores the principle that the moral choices individuals make impact not only their present circumstances but also influence the relationships and blessings they experience. It encourages believers to prioritize planning and pursuing what is good, recognizing the positive consequences that flow from aligning one’s actions with righteousness.

2 Peter 2:19 (NIV)

“They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for ‘people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.'”

In 2 Peter 2:19, the apostle Peter exposes the deceptive nature of false teachers who promise freedom but are enslaved by depravity. This verse unveils the irony of those who claim to offer liberation while being bound by their own sinful desires. It serves as a cautionary message, urging believers to be discerning in their spiritual allegiances and teachings.

The reminder that people are slaves to whatever has mastered them challenges believers to assess the true source of influence in their lives and to guard against deceptive messages that lead away from the genuine freedom found in Christ.

James 3:16 (NIV)

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

James 3:16 highlights the destructive consequences of envy and selfish ambition. The verse identifies these attitudes as sources of disorder and every evil practice. James emphasizes the connection between the internal motivations of the heart and the external manifestations of behavior.

This passage challenges believers to cultivate attitudes of humility and selflessness, recognizing that the pursuit of envy and selfish ambition disrupts harmony and opens the door to various forms of wrongdoing. It serves as a call to pursue virtues that contribute to a community marked by order, peace, and righteousness.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Home (with Explanations)

What Does the Bible Say About Evil

The Bible addresses the concept of evil in various passages, offering insights into its nature, consequences, and the ways believers can navigate its presence.

The Source of Evil: James 1:13-15 (NIV)

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”

This verse emphasizes that evil originates from within human desires, not from God. It underscores the personal responsibility individuals bear in resisting the temptations that lead to wrongdoing.

The Deceptive Nature of Evil: 2 Corinthians 11:14 (NIV)

“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”

This verse highlights the deceptive nature of evil, illustrating that it can present itself in ways that appear righteous or appealing. It underscores the need for discernment to distinguish between genuine goodness and counterfeit righteousness.

The Consequences of Evil Choices: Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV)

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

This passage underscores the principle of reaping what one sows. It communicates that choices aligned with evil desires lead to destructive consequences, while choices aligned with the Spirit lead to eternal life.

The Battle Against Evil Forces: Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians teaches that the battle against evil extends beyond visible circumstances; it involves spiritual warfare against unseen forces. Believers are equipped with spiritual armor to withstand and overcome these influences.

Prayer Against Evil

Gracious Heavenly Father,

As we bow before Your presence, we acknowledge the depth of Your wisdom and the sanctity of Your guidance. In a world where the shadows of evil often loom, we seek Your divine light to illuminate our path. Grant us discernment, O Lord, to recognize the subtle deceptions that may lead us astray and the strength to resist the allure of malevolence.

Lord, shield us from the influence of false prophets, and help us discern the fruits of righteousness. In moments of uncertainty, may Your Word be our anchor, guiding us away from the paths of wickedness and towards the avenues of Your divine purpose.

We lift our hearts to You, knowing that the battle against evil extends beyond the visible realm. Strengthen our resolve to stand firm in the face of spiritual warfare, and may Your truth be a fortress that guards our hearts and minds.

Father, grant us the courage to respond to evil with love, forgiveness, and a commitment to righteousness. May our actions reflect the transformative power of Your grace, and may we be vessels of Your light in a world that often struggles in darkness.

In times of moral dilemmas, grant us the wisdom to navigate the complexities of right and wrong. Instill in us a reverence for Your moral standards, and may our choices honor Your divine will.

Lord, we surrender our fears, uncertainties, and vulnerabilities to Your unwavering love. As we explore the teachings of Your Word on the topic of evil, may Your Spirit guide us, bringing clarity, peace, and a deeper understanding of Your sovereign plan.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, we pray.