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1 Timothy 5:15

ESV For some have already strayed after Satan.
NIV Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.
NASB for some have already turned away to follow Satan.
CSB For some have already turned away to follow Satan.
NLT For I am afraid that some of them have already gone astray and now follow Satan.
KJV For some are already turned aside after Satan.

What does 1 Timothy 5:15 mean?

This verse is short, but actually consists of three main parts. First, it refers to a group of people noted by the vague term "some." A few, but not all, of those in the Ephesian church had already fallen to Satan's temptations. It is unclear whether Paul had specific people in mind, but the immediate context is the dangers of enrolling younger women as church-supported widows. Prior verses explained the dangers of this error, and it seems likely Paul is referring to instances where those problems had already become a reality.

Second, this small group of people has "already strayed." The imagery is of someone leaving a safe path and moving into dangerous or forbidden territory. These individuals had walked off of the "path" of sound doctrine and godly living, as presented by Paul, and instead had listened to false teachings and were living for self.

Third, these people had strayed "after Satan." They were not merely living for personal gain, but were actively following the plans of the Devil. This does not necessarily mean participating in blatant, wanton sin or depravity. The Devil's schemes can involve simply distracting us, or luring us into seemingly innocuous mistakes. Even Jesus faced Satan's temptations (Matthew 4:1–11) and His followers must expect the same. Believers are to be prepared for spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12), yet also know "the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet…" (Romans 16:20).
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