Someone who is deceived has accepted "as true or valid what is
false or invalid" (Webster). Likewise, one who deceives others convinces
them to accept, as truth, something false.
There are numerous warnings in the Bible concerning deceit, deception,
deceivers, and being deceived by self or others.
One of the best Biblical examples of deception is referenced by
Paul in 1 Timothy 2:14 saying: "And Adam was not deceived, but the
woman being deceived, fell into transgression." Eve knew the truth.
She knew that God had commanded her not to eat of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. But, the serpent convinced her that
God had told her a lie saying: " . . . You shall not surely die.
For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:4-5).
The Bible warns against deceptive teachers (2 Thess. 2:3, 10).
Paul, in his graphic warning to the Corinthians, says: "For such
are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into
apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms
himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if
his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness,
whose end will be according to their works" (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
The apostles invited scrutiny. Paul commends the Bereans who "were
more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received
the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to
find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). The apostles
were not afraid of scrutiny because they were "not walking in craftiness
nor handling the word of God deceitfully" (2 Cor. 4:2). And they
knew that honest investigation would result in many believing the
truth (Acts. 17:12).
The Bible also warns of self-deception (1 Cor. 3:18). Paul demonstrates
self-deception saying: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for
whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to
the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to
the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life" (Gal. 6:7-8).
Frankly, we may deceive ourselves and others, but we cannot deceive
Finally, we have a personal responsibility to see that we are not
deceived. Paul commands the Ephesians: "Let no one deceive you with
empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes
upon the sons of disobedience" (Eph. 5:6). And to Timothy Paul writes:
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart
from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of
demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience
seared with a hot iron" (1 Tim. 4:1-2).
As Eve was deceived by the serpent, so are those who do "not receive
the love of the truth" (2 Thess. 2:10). Jesus says: "If you abide
in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the
truth, and the truth shall set you free" (Jn. 8:31-32). Herein is
the solution to avoiding deception - seek the truth, love the truth,
obey the truth, abide in truth.