Beware of Those Like the Spirit of Python
Wisdom's Corner
Beware of Those Like the Spirit of Python

In Acts chapter sixteen we read about a girl who had a spirit of divination. This girl was following Paul and his companions around saying, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation?" The spirit in the girl was making her say this. What she was saying was true. But it was also false. Is that confusing to you? That is what the evil spirit intended to do to the people who were following Paul.

The evil spirit did not want people to believe in Christ. The evil spirit was a servant of the devil. So what did the spirit mean by what he said? In the greek the "spirit of divination" is "pneuma puthona", which means a spirit of Python. This is a reference to the Greek God Apollos. Apollos killed the god Pythian. Because of this he was called Apollos Pythian. Apollos was also known as the god of truth. He was the Most High god to the Greeks. He was the god of light and there was no darkness in him.

There was a woman who lived in the cave, Delphi, that Python supposedly lived in before he was killed by Apollos. The greeks believed that she spoke words that Apollos gave her. She was known as the Oracle of Delphi. She was a very well known person. Her words were considered the final say on any matter. Anything she said was supposed to be true and no one was supposed to speak against her. She was believed to be guiding the people in the divine will of the god Apollos.

The girl in Acts 16 is being used in this way by the men who owned her. The people in the area thought that she was speaking for Apollos. When it says she was soothsaying it meant she would use the same kind of mad howling and deep speaking that the Oracle of Delphi used.

So when the girl with the evil spirit made the statement about Paul her words were true. Paul was indeed the spokesman for Almighty God. But what she meant for the people to believe was that Paul was a spokesman for the greek God Apollos. This would have caused great confusion for the people who were listening to Paul.

What this shows is that you must be careful when listening to someone who is preaching or teaching. They may quote many scriptures but be using them to teach the wrong thing. Or they may be saying something true but may actually mean something else. You may understand them to say one thing but someone else may understand them to say something else. The one preaching or teaching should be careful to make sure that everyone understands the same thing. Paul made the evil spirit come out of the girl to demonstrate that he represented God, not Apollos.

Today someone may have to stand up and tell others that the speaker is not really teaching the truth. It may have to be pointed out that he is actually a false teacher even though his words may sound good.

The way to make sure someone is teaching the truth is to learn God's word, the Bible. Until next time, keep reading and studying your Bible. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

Mark McWhorter

Copyright 1999

Published by The Old Paths Bible School