Questions about Cults and Religions: What Does the Bible Say about Black Magic?


God despises witchcraft and black magic. Many commands, beginning in the Old Testament, forbid any association with witchcraft or sorcery. Deuteronomy 18:10 says, “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft.” Exodus 22:18 says, “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.” When God removed Saul from his position as king of Israel, He compared Saul’s behavior to the evil of sorcery. Through the prophet Samuel, the Lord said, “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols” (1 Samuel 15:23). Many other Old Testament passages condemn witchcraft in its many forms (Micah 3:7; 5:12; 2 Kings 21:6; Leviticus 19:26, 31; Deuteronomy 18:14).

In the New Testament, the word sorcery comes from the Greek word pharmakeia, from which we derive our English word pharmacy. Pharmakeia (or the masculine form pharmakos) is defined as “the use of medicine, drugs, or spells.” The words are translated either “sorcery” or “witchcraft” in our English Bibles, because witchcraft and drug use were closely intertwined. Magicians created mind-altering combinations of herbs and other concoctions to use with their incantations. Subjects under the influence of such drugs could be easily controlled by the sorcerer and would behave in ungodly ways. In this way, the magician could make money from the sin of someone else.

God clearly condemns such an evil practice. Galatians 5:19–21 says, “The acts of the sinful nature 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.… Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” When people in Ephesus came to know Christ, they brought their magic books and potions and publicly burned them as a sign that they were trading the dark power of sorcery for the holy power of the Spirit (Acts 19:19).

The connection between sorcery and present-day drug abuse is clear. One reason God so hates sorcery, black magic, drunkenness, and drug abuse is that it gives control of our spirits to a power besides Him. When we relinquish control of ourselves to a power that is not the Holy Spirit, we are corrupting our minds and bodies and welcoming demonic influence. We who are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) willingly become vessels of evil. We were designed to be the Holy Spirit’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19), but we cannot be filled with the Spirit and with mind-altering substances at the same time (Ephesians 5:18). To choose sorcery or drugs is to reject the control of God and invite judgment (John 12:48).

In Revelation 18:23, Jesus warns that He will destroy Babylon, in part because “all nations were deceived by your sorcery.” God certainly condemns sorcery, black magic, witchcraft, and anything associated with it, and He will severely punish those who persist in it.[1]



[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

1 thought on “Questions about Cults and Religions: What Does the Bible Say about Black Magic?

  1. Pingback: End Times Prophecy Headlines: June 4, 2014 | End Times Prophecy Report

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