This renders three Greek words in the NT:
- ἀντίδικος, properly an adversary in a lawsuit, and used of an earthly adversary in Mt 5:25, Lk 12:58; 18:3—all these with a legal reference. It is used of an enemy of God in 1 S 2:10 (LXX), and in 1 P 5:8 of ‘the enemy,’ Satan; in this last passage διάδολος is anarthrous, as a proper name, while ἀντίδικος has the article (see Devil and Satan).
- ἀντικείμενος, used in Lk 13:17 of our Lord’s Jewish opponents, and in 21:15 of all adversaries of the disciples, is employed by St. Paul to denote those who oppose the Christian religion, probably in all cases with the suggestion that the devil is working through them. Such are the ‘adversaries’ of 1 Co 16:9, Ph 1:28; in 1 Ti 5:14 Chrysostom takes the ‘adversary’ to be Satan, the ‘reviler’ (cf. 5:15), or he may be the human enemy as prompted by Satan. In 2 Th 2:4 ‘he that opposeth’ (ὁ ἀντικείμενος) is Antichrist (q.v.), whose parousia is according to the working of Satan (5:9); and it is interesting to note that the letter of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons (Euseb. HE v. i. 5) uses this expression absolutely of Satan, or of Antichrist, working through the persecutors, and ‘giving us a foretaste of his unbridled activity at his future coming.’
- ὑπεναντίος is used in He 10:27 of the adversaries of God, apostates from Christ, probably with reference to Is 26:11, where the LXX has the same word. A similar phrase in Tit 2:8 is ‘he that is of the contrary part,’ an opponent, ὁ ἐξ ἐναντίας. In Col 2:14 the word ὑπεναντίος is used of an inanimate object: ‘the bond … which was contrary to us.’
Maclean, A. J. (1916-1918). Adversary. In J. Hastings (Ed.), Dictionary of the Apostolic Church (2 Vols.) (J. Hastings, Ed.) (1:44). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.