Luke 4:3 Satan doesn’t doubt Jesus’ sonship

In reading and thinking about Luke 4:1-13 (which I’m preaching on Sunday am) I’ve notices that I (and lots of other Christians) tend to read the devil’s words in v3 as if they are calling Jesus’ sonship into question.

We read them as, “Jesus, if you really are the son of God (which I doubt) then prove it by…”

However, this cannot be what the text means. What the devil says to Jesus is Εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ, which is a 1st class conditional protasis which is followed by an apodosis (that doesn’t include ἀν). The significance of 1st class conditional statements is that they are assumed to be true, at least for the sake of the argument.

Satan is assuming that Jesus is the Son of God.

This is just one of the ways that I am starting to see how this passage is generally badly handled, misunderstood and misapplied.

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