But the other reference to Satan in 1 Timothy might be taken to indicate just such a community or population—that is, the collectivity of those people who have rejected Christian belief, or at least who have never accepted it. “Paul” has been talking about the advisability of restricting the Christian community’s “order of permanent widows” to older women. For, he explains, younger widows are easily inclined to marry again, thereby breaking their commitment. Or, at least, they tend to become idlers and busybodies. He concludes:
I therefore wish the younger women to marry, bear children, and rule their households, so that they give no occasion to the Adversary for reproach. For some have already turned aside after Satan. (1 Tim. 5.14-15)
The term used here for “Adversary,” Antikeimenos, is one of the words used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word satan (see chap. 1.4).
The author is clearly referring to a particular Adversary, who is in the business of criticizing Christians for their wrongdoings. And he seems just as clearly to be distinguishing this Adversary from Satan, who appears to be in charge of apostates and non-Christians. The only likely candidate for this Adversary is Devil, who appears earlier in the epistle, in Chapter 3. There he exercises a “reproach-function.” [See 1 Timothy 3.6]