The Difference Between Power and Authority

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19, KJV)

Spiritual authority and power often operate together, yet an essential difference exists between them. Understanding this difference can significantly increase God’s power in your life.

Power is “ability”—the capacity to create, heal, work, move, etc. It is inherent in a person or thing, like the power to think, muscle movement, or God’s power to create. We can discuss spiritual, physical, or mental power. It takes power to walk, run, or heal someone sick.

While related to power, authority is different. Where power centers on ability, authority is about “control” or “rule.” It’s the right and privilege to exercise control over things around us. Authority is built on power but doesn’t always require power to operate. For example, a police officer directing a driver not to park somewhere exercises authority. If the driver disobeys, the officer might use power, such as having the car towed.

Let’s further explore this difference using the defeat of Satan as an example. It took power for Jesus to defeat Satan and the powers of hell, involving a clash of supernatural forces. However, ruling over demons today requires authority, not power, because Jesus has already defeated Satan. When casting out demons, you exercise authority, commanding them to obey. Our battles with demons are not clashes of power but exercises of authority. Understanding this can completely transform your life and ministry.

Luke 10:19 teaches that power and authority can be given and received. Receiving the Holy Spirit was receiving power from on high. Exercising that power requires authority, which involves faith, boldness, etc. Growing in both authority and power leads to greater manifestations of God’s power and victories in life.


Think and mutter the words of Luke 19:1. Reflect on each word, saying it under your breath to allow them to sink in.

Apply the Word

Just as Jesus gave the 12 disciples power and authority, He has given us the same over devils, diseases, and life’s issues. Know your rights and exercise the kingdom of God.


Ask the Spirit of God to help you grow in power and authority.

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