We are warned about false teachers in 2 Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be FALSE TEACHERS among you, who privily shall bring in DAMNABLE HERESIES, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” The Apostle Peter is saying that even as there were false prophets in the Old Testament, there will be false teachers in our present day. One example of a false prophet is in Jeremiah 28:15-17, “Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.”

An example of false teachers in the New Testament is found in Jude 1:4, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Why does the Lord allow these false teachers to spread their error and negatively impact the church? Let’s begin by considering 1 Corinthians 11:19 which says, “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” Different factions had begun to develop in the young church. Although this was condemned by the Lord, we see that at least one good thing came out of the dividing of the church: Divisions are proof that some have failed to discern the truths of the Lord. The Lord would have each one of us to be students of His Word so that we might be able to discern truth from false teachings. Colossians 2:8 warns us, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

There are false teachers everywhere. How do we know how to know what is true and what is false? Should we spend time studying all the different cults and false teachers so that we can know how to rebuke them for their falseness? Not at all. What we need to do is study God’s Word, learn its truths. Then, when someone tries to teach something false, we will recognize it as such. The more familiar we become with the Word of God, the more aware we will be when we hear something false.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The Lord wants us to study His Word. He wants us to receive all the blessings that come with learning, loving, and obeying God’s Word. He wants us to mature as believers so that we can know the truth and “henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Ephesians 4:14) To take away all the false teachers would certainly make it easier for us, but we would lose the preciousness of learning God’s Word, growing thereby, and maturing into responsible and knowledgeable believers.

We learn in Matthew 18:7, “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” The Lord will deal with the false teachers. May we learn God’s truths so that these false teachers cannot sway us away from the truths of the Bible! (253.8)