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How Can You Identify A False Bible Teacher?

The Bible is an inspired book for God’s people.  God speaks to people through the Bible, also known as the Word of God.  The Bible is actually not one book, but 66 books. The original language for Bible is biblios which literally means books.  It speaks of itself as being different than other books because it is inspired men and women under the leading of the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) who wrote what God directed them to do.  In 2 Timothy 3:16,17 we see that the Bible is God-breathed and inspired.

You can read the Bible not knowing God, but when you know God it’s completely different.  Anyone can talk about the Bible, but that does not mean they know what they are talking about, especially  if they don’t know the Author.  It’s a similar thing for teaching.  There is good teaching out there and bad teaching that can lead towards false teaching or false doctrine (another word for teaching). 

What is  false teaching?

Every fact, every bit of teaching needs to be established. In fact, God tells us multiple times that every spiritual fact should be established by two or three witnesses (Matthew 18:16, Deuteronomy 19:15, 2 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Timothy 5:19, Hebrews 10:28, Deuteronomy 17:6).  That means if you want to teach a Biblical truth, you have got multiple places in the Bible to prove it, otherwise you are on very unstable ground.  False teaching is taking one idea and running far away from the Word of God.  Some regular examples of false Bible teaching are poverty teaching, suffering teaching, baptism of the dead, once saved always saved, dual covenant,  Gnosticism, paying condolences, praying to dead people, transubstantiation, as well as countless other false doctrines and deceptions. The Dark Ages Mentality is an example of false teaching that has infected many good churches.

How can you identify false teaching or false doctrine?

  1. Is the concept confirmed by the Bible?
  2. Are there multiple, clear examples in the Bible? (no other book or tradition qualifies as they are not inspired by God)
  3. Does the teaching acknowledge Jesus as God or does it try to re-define Jesus Christ as just another great man or even great prophet?
  4. God is good (John 10:10) so is the teaching good like God or negative and dark? 
  5. Good teaching comes from the Bible, delivered by inspired men and women who radiate the light of God.  Does the teaching radiate the fruit of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control ?(Galatians 5:22-23)

Believers must also keep alert to the teaching they are receiving.  Humans are not perfect and some Bible teachers can become lazy or condescending but believers must hold them to account.  Why?  The condition of the whole local church is reliant on having people that are seeking God and His ways not just believing whatever they get spoon-fed.  All Bible teachers must be kept accountable for what they teach. We are to test the spirit of everything like 1 John 4:1 as false teaching will be out there until Jesus returns at the Second Coming (1 John 4:1, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 2 Peter 2:1-3, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Matthew 24:24, Colossians 2:8, Jude 1:4, 1 Timothy 6:20-21, Matthew 24:4-5. John 8:44).

The Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:15-20

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn-bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Generally false teachers tend to be all about themselves, selfish not self-less like the Lord Jesus. Great Bible teachers plant good spiritual seed and have good spiritual fruit in their lives. Be diligent and make Jesus and the Kingdom of God famous!

Do you know Jesus?

Do you have God’s power in your daily life?

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