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- What to Teach: God’s Word
- How to Teach
- False Teachers (I): Their Teaching
- False Teachers (II): Guarding against Them
Teaching is one of the main roles of most church leaders. Good teaching is based on God’s word, and should be delivered in accordance with the directions and sound examples found in Scripture. On the topic of teaching, one must also be aware of the characteristics of “false” teachers who are so often present in the church, so as to recognize them and deal with them.
Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NET
[Paul, to Timothy:] By pointing out such things to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, having nourished yourself on the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 1 Timothy 4:6 NET
In v. 6a Paul exhorts Timothy to instruct the believers in the things that he had been writing about. These things were composed of or in line with the “words” or truths of the faith (v. 6b).
[Paul, to the church leader Titus:] Be sincere and serious in your teaching. 8Use sound words that cannot be criticized, so that your enemies may be put to shame by not having anything bad to say about us. Titus 2:7b-8 GNT
[Jeremiah:] Then the Lord said to me, “Those [false] prophets are prophesying lies while claiming my authority! I did not send them. I did not commission them. I did not speak to them. They are prophesying to these people false visions, worthless predictions, and the delusions of their own mind. Jeremiah 14:14 NET
[Jeremiah, warning his people about false prophets:] They are filling you with false hopes. They are reporting visions of their own imaginations, not something the Lord has given them to say. 17They continually say to those who reject what the Lord has said, ‘Things will go well for you!’ They say to all those who follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts, ‘Nothing bad will happen to you!’ Jeremiah 23:16b-17 NET
False teachers (in view here) typically deny or dilute key aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The people of Berea were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive God’s message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11 GW
You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 17In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. Matthew 7:16-18 NET
As used here, “fruit” is that which one’s inner being or character produces – basically one’s words and actions. In a secondary sense, the effect of one’s words and actions – particularly on other people – is also one’s produce or “fruit”.