What Does the Bible Say about False Teachers?
There is nothing new about false teachers. You should not be surprised when you run into one. It is not a new thing if one is in your church. Yes, it is always upsetting to hear someone mangling the Word of God or preaching a false Gospel. But, there is a reason the Bible warns us many times to be on guard for the charlatans, fake apostles, and apostate teachers. They are always on the prowls trying to tear down God’s people.
There are many cults and false teachers. There are quite a few people who call themselves prophets, apostles or anointed of God who are not. Your church may be led by one of these clouds without water as Jude calls them. They are men and women who look and sound the part of Godly leaders but don’t deliver the real Word of God. They preach doctrines of demons instead. They may even be in your church poised to wreak havoc. If they are, you may have to leave. Should I Leave My Church? A Pastor’s Answer
This can seem like this is a new thing. Yet, as the writer of Ecclesiastes writes, “There is nothing new under the Sun”. Men have been attempting to pervert the Word of God for their own gain since the beginning. Satan will do anything to sneak into the church and lead you astray. He even masquerades as an angel of light. False teachers and prophets have been attacking the church from the very first. You should not be surprised, therefore, that you have to deal with them. They may look good but their fruit is rotten and they are devouring the sheep.
The Bible is very clear that you must always be on guard against false teachers, more so as you see Jesus’ return coming. Are you testing your teachers against the Word of God? Have you examined the spirit behind them?
Here are 33 Chilling Bible Verses on False Teachers to arm you up and get you started.
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33 Chilling Bible Verses on False Teachers
1) Matthew 7:15
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
I know this is a familiar verse but notice Jesus’ warning. The false prophets don’t come in wearing all black and announcing they are from Satan. They dress up like sheep and pretend to be sheep. They object and argue when people point out they are wolves. You cannot be fooled by their claims. Judge by their teaching and conduct. Wolves teach a different gospel. Wolves prey on the sheep.
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2) Deuteronomy 18:20-22
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
This is an important verse for you to judge anyone who claims to speak for God. If a person says they have any message from God – via a word, a dream, or vision – it must come true or they are not prophets. The penalty for doing this in the Old Testament was death. It is a huge deal. It is offensive to God for someone who does not speak for Him to claim to be doing so.
This does not mean the message is kind of true. It does not mean a prophet comes close in their prophecy – getting 2 out of 3 claims true. The person is claiming to speak for the All-Knowing God. If they don’t get things exactly right as claimed then it is not God. You should not listen to them.
3) Galatians 1:6-9
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Accursed in this passage means under the curse of God. It implies that the person is beyond hope of redemption. This is how seriously God takes those who deceive God’s people.
4) 1 John 4:1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
A preacher may feel important. You may get tingly or excited or weepy hearing the message of many of these showman. False teachers put on emotional productions designed to seduce and trick you. John warns us that just because it feels and seems good, doesn’t mean it is. You have to test the appeals and message against the Word and the Spirit of God.
It would not be easy to trick people into false doctrines if it did not feel good.
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5) 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
You cannot trust your instincts when protecting God’s church. You heart and your flesh would be deceived if left on your own just like Eve. Satan and his workers’ greatest weapon against you is deception. The sword, the Word of God is your weapon to defeat these attacks.
6) 1 John 4:1-6
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
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7) 2 Peter 2
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
Please notice two things big things. First, the false teachers are covetous of you. They want to own and possess you for themselves rather than shepherd you for God. They are obsessed with self. Pastor worship and control are signs you are dealing with a wolf.
Second, they will be successful. Many will follow them. A large and prosperous church is not a sign things are well in it. Millions of Frenchman can be wrong. Material success as a church actually just makes it easier to conceal the heresy.
8) Jeremiah 23:16
Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.
9) Jude 1:3-5
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
10) 2 Timothy 4
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
The remedy now is the same as it was 2,000 years ago. Preach the Word!
11) Matthew 24:24
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
12) Matthew 24:11
And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
13) Romans 16:18
For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
There is no compromising with false teachers. There is no close enough with someone who perverts God’s message. They are not working for God.
14) Luke 6:26
“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
15) Mark 13:22
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.
16) Jeremiah 14:14
And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.
17) Mark 7:6-9
And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!
18) Matthew 7
“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 thornbushes 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.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’Romans 16:17-18
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
19) Jeremiah 23:1-40
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. …
20) Ezekiel 22:28
And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord has not spoken.
21) Jeremiah 5:30-31
An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?
22) Matthew 24:4-5
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.
23) Isaiah 8:20
To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.
24) Deuteronomy 13:1-5
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
25) Colossians 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
26) Acts 13:6
When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus.
27) Lamentations 2:14
Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading.
28) Revelation 13:14
And by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
29) Revelation 2:20
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
30) 2 Corinthians 11:13
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
31) 1 Thessalonians 5:21
But test everything; hold fast what is good.
32) Micah 3:11
Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the Lord and say, “Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.”
33) Acts 20:29
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;