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Three Symptoms Of False Teachers

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15 NASB95).

False teaching abounds today. Jesus warns that even the elect will be deceived (Matthew 24:24).

How can you discern a false teacher?

Since COVID, most of us are super aware of symptoms. When my wife started coughing recently, I didn’t ask how she felt, I asked her if she had lost her taste.

Agreed, not my best moment as a husband!

As COVID causes an awareness of symptoms, I think it should be the same with false teaching. COVID and false teaching are both plagues today.

And both have warning signs.

Below, I list three symptoms that alert me to potential wolves in sheep’s clothing.

1. Recent Research 

When someone defends a weird idea with the justification of “recent research,” I don’t admit my lack of knowledge or get defensive, I ask, “What research?” Usually, they will quote someone, who when I read that someone, quotes someone else.

With an abundance of requoting, I find lots of inconsistencies in “recent research.”

2. The Greek or Hebrews Says 

Self-named scholars bandy about their insights from the Greek. Most of it is gobbledygook.

Let me caution.

In the last few years, more has been discovered about Greek and Hebrew than ever before. In the distant past, scholars traveled to study manuscripts in museums. Those manuscripts are now available on the internet.

Great about new and helpful information. Bad that every Tom, Dick, and Harry can now be a Greek scholar.

(By the way, the original English for “Tom, Dick, and Harry” has been traced to a manuscript by Shakespeare that reads,”…call them by their names as Tom, Dicke, and Francis.”

Original Greek, Hebrew, and English – study the original, but be careful.

3. The Culture Back Then

I’ve been researching a scholar (giving him the benefit of the doubt). He claims many things can be discovered about the book of Genesis by understanding the culture of that time.

I agree, but please, use extreme discernment.

Scholars date Genesis – conservatives about 1500 B.C. and liberals about 500 B.C.

How do we know what culture was like 2,500 to 3,500 years ago? Also, there are relatively few sources for this information. My teenage daughters always informed me that I knew nothing of their generation – with only a few decades separating us.

We can know a lot because the Bible tells us. But adding culture as a co-source of the Bible for our salvation story – are we following wolves too easily?

Don’t be intimidated into false thinking by statements like, “Recent research, along with new studies in the Greek and Hebrew, show us ‘culture back then’ is the best interpreter of Scripture.”

If you listen and change age-old core beliefs upon this evidence…

Have you lost your sense of taste and smell?