Marks of a False Teacher

Posted by John Hopler on

For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses.  – 2 Timothy 3:6

In this letter to Timothy, Paul trains him to identify marks of a false teacher. Why? For two purposes. First, it was a caution to Timothy that he not fall into certain traps. Second, these warnings equipped Timothy to stand up against those who threatened the church.

What stands out to me in this passage is that these false teachers focused on females. As pastors, we certainly are to have a ministry to women. We are to share God’s truth with men and women. But Scripture puts a great emphasis on men training men and women teaching women. Jesus trained the Twelve, all of whom were men. Paul also trained men like Titus, Timothy, and many others. He told Titus to urge older women to train younger women (Titus 2:4). Multiplication occurs when we emphasize men training men and women training women.

Are pastors to care for orphans and widows? Absolutely. Are pastors to meet the needs of women in the church? Certainly! But when a pastor’s time is focused on women, it is a warning sign. Apart from the moral temptations, an inordinate amount of time spent by a pastor with women is a “yellow light” that should cause some serious self-evaluation and outside accountability.

These false teachers entered households of women (Warning sign #1), focused on weak women (Warning sign #2) who were vulnerable, easily swayed by their sins and emotions (Warning sign #3). This kind of “church ministry” by so-called “pastors” is, unfortunately, far more prevalent in America than we think. And it is to be avoided.

Men in ministry, how much of your day is devoted to counseling women? And how much of your day is devoted to training men?

Submitted by:
John Hopler
Great Commission Churches
Worthington, Ohio

One-Year Bible Reading
1 Chronicles 22:1-23:32
Romans 3:9-31
Psalm 12:1-8
Proverbs 19:13-14

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SCRIPTURE REFERENCES: Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are from the Holy, Bible, New International Version, copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society; (KJV) are from the Authorized or King James Version of the Bible; (LB) are from The Living Bible © 1971 by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, IL; (TM) are from The Message © 1993 by NavPress Publishers; (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publisher, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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