"But you can't know that [false teacher's] heart! You can't ascribe motivations!" Yes. Yes we can.

One of the common accusations from defenders of false teachers lodged against Christians who make the claim, is that no one can know their heart. That no one can know their motives. They say therefore it is not fair to make such claims. Only God can judge.

Once you know how to spot them, the fakes are easy to see.
That's a synopsis of their argument, an increasingly frequent one. But is it true? Let's look at the Bible.

First, in order to make a determination whether a teacher is teaching according to the bible or is straying from Christ's doctrines, we test them. (1 John 4:1). We test what they teach against the bible- no matter who they are! (Acts 17:11). If they preach a different Jesus, (1 Timothy 1:3-4; 2 Corinthians 11:4) fail to affirm His word, deny what the bible says (or that God said it), bear no fruit, or has a life that is below reproach, among other identifiers, they are false. They must accurately teach the full counsel of God through a life that stands up to scrutiny.

Once you've tested a teacher and they have fallen short, you know that they're false. Now we can look at bible verses about false teachers to learn more about what motivates them and how they operate.

Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— Galatians 2:4 (cf. 2 Peter 2:1).
  • Their motivation is jealousy.
  • Their purpose is destruction of the true brethren.
  • Their method is by adding works.
[The above in context were the Judaizers preaching works, circumcision].

And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:3)
  • Their motivation is greed.
  • Their purpose is exploitation.
  • Their method is oratory.
Trivia: the Greek word for the term "false" above is from a root of plastós –  which is the root of the English term, "plastic"

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. (Romans 16:17-18)
  • Their motivation is their own appetites.
  • Their purpose is personal satisfaction.
  • Their method is flattery.


Once a person has been deemed a false teacher, we DO know their heart. We DO know their motivations. The bible states them, not just in those three verses, but in many others too. A false teacher's motivations and heart are evil and at enmity against God. They do not seek to glorify God and worship Jesus in His authority (they hate authority) but they seek to--
  • Blight Jesus' name
  • Destroy you
  • Satisfy themselves
  • Get money
FMI on false teachers, these New Testament books were written to educate us as to the false teachers' methods: Please read Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude

False teachers and their plastic words ... one after another. Beware.

Further Reading-

How to Treat False Teachers

The Strange Case of Brenda Maxwell


  1. Just within the last week or two, there has been an uptick of accusations toward legitimate Christians, taking the words out of their mouths, twisting them, and trying to stuff them back in. It seems to be approaching an epidemic. Regenerated true believers are being condemned, their motives questioned, their message perverted. The false message has taken a new direction, so that legitimacy is on the run, much like the Jews in France. We must remember who the accuser is.

  2. It's amazing to me where we can find false teachers, false prophets, in the world of 2015. And I'm not simply talking about in the church or in Christian dimensions or environments.

    Huge numbers of false teachers are found on talk radio. (I think CoasttoCoastAM is a horror show, fraught with them).

    They're also found on television--I fear TBN as well as other Christian networks are loaded with them. As to the latter, I began to understand what was happening when the network booted Hal Lindsey, a man who did not stand for the late Paul Crouch's accusation that TBN was being assailed by heresy hunters. There was a night when Jan Crouch stood up to a false teacher who was trying to convince her that there would be a need to return to animal sacrifice in the Kingdom, noting that Scripture allowed for the use of sacrificial instruments and animals then. Mrs. Crouch blew the teacher apart, saying there was no NEED for such sacrifice, because the precious blood of Jesus negated the need for such sacrifice. (I can't remember whether or not she said the allowance for animal sacrifice will be Scriptural but not necessary.) But after that, in my view, TBN really began to go down hill. I don't want to speculate about the latter rumors about Paul Crouch.

    There is another thing about false teachers and false prophets. Scripture hunts them down like a Hellfire missile hunts down targets. My late mother-in-law, at one point, was having eye problems and, as a result, she could not read or watch TV very effectively. So she would take a morning, lie down and put a moist washcloth over her eyes. She would turn on the radio and listen to the preachers and teachers. Though in here younger years and in the first years of her marriage she had been subjected to many kinds of false teaching, she knew a couple of things: that Jesus Christ was her personal Savior, and that the Bible is true. As she began to listen to these men and women, and really hear for the first time in her life, she began to sort out the True teachers from the false teachers. She began to reject many of them--and in her earlier world, many of the ones she rejected were and are looked upon as world champion Bible teachers, And her only weapon was the remembered Word of God. The Word of God will wreck a false teacher's agenda every time.

    Jim Porter

    1. I'd like to know when TBN wasn't full of false teachers!

  3. The Bible says that what's in the heart comes out of the mouth...out of the mouth the heart speaks. So a false teacher is going to reveal himself/herself sooner or later. The rotten fruit will manifest itself. The sheep will reject it because it won't be the voice of their Shepherd, but the goats will gobble it up.

    1. Thank you for the good perspective, Sheryl. Absolutely right- sadly.


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