Read 1 Timothy 4:1-16
If you had received the same orders that Timothy had received, how well would you do? Hopefully you remember that Paul wanted Timothy to stay in Ephesus, “so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer” (1:3). Would you recognize false teaching…let alone confront it?
Sure, there are different flavors of false teaching, but the specific kinds that Paul had in mind had some of these characteristics:
- Its ultimate source was not divine but demonic. (v. 1)
- Its human mouthpieces were “expect something from you, but not as much from me” deceivers. (v. 2)
- Its authority stems from irreverent myths and silly wives’ tales. (v. 7)
- By nature, it legalistically restricts freedoms that God gives to his people. (vv. 3-5)
Now, there are other forms of false teaching that are just as dangerous. For example, many today would pretend to use Scriptural authority while claiming freedom in areas that God has restricted.
The real key to identifying the false teaching is the principle emphasized among experts trained to recognize counterfeit money. They become so familiar with the genuine currency that the attempts at imitating it stand out. Timothy, you see…
- Had been brought up in the truths of the faith (v. 6)
- Had followed good teaching (v. 6)
- Was to diligently study and correctly handle the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15)
- Was to publicly declare the truths of Scripture (v. 13)
- Was to watch and persevere in sound doctrine (v. 16)
So . . . back to my original question . . . would you be able to identify false teaching? Your ability to do so will grow as you give attention to the word of God. The dangers of being pulled in to an unbiblical worldview are very real. Up your commitment to the Bible today!