7 Bible Verses About False Teachers, Pastors And Prophets

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Today, there may be more false teachers or pastors than biblically solid ones, so here are 7 Bible verses about false teachers to help you spot sinister ministers.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

The Apostle Paul wrote several verses about false teachers, probably because he encountered so many of them, and he wrote, “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” (2 Cor 11:13-15). Satan can appear behind the pulpit, but not like he really is, but he can appear as an “angel of light” or messenger of light, but we know that they are “false apostles” and “deceitful workmen” who are simply “disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” Even today, many claim that they are apostles of God, when we know that is not possible (Acts 1:21-23).

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

“…Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing …” Matthew 7:15

2 Peter 2:1-3

The Apostle Peter also warned us about false teachers who even claim to be apostles. That is still an issue today, even though the age of the Apostles closed with the death of the Apostle John, so that’s why Peter warned that there are “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 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 Pet 2:1-3). False apostles or teachers always seem to bring a “strange fire” into the church, but these frauds are from Satan himself and they bring with them “destructive heresies,” such as a works-based salvation.

Matthew 7:15

Jesus knew that there would be false prophets coming out of the woodwork throughout the ages, so He warned us all to “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt 7:15). If you know anything about wolves, you know they like to sneak up on and attack defenseless sheep. They might even look like a sheep, but we know inwardly, they are “ravenous wolves.” They look good on the outside, but we know that what’s in a person’s heart is more important than what they appear

1 John 1:4

You already know you can’t believe everything you hear…unless it is from the Bible, but the Apostle John warned the 1st century believers to “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” (1 John 1:4). How do you test them? By knowing your Bible and studying the Word of God. When you know the Word of God well enough, you can smell when something’s wrong. When placed against Scripture, many false prophets and teachers are exposed and their teachings can be clearly seen as false, so indeed, even more so today, there are “many false prophets [who] have gone out into the world” and placed themselves behind pulpits.

Jude 1:4

False teachers, pastors and prophets don’t just boldly walk into a church and say they are a false teacher. Rather, they tend to teach some truth, but mix it with error, but mixing error with truth renders it a whole lie, and Jude (Jesus’ half-brother) wrote about “certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:4). Notice that they creep in…being hardly noticed, but in the end, they “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” by teaching things contrary to Scripture.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

You don’t have to look very far to find a false teacher who is teaching false doctrine. The Apostle Paul warned Timothy that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). That verse is as relevant for today as there are hundreds of false pastors and teachers who are spurning the truth “and wander off into myths.” Some people are drawn to these types of preachers, but they only want to hear things that are pleasing to the ear…having an itching ear to hear good things. They don’t want to hear about the need for living holy lives, the need for daily repentance, and the command to grow in God’s grace and knowledge. Instead, they bring their own damnable heresies, leading many astray.

Matthew 24:24

It’s very rare, but some people have even claimed to be Jesus Christ at His second coming, but that’s so far off base that we know it’s false, but some false teachers make the lies sound so much like the truth that people are easily mislead. Jesus warned that in time, “false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matt 24:24). I am at least glad it’s not possible, but it is possible that these false teachers can lead many Christians to believe false doctrines…doctrines of demons (1 Tim 4:1).


Paul warned Timothy, and I believe he would have us know, that in the “later times,” many would be misled. Paul wrote that “the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Tim 4:1). This means that many or at least some will be learning doctrines of demons and from the chief sinister minister…Satan. We must know our Bible well enough to spot phony teachings and false prophets and apostles. If we know the Word of God well enough, then we can spot false teachings and heresies much more easily. That’s more important today than I believe it was in the 1st century.

Here is some related reading for you: How to Identify a False Prophet or Teacher

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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