The New Testament continually warns that believers are to be on their guard against false teachers.
One day I asked this vital question, “How does someone become a false teacher?”
There are only a couple of reasons why someone becomes a false teacher.
The biggest reason for many is that there is something to gain. Some leaders are searching for money, sex, or power. They distort the gospel of Jesus for personal advancement. These people have evil desires and manipulate others for their gain.
There is a second set of reasons people become false teachers. These are more subtle because they are not truly evil. Yet, they bring about the same problems.
Some people have been led astray by someone. Their mentor might have been seeking evil gain, and they did not know it, and now they are repeating the same mistakes. Others have been misinformed or uninformed on proper theology. Still, some misinterpret scriptures while others misapply the Bible.
I know of a person whose beliefs have been molded by society, the history channel, college professors, and liberal authors. I talked to them about the proper interpretation of the Bible, and they had no idea what I was talking about. They were a false teacher without even knowing it.
In a section of Paul’s letter to Timothy about false teachers, he encourages him to “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 – NIV 2011)
There were numerous false teachers already circulating before the end of the New Testament. They still exist today. One quest for every believer is to make sure they are not listening to one, but the more significant hope is that we do not become one.