Posted in discernment, false doctrine, false teachers

"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


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.