Posted in theology

How to tell a false Bible teacher from a true teacher

By Elizabeth Prata

We know that Acts 17:11 tells us to compare what a teacher is teaching to the Bible. Paul was not offended when the Bereans did just that. Instead, he called them noble! The main way you can tell if a person is teaching rightly, is by comparing what they teach and how they behave, with the Word.

Ladies, here is another way to begin detecting if the person you follow as a Bible teacher is false or true-

I see many Beth Moore defenders defend Moore’s teaching with emotional words and familar nicknames, such as ‘Auntie Beth’, saying they “grow closer to Jesus” through her lessons, and state other warm fuzzy type defenses of her teaching. But HOW do we grow closer to Jesus? There is only one way.

Any Bible teacher, if teaching rightly, will extract from the Bible its truths, including truth about sin and our need for repentance – not just upon salvation, but every day. He or she will then teach those truths. You will know you are “growing closer to Jesus” if said teaching-

reveals unknown sin in your heart,
or if you are convicted of your sins,
or if you drive yourself back to the Bible to seek Jesus,
or if your affections change from carnal to holy,
or if you learn more about Jesus,
or if you desire to pursue holiness,
or if you want to treat others above yourself,
or all of the above!

Those are a few ways you can tell if you are ACTUALLY growing closer to Him.

This will happen because the true Bible teacher will be extracting truth from the Bible, which is living and active. Its writ thus delivered to you will knit conviction of sin, self-denial, and love for Jesus for who He is (not how He makes you feel or what you can get from Him).

If a teacher is false,

you will feel good and warm and have fuzzies during and after the lessons. But you know full well that emotions are fickle. They evaporate.
or when the buzz of the teaching dissipates, you still feel the same,
or if your knowledge of Jesus is less but your knowledge of that teacher is more,
or if your prayer life isn’t energized,
or your conscience isn’t pricked toward repentance,
or if your affections haven’t changed,
or if you still pursue carnal things at the expense of your conscience,
or if you’re in a rut and decide to grab ANOTHER ‘study’ from that teacher because you need to feel good again, and not because you want to know more of Jesus,
or all of the above!

then that teacher is false.

Why is she called “Auntie Beth” by so many? She makes people feel good. They enjoy her funny and charming personal anecdotes that makes them feel close to her in some way, a connection. She makes them feel cared for- but a false teacher’s love is a false love and a carnal love. It’s a carnal love because its origin is fleshly, which includes overlooking sin, love of self, and pursuit of a different Jesus than the one the Bible presents.

As for the cutesy nickname the flat screen admirers give Beth Moore, just think on this. We don’t call a Charles Spurgeon ‘Uncle Charlie’ or John MacArthur “Daddy John” or Paul Washer “Paulie dear”. Why not? Not that nicknames and familiar terms for people we admire are necessarily bad. But these men have a dignity in teaching that comes from their devotion to and teaching of the holy Word of God. Likewise older women are supposed to have a dignity as well, (Titus 2:5) exhibiting deep knowledge of doctrine and living a lifestyle that results in inhibiting such over-familiarity and pet nicknames from people.

Amy Carmichael’s sickroom was called The Room of Peace. China Missionary Gladys Aylward was called The Virtuous One. Spurgeon was called The Prince of Preachers. They received respectful nicknames and not cutesy ones because these teachers were unashamed of the Gospel. Remember, most people who call Beth Moore “Auntie Beth” don’t even know her personally, but know only the persona Beth chooses to present through a screen.Β 

These concepts I’ve outlined in this brief blog stand for any teacher, but especially celebrity teachers such as Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, etc. Technology’s constant presence and our ability to stream material at-will 24/7 means that we tend to think that our favorite celebrity teachers and preachers are closer to us than they really are. True Bible teachers have students who learn and grow in holiness.

[T]he true prophet must preach what he believes to be the truth, uninfluenced by any considerations of what will please others or profit himself, and must accept no man’s conscience as a substitute for his own, and must be ready to go on a diet of bread and water for a testimony to his sincerity-above and beyond all these, he must have laid hold of the eternal principles of divine government, and whole truths, not half-truths, must be the basis of his preaching.

Source of above quote: True and False Prophets in 1 Kings, Chap. 22, Author(s): Dean A. Walker, Source: The Biblical World, Oct., 1902, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 272-277


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

4 thoughts on “How to tell a false Bible teacher from a true teacher

  1. As always, wonderfully written and filled with the truth of our Lord. Had to stop following another woman on facebook as she was praising the newest Joyce Meyer “bible” study. I questioned it and wow, was I taken to task. I said my peace, linked to you and Michelle and let it be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for speaking up! It is getting harder and harder to do so, with the rising vitriol aganst anyone who says anything negative against any of the culture’s favorite celebrity teachers. Thanks for the link πŸ™‚


  2. In Bible Study Fellowlship this year, we are studying the minor prophets, and we learned a list that God taught the people so they could identify a false prophet.
    1. What they said went along with the revealed Word of God. (the Law, then)
    2. What they said did not lead people into idolatry or to false gods.
    3. What they said happened, or with the long range prophets, it is aligned with the holiness and will of God.
    Much the same as with false teachers today.
    I recently visited my niece and nephew in Pennsylvania – a godly couple, involved in their church. But the bookshelf in the guest bedroom had no less than 20 books written by Joyce Meyer. Sadly, I didn’t say anything to her.

    Liked by 1 person

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