Introduction: How do you know, when it comes to your understanding of
God, if someone is leading you astray? How do you know if I’m leading
you down the wrong path in these lessons? If I might put in a word in
my own defense: my questions start with you reading the Bible. It is
hard to get too far off the path when your point of reference is the
Bible! Peter warns his audience that false teachers have historically
been a problem and will be a problem in the future. Let’s dig into
our study of the Bible and see what we can learn to protect ourselves
against false teaching!

  1. False Teachers

    1. Read Deuteronomy 13:1-3. What is and what is not a
      criteria for determining whether a prophet is false? (What
      is not a criteria is whether the prophecy comes true. What
      is a criteria is whether the prophet suggests that you
      follow other gods.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 18:22. How does this sharpen our thinking
      about whether what a prophet says comes true? (In this
      case the prophet is speaking in the name of the true God.
      But, the prophecy does not come true. We need not be
      concerned about prophets like that.)

    3. Read Jeremiah 23:30-31. If a prophet gives credit to the
      true God of heaven, is that proof that he or she is a true
      prophet? (No. A person can make up his own prophecy, or
      borrow it from someone else, and still attribute it to the
      true God. But, that does not validate that person as a

      1. Notice again the last part of Deuteronomy 18:22.
        This, again, is a prophecy that God did not give. Is
        this a false prophet? (The text says that “prophet
        has spoken presumptuously.” If the penalty is “do not
        be afraid of him,” then this is, at least, an
        unreliable prophet.)

    4. Have you noticed the “one way streets?” If a prophet
      correctly predicts the future or gives credit to the true
      God, that does not validate that prophet. However, if a
      prophet incorrectly predicts the future or directs people
      to false gods, then that is a false prophet.)

    5. Read Lamentations 2:14. What other warning sign should we
      look for in a false prophet? (They do not speak about sin
      so that we can stay out of trouble.)

    6. Read 2 Peter 2:1. In what way are false teachers like
      false prophets of the Old Testament? (They deny that Jesus
      is Lord. They introduce heresy.)

      1. What happens to these false teachers? (They suffer
        “swift destruction.”)

    7. Read 2 Peter 2:2-3. What is another result that follows
      false teaching? (It brings the way of truth “into

      1. What parallel do we find to false prophets? (False
        teachers make up stories, just like false prophets
        made up prophecies.)

      2. If you have a “presumptuous” teacher (compare
        Deuteronomy 18:22), who is teaching something not
        from God, is that also a false teacher? (The same
        “don’t be afraid of him” should apply.)

    8. Read Mark 9:38-40. What is not part of being a false
      prophet or teacher? (Just because you are not part of the
      “group” (your church or denomination) does not mean that
      you are a false prophet or teacher. Notice that this
      person both performs miracles and does it in the name of

  2. Punishment for False Teachers

    1. Read 2 Peter 2:4-6. We are going to stop before Peter
      finishes his sentence. What does this suggest about the
      fate of false prophets and false teachers? (God knows how
      to punish those who do wrong and how to protect those who
      do right.)

    2. Read 2 Peter 2:7-9. I broke up this sentence because I
      wanted to focus on Lot. Did Lot have good judgment? (Why
      didn’t Lot move? If he was tormented and troubled by the
      wickedness around him, why not move? Why let his wife and
      family be pulled into evil?)

      1. Why does it say that God saved Lot?

    3. Read 2 Peter 2:10 (first part). What are the two evil
      traits of those who “especially” worthy of judgment (2
      Peter 2:9)? (They follow their sinful nature, and they are
      rebels against authority.)

    4. Read 2 Peter 2:10-12. Think about this. Do people you know
      “slander” those who live in heaven? (I’ve heard those who
      make fun of God.)

      1. Is denying that God is the Creator who spoke the
        world into existence a “slander?” (If I had created
        the universe in six days by speaking, and someone
        said that was a lie, and that everything evolved by
        chance and natural selection, I would consider that a

  3. Crime and Punishment

    1. Read 2 Peter 2:13-14. Peter writes that these false
      teachers “carouse in broad daylight.” Are the character
      defects of these false teachers something that is hard to
      discern? (No! Peter writes it is plain for us to see.
      Remember that in 2 Peter 2:10 he called them “bold and
      arrogant.” This is not some secret heresy.)

      1. When Peter writes that their “eyes” are “full of
        adultery” do you think he is referring to sexual
        sins? (Read Matthew 12:39, Hosea 1:2, and Revelation
        17:1-2. Sexual sins may be included, but I think
        Peter is writing about unfaithfulness to God. This
        goes back to our earlier discussion about false
        prophets directing us to other gods.)

    2. Read 2 Peter 2:15. What do you know about Balaam? (Read
      Numbers 22:10-12. The Moabite king wanted Balaam to curse
      God’s people as they were on their exodus from Egypt.)

    3. Read 2 Peter 2:16. Did Balaam say, “I would not consider
      cursing God’s special people?” (Read Numbers 22:32-33. The
      whole story is one of Balaam trying to go as far as
      possible to win the favor (and the money) of the Moabite
      king. It was a reckless course, and Balaam was saved by
      his donkey.”)

      1. Are you dumber than a donkey? What is Peter’s point?
        (False teachers want to be part of what wickedness
        “pays.” They want the “rewards” of the world. They
        go so far that even a donkey can see the problem.)

    4. Read 2 Peter 2:17-18. Do you know teachers like this?
      (Many years ago, I visited a couple and they asked if I
      had read the books of a certain religious writer. My
      answer was “no,” but I sat down and read part of the book.
      It was written in words that sounded religious, but it
      promoted what the natural heart would want, and not
      Biblical standards. In my mind it was obvious nonsense. My
      first thought was that I could write books like that and
      make a lot of money. My next thought was it would be hard
      to imagine a greater sin than that! I think this is what
      Peter is talking about.)

    5. Read 2 Peter 2:19-20. Peter says the promise of these
      false teachers is “freedom.” What kind of freedom does he
      mean? (Peter uses these terms: “slaves of depravity,”
      “entangled in” and “corruption.” What are the sins of the
      world? What are the sins that entangled you before you
      were converted? These false teachers argue that you can
      enjoy the freedom of the sins that previously beset your
      life while still being a Christian.)

      1. Those of you who regularly read these lessons know
        that I am a strong advocate of grace. However, grace
        is not a license to sin. I recall a person speaking
        about a very serious sin and saying, “God will
        forgive me.” God does forgive sin, but God also died
        to show that the law is just. We benefit by keeping
        the law.

      2. Let me give you two examples. A person rides a
        motorcycle without a helmet because the rider
        believes in the skill of those working in the local
        hospital. A person pays no attention to diet and
        exercise, because of the ability of surgeons to
        successfully perform heart bypass surgery. Does this
        make any logical sense?

    6. Look again at the last part of 2 Peter 2:20. Why are these
      people worse off? (They now feel justified in their
      corruption. How can they turn to what is right when they
      believe that God sanctions evil?)

    7. Read 2 Peter 2:21-22. If the dog is back in vomit and the
      pig back in mud, why would it have been better to never
      know “the way of righteousness?” (Because of their example
      to others. Being in the vomit and mud is now argued to be
      the right thing.)

    8. Friend, Peter tells us that some false teaching is
      obvious. If a teacher undermines the true God or leads you
      back into a sinful way of life, then you have to be dumber
      than a donkey not to see the problem. Will you keep your
      eyes open and your mind alert when you hear new teaching?

  4. Next week: The Day of the Lord.