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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

False Teachers (Galatians 1)

How many people do you think would raise their hands to the question, "do you spend time daily or even weekly in the Word of God, on your own?" If we don't spend time in the Word of God ourselves, how can we recognize and protect against false teaching?

How can we possibly recognize what is false if we don't spend time reading and studying what is true?

If we believe the Bible is the Word of God, why wouldn't it be a priority for us to read it and know what God has said to us and warned us about?

I think there are a couple of common responses to this question:

1) I don't understand it when I read it myself.

2) I trust my pastor to give me what I need to hear.

3) It just isn't a priority to me.

But Paul's letter to the Galatians warns us about false teaching. In fact it, also warns us about relying on the interpretations of others, even our spiritual leaders.

Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!

In this passage when Paul says "we," he is referring to himself as the spiritual leader of the Galatian church. This means that "we" also refers to our own spiritual leaders, pastors, ministers, priests, and teachers. We are to test all teaching against the Word of God, for ourselves:

1 Thessalonians 5:21 But examine everything carefully, hold fast to that which is good.

Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

I think our problem is we get comfortable in our own church, in our own Bible Study, or even in our own family and assume what we are being taught is not "a different gospel." But unless we are opening our Bible and testing the teaching against God's Word, we cannot know for sure if what is being taught is true.

Here's the thing, if there was a great deal of false teaching in Paul's day, how much more false teaching do you think there is today, almost 2,000 years after Paul wrote Galatians?

If you are reading these devotions, please test every one of them against God's Word, for yourselves. If you are in my Bible Study, please test all teaching against God's Word, for yourselves. We all need to test all teaching.

One other point that is important in this Galatians verse is, "but even if an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you." There are multiple religious groups out there presenting a "different gospel" which they claim was given to their founder by an angel.

But it does not matter the source or how nice people are in their presentation. If they don't teach that Jesus is fully God and fully man; creator God who stepped off of His throne in heaven, took on human flesh when He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on a cross, was buried, and rose from the dead 3 days later, it does not match Scripture.

If the teaching says Jesus was created, it does not match Scripture:

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God. [3] All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Colossians 1:15-17 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. [17] He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Do you know how FBI agents and bank tellers are trained to recognize fake currency? They study the real currency and become intimately familiar with what is true so they can easily recognize what is false.

If we don't spend time daily in God's Word, becoming intimately familiar with what is true, how can we possibly recognize what is false?

Dear Lord, Thank you for Paul's reminder through his letter to the Galatians that I need to make sure I am testing all teaching against Your Word. It's easy to relax and forget to test teaching coming from my own pastor and other pastors and teachers I trust. But Your Word tells me to test all teaching, even from those I trust. So thank you for the reminder and for the protection in Your Word against false teaching. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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