Do you recognize false teachers in the world today? On Paul’s final trip to Jerusalem, he stopped for one final meeting with the elders in Ephesus on this very topic (Acts 20:17). He warned them, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29–30). This prophecy came true. In today’s reading Paul warns Timothy about these false teachers.
Paul reminds Timothy that he should not be surprised that false teachers infiltrated the church. In these “later times,” one of Satan’s most potent weapons is false teaching (v. 1). First and foremost, they are deceptive. Paul calls them “hypocritical liars” and people “whose consciences have been seared” (v. 2). But even though they are contrary to God’s truth, these demonic teachings appear reasonable and compelling to many. In this instance, false teachers were teaching that the resurrection of believers had already occurred (2 Tim. 2:18). This led them to forbid marriage and certain kinds of food.
The problem with this teaching was that it denied a central tenet of Scripture: “everything God created is good” (v. 4). Paul echoes the teaching of Jesus by declaring that all foods are clean (Luke 11:40–41). Paul advises them that food should be “received with thanksgiving” (v. 3). God has created food as a provision for us. It is a gift to be received in gratitude.
>> False teachers still exist today. C. S. Lewis once wrote that Christians can fall into two opposite errors in thinking about demons. “One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive . . . interest in them.” Part of growing as a Christian is understanding biblical truth which protects us from the lies of Satan.