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False Teaching



Scripture: Psalm 1:1–2; 1 Timothy 1:3–11, 4:1–2, 6:3–5, 20–21

Memory verse: Psalm 1:1–2
"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked...but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night."


Use an object lesson to introduce today’s study. You will need poster board or cardboard, pencil, scissors, and a ruler.

Explain that when we make or create something, we often need to use a method of measuring so the project will come out correctly. Ask the students to name projects that require the use of some type of measuring tool. Suggestions could include items for baking, sewing, plumbing, and carpentry.

Display the poster board, ruler, pencil, and scissors. Explain that you will conduct an experiment. Use the ruler to measure and draw a rectangle shape on one side of the poster board. Cut out the rectangle. Lay aside the ruler and hand the rectangle, pencil, and scissors to a student. Instruct him to trace around the rectangle and cut out a second rectangle. Ask him to give the original rectangle back to you. He should then pass the materials, including his rectangle, to the student beside him.

The second student should use the first student’s rectangle to trace another rectangle. He should then return the first student’s rectangle. Repeat this process with each new student using the rectangle most recently cut out as a measure. When the poster board has been used up, compare the size of the last rectangle cut out to that of the first rectangle. A difference in size should be obvious. Ask the students to explain why all the rectangles are not the same size.

Hold up the ruler. Explain that, for measurements to be accurate, the standard measuring tool must be used. This is also true in our spiritual lives. We have one sure standard for life and faith—the Bible. In today’s study we will be learning more about the importance of using only the Bible as our standard for measuring truth.

Hearing God’s Word

The Bible is the Christian’s guidebook. It not only shows how to get to heaven but also what to do on earth before we go there. Some people think they do not need to study the Bible to learn how to be good Christians. They feel they have special “insights” that are different from what the Bible says. Paul called these people “false teachers.” (Ask a student to look up the meaning of the word false in the dictionary and read it aloud.)

Paul gives Timothy Instructions

Timothy was Paul’s friend and co-worker. He was faithful to Paul and to studying God’s Word. When Paul heard that false teachers were confusing the Christians in Ephesus (EHF-UH-SUHS), He sent Timothy to guide the people back to the truth, God’s Word.

It was not easy telling people their special ideas were lies and not from God. Timothy may have grown discouraged when some of the false teachers refused to listen to him. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote a letter to encourage Timothy to continue teaching the truth. This letter is the Book of 1 Timothy.

In 1 Timothy Paul explains why these false teachers wanted to teach lies and how Timothy could spot their teachings. Because these guidelines are in the Bible, we know they are true and are to be obeyed.

False Teaching Causes Problems

What does 1 Timothy 1:3, 4 say false teaching causes? (Instruct a student to look up these verses and read them aloud.) It causes questions that lead to arguments and confusion. So much false teaching existed in Ephesus that the people were not worshipping Jesus or learning how to serve Him. They were fighting and fussing with one another—things Jesus certainly does not want in our lives. (Write “Signs of False Teaching” on the chalkboard and list each point.)

(Ask a student to read 1 Timothy 1:6, 7.) Some people taught others wrong beliefs because they did not really understand the truth. They had not studied God’s laws long enough to teach others. (Write “Lack of Understanding” on the chalkboard.)

Ask: What are some ways people can learn about God’s laws? (Allow responses.)

(Emphasize ways, such as the church’s teaching, Bible reading, and seeking help from strong, stable Christians.)

Being confused about what God’s Word says is not the only sign of false teaching. (Instruct a student to read 1 Timothy 4:1, 2. Then write “Refusal to Believe the Truth” on the chalkboard.) Some of the lies being taught in Ephesus came from men who had given up their belief in Jesus. They were so deceived they thought the devil had the right answers. False doctrines often have just enough truth to confuse and convince people to believe. Many people today are involved in the occult. They seek truth from Satan, the father of lies, rather than God, the real source of truth.

The Bible says there were people during Jesus’ time who were filled with demons.

Ask: Can you remember any details about a demon–possessed person Jesus healed? (Allow responses).

(You may wish to suggest one, such as the man of Gadara (GAD-uh-ruh) in Luke 8.)

Demons sought to destroy every person they entered, but Jesus brought deliverance. Anyone who is interested in the devil’s influence does not know the dangers of such actions and is not a friend of Jesus or His Word.

Our Consciences Help Us

Paul explained to Timothy that the false teachers in Ephesus had their “conscience seared with a hot iron.” They had refused to listen to the Holy Spirit, who convicts men of sin. They had hardened themselves toward God so much the Holy Spirit could not speak to their hearts.

Our consciences are a good gift. They help keep us out of trouble. Imagine the difficulties you would get into if your conscience never warned you not to do wrong things. You would probably spend a great deal of your life being punished for things you did wrong. False teachers do not listen to the Holy Spirit or the Bible. They feel they know the best way. They have believed Satan’s lies.

Knowing What the Bible Says

Maybe you have schoolmates who think they know a lot about the Bible, but they have never gone to church. Suppose they said to you, “It does not matter if we steal these candy bars as long as the store has plenty of them” You know the Bible says something about stealing, but you cannot remember where. How would you go about finding the verse you need?

(Accept answers such as asking a parent or pastor, but guide the students toward other answers, such as using a concordance or Bible dictionary. Let a volunteer use a concordance now to find a command against stealing. Show them how to look up a key word.)

This week’s memory verse says we are “blessed” if we do not listen to ungodly men. It is found in Psalm 1:1, 2. (Repeat the verse together several times.)

False Teaching on Money

False teachers also lead people astray for money. (Ask a student to read 1 Timothy 6:3-5. Then write “Personal Gain” on the chalkboard.) The false teachers thought being a Christian was a good way to make money. They may have charged the people a lot to hear them teach, or maybe they told the people, “Follow Jesus and you will get rich.”

Ask: Has Jesus promised to make us rich? (Allow responses, and then instruct a student to read 1 Timothy 6:6–10.)

Ask: Was Jesus rich when He was on earth? (Ask a student to read Matthew 8:20.)

Jesus did not have a home or fancy clothes. Our greatest gift is being content with what we have.

Beware of Satan’s Lies

(Read 1 Timothy 6:20, 21.) We must keep the truth of the Bible in our hearts and refuse to accept teaching that is false.

False teachers will be punished someday and so will all who have foolishly followed them. (Read Jeremiah 23:16–19.) Satan does his best to deceive us. He makes his lies look good to us. Many will be tricked by him and lose their relationship with God. But we do not have to be like them. We have God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Accepting God’s Word

Impress upon your students the uselessness of trying to combat false teachings without Jesus’ help. Ask if any of the students would like to accept Jesus as their Saviour. Pray with any who respond. Tell the students that to recognize false teachings they should learn and obey what the Bible teaches. Attending church is another way to receive the truth from God’s Word. Encourage them to share about their decision for Jesus with someone this week.

Encourage your students to be aware of Satan’s tricks as he tries to get them to believe false teaching. Challenge them to be careful that the things they read, hear, or do agree with what the Bible says. Remind them that the only weapon against false teaching is God’s Word.

Present the information about the Fanya tribe in Chad given below.

Meet the Fanya

Living in relative isolation on the savannah plains north of the wide Chari River, the Fanya are very proud of their identity. They are said to be related to the Bua, their cousins on the other side of the Chari River. But unlike the Bua, who are great fishers, the Fanya are known for their hunting skills.

The elders of the villages remember the time when the wild animals were so plentiful that one could almost walk up to an antelope and catch it with bare hands. But now, because of the revolutionary changes that have affected the nation, it is impossible for the Fanya to live off the wild game they hunt.

The Fanya have had to resort to farming millet and raising chickens to supplement their diet. Even now, when a Fanya farmer working in his field hears the yelp of a jackal or the snort of a warthog, he will want to drop his planting hoe and pick up his hunting spear.

Pray for the Fanya tribe in Chad

1. Biblical truth be presented to the Fanya,
2. The Holy Spirit to anoint the Word of God,
3. Hundreds to accept the truth and find Jesus as their personal Saviour.

Prayer Promise

"And with your (Jesus) blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9).

MORE INFORMATION: www.joshuaproject.net


Memory verse: Psalm 1:1–2
"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked...but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night."

1. False teachers are people who think their ideas are better than the teaching of Scripture.
2. False teachers often live a life contrary to the teaching of the Bible.
3. I will test all teaching to see if it agrees with the Bible.

Pray for the Fanya tribe in Chad.

Study 14 | Give to God / Paul Writes | africaatts.org/go-teach

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