2 Peter & Jude

by Eileen Poh

Day 11

Read 2 Peter 2:10-12

In the film Forrest Gump, the main character Forrest Gump offers a box of chocolates to a woman sitting on a bench in the park, saying: ″My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.″ Forrest Gump is using a simile, which is a figure of speech that compares two things. The use of similes–which usually use words such as ″like″ or ″as″–can be a powerful literary device to make a point.

We must be on our guard and not be swayed by charismatic personalities or teachings that appear to be novel and sensational.

Peter uses a stark simile to describe the false teachers in 2 Peter 2:12–he likens them to ″unreasoning animals″. Animals are not rational creatures; they are ruled by their basic instincts. They have only one end: they are pursued, caught, and killed. Similarly, the false teachers do not act according to reason. In their audacity and conceit, they act in outrageous ways. They even mock the ″celestial beings″ who rebel against God (2 Peter 2:10). Even the angels who are agents of God's judgment against these rebellious beings do not treat these beings with contempt (v. 11).

Like animals, the false teachers can look forward to only one end: destruction. This is because they pursue the sinful desires of the flesh and indulge in their polluting lusts (vv. 13-14). They despise the authority of God and His Son Jesus Christ (v. 10). They are so conceited that they do not realise that what they are doing is wrong in God's sight.

These were some of the characteristics of the false teachers in Peter's day. There are false teachers in the church today, too. Knowing these characteristics can help us to identify them. We must be on our guard and not be swayed by charismatic personalities or teachings that appear to be novel and sensational.

What people say and how they behave will reveal who they really are. One way to test whether certain people are false teachers is to see whether their lives display the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) or the acts of the flesh (vv. 19-21). Are they arrogant and self-promoting? Do they engage in sinful lusts? Do they despise authority? Or are their lives marked by love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

Think through:

In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus teaches His disciples to watch out for false prophets. How can you watch out for false teachers in your church or community?

What are some characteristics of false teachers today?




About Author

Eileen Poh was a lawyer for some years before doing full-time theological studies. Her doctoral thesis (at King’s College London) examines the social relationships between Christians and non-Christians in Asia Minor in the second half of the first century AD. Eileen lectures in Biblical Studies at Discipleship Training Centre, Singapore. She is married to Philip Satterthwaite.

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Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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