Marks of False Teaching vs. Sound Doctrine

Marks of all False Teachings in contrast with the marks of all sound and scriptural doctrines…

 Since scholars of every theological persuasion and Christians of every denomination have embraced false teachings… the objective standard which will identify any and every false teaching will apply equally to the teachings of every theological camp and denomination for no one has “a corner” on the Truth.

 All false teachings (even though commonly taught and believed by many to be sound Biblical teachings) are actually fables or myths! Such can be distinguished from sound doctrine by the following truths of scripture(These were the truths that demonstrated to me that I had embraced many false teachings, that I needed to repent, and that I needed to reject such teachings and embrace the sound scriptural teachings which my false teachings had contradicted!)

Scriptural Marks of Cunningly Devised Fables

Cunningly devised fables (the Greek word “muthos” or “myths”) spoken of in I Timothy 1:4; 4:7; II Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14 and II Peter 1:16 may be recognized by the following scriptural marks: “F”, “A”, “B”, “L”, “E”, “S”:

Fair speeches contrary to apostolic doctrine, which deceive the hearts of the simple, and things taught for *Filthy   lucre’s sake characterize such fables. (*The reason why pastors, missionaries and seminary profs teach these fables is because their visible means of support would be cut off if they didn’t! Follow the money!  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned (i.e. teaching received from the Lord Jesus and the apostles); and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and  fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17,18  

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. Titus 1:10,11

Additional words to those of scripture must be used to state such fables.

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found  a liar. Proverbs 30:5,6 

Bereans and those who follow their example will recognize and refuse to embrace such fables by testing them by scripture. (The Bereans did not accept the apostle Paul’s preaching as “Gospel truth” until they had verified it by the scriptures!)

These (people at Berea) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11 

Lying in wait to deceive is the purpose of the composers of such fables. (While sincere men may teach such fables, thinking they are teaching sound doctrine, they have also been deceived because they failed to test them by scripture as the Bereans did!)

that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive Ephesians 4:14

Eye witnesses of the majesty of the Lord Jesus (i.e. the apostles) did not follow such fables.

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but  were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 2 Peter 1:16 

Statements in words which man’s wisdom teaches comprise such fables. They can’t be stated in pure words taught by   the Holy Spirit.

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified  seven times. Psalms 12:6 

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s  wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.   I Corinthians 2:12,13

 It was these simple truths of scripture which powerfully convicted me of the errors of many teachings which I had sincerely embraced for many years and taught to others as if they were “sound doctrine”!   Rejecting such false teachings which other close friends of mine still believed were scriptural teachings and embracing the truths of scripture which others thought were false doctrines has been very costly!  But what liberty and joy has been the result of obedience to God!

Your journey will likely be costly as well if you choose to evaluate every teaching which you have believed by these simple tests of scripture. But I will guarantee you, it will be worth it all!

Yours in the service of the very Best of masters,

Bruce Woodford

Click on the following links to see these related posts:

Tests of My Doctrine – Tests of My Heart

Reasons why I will never be popular

False Teachings which are commonly embraced of which I had to repent

Embracing Biblical Principles For Understanding Scripture

False Teachings Degrade Our God and Unduly Exalt His Creatures


9 comments on “Marks of False Teaching vs. Sound Doctrine

  1. Lemuel says:

    It is easy to see where words are added and subtracted by men from scripture which alters it’s meaning. However, how does one determine whether an interpretation of a certain scripture verse is correct? It’s possible to take a verse from scripture and have several interpretations on it.

    Another problem I see is that almost all churches claim that their interpretation is the correct one, taught by the Holy Spirit. How do you know whether the church has the right interpretation?

    Another question. How do you know whether your interpretation is correct.
    What does being taught by the Holy Spirit “feel” like, or how will one know or discern when the Spirit is teaching him or not, “leading him into all truth”



    • Bruce Woodford says:

      Hi Lemuel,
      You are absolutely right that there are often many “interpretations” presented for any given scriptural teaching. The same standard applies to “interpretations”…i.e. are they stated in the pure words of scripture? Must they use words additional to scripture to state them? Are they stated in words which man’s wisdom teaches or in words which the Holy Spirit teaches? Are they taught by the Lord Jesus or His apostles? OR do they contradict what they taught? etc In other words, scripture itself interprets scripture!

      A great lie has been foisted on the saints which is that we need to interpret scripture to understand it! But scripture never gives us the right or the responsibility to interpret scripture except when translating it into another language. For more detail on this click on the link to the post entitled “Embracing Biblical Principles for Understanding Scripture“.

      You also asked, “How do you know if your interpretation is correct?” Brother, if it is “my interpretation” it is definitely WRONG! But if the interpretation is given by the Lord Jesus or His inspired prophets or apostles it is correct! For an actual example of this click on the following link to the post “Who is the God of this world (age)? or the page “A Satan Fable”. Man’s interpretation of II Cor.4:4 is well known but few have gone to the Lord Jesus, His prophets and apostles for their interpretation! That is precisely why false doctrines are so often embraced!



  2. Well done. I rejoice that I was led to this blog/post.


  3. Welcome Karl! I hope it will be helpful and challenging. I’m enjoying browsing Focused and Free. Bless you, brother!


  4. John Campbell says:

    I love your comment about letting scripture interpret scripture. This should lead the follower of Christ to seek and stay in the simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus Christ Himself! (see John 5:39) So many read scripture with certain “glasses” ( covenant theology, dispensationalist, etc) which at their core are simply traditions of man. ( a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy) The fastest growing “movement” in present day Christianity is very subtly taking the head off Christ’s body and deceiving even the elect by making certain men apostolic mediators between God and man.( but theHoly Spirit and God’s words say “the wound is cured when the Head is on the Body”) I have found “some great light” in this movement and have even been told “you are a prophet.” So IF i am gifted in this manner; these are the “spiritual words” describing Christ centered spiritual thoughts: Dominion theology, or the “7 mountains of cultural influence” is an inferred, old covenant, old blood, teaching; NOT Christ centered. It is clear that we ALL have the same access to the Father through Christ offering His perfect blood in the heavenly holy of holies, thus fulfilling the prophesied, blood bought and glorious new covenant of grace we are born again into where there is no true “ranking” within His body. While recognizing any and all spiritual gifts and offices are designed for His body to be built up in Christ, in unity of the faith, with an ever growing, daily revelation of Jesus Christ”s fullness. Any biblical “ranking” within the church is described unambiguously By our Saviors words all over the gospels. ( ie.–The “first” is really the “last and the “last” is to be considered by ALL to really be the first) In other words JESUS IS ALWAYS EXPANSIVE!


  5. Owen says:

    It is not doctrine that divides christians but the belief that the doctrines we hold are what save us.

    A church need not water down its doctrinal stance to welcome and love people in a radically open way. It simply needs to have an understanding that not everything is equally important, and the one and only thing that is absolutely essential is a relationship with Christ. It thus only needs to be encouraging all its people to get all their life from Jesus Christ and to therefore be gracious enough to allow space for people to disagree, to doubt, and to be in process.


    • Hi Owen,

      I certainly agree with you that we need to allow others to disagree, to doubt and to be in process. (WE all are works in progress, we all have had doubts and if no one ever disgareed, no one would learn anything!!!)

      I also agree that we have often gone wrong in wrongly thinking that the doctrines we hold are what saves us!

      However, doctrinal statements, creeds etc always divide the people of God for they require their “subscribers” to believe many things which scripture never teaches!


  6. Desmond says:

    The early church had one creed. It was simply “jesus is lord” and it was not scriptural until many years later. The early church somehow felt that the church itself was the pillar and foundation of the truth. They elevated their group understanding over singular understanding.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s