Bible Prophecy and You: False Predictions - How to Separate Truth from Counterfeits

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False Predictions - How to Separate Truth from Counterfeits

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Bible Prophecy and You: False Predictions - How to Separate Truth from Counterfeits

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Welcome to the second study in this series on “Bible Prophecy and You .” The closer we get to the actual end of this age, meaning the end of man’s rule of the world under Satan’s influence, the more it seems we see would-be prophets making their own predictions about end-time events—about Armageddon, the second coming of Christ or “the end of the world”!

Religious authors make lots of money from books (“apocalyterature”), movies and websites with a focus on the “end of days.” Incidentally, the Bible assures us that the human race will not be completely destroyed. That is comforting since many doomsday prophets predict that we will be wiped out by nuclear war, by global warming or cooling, by an asteroid or comet, or by an attack from extraterrestrial aliens!

Instead of studying God’s revelation, the Bible, many people instead focus on nonbiblical and antibiblical predictions. These include interpretations from astrology, from psychics like Nostradamus or Edgar Cayce, from Egyptian pyramids or Mayan calendars, from paranormal visions, from conspiracy theorists or from demonic mediums and mystics. In recent years predictions based on “blood moons” have caused excitement and sold millions of books, but these have not panned out. What should we learn from this?

Most long-range predictions are no better than wild speculation. But our Creator God does want us to know many things about the future! If we’re willing to study and obey His Word, He’ll open our eyes to understand His perfect prophecies. This series of lessons aims to give you a foundation for understanding biblical prophecy.

The deluge of false predictions—how to separate truth from counterfeits

There is a real Satan the devil who is determined to keep people from understanding God’s truth about the future. This enemy’s main method is to produce a mind-boggling smoke screen of false teachings and predictions—in hopes that people will never find the truth in all the confusion.

A reader in Texas tells this story:

“I came from a Protestant background and had read the Bible my whole life. But years ago, a friend told me that if I wanted to understand the Bible, I would have to ask God to open my eyes to His truth. This sounded so odd to me, but nonetheless, I did ask God to open my eyes to His truth. Then it was amazing. Things I had read over my whole life and assumed I understood took on a whole different meaning.

“All during the time I was searching, I was asking God every day to continue to open my eyes to His truth and wisdom, and He was. I also saw how often the Bible warns about religious deception and how Satan deceives the whole world.

“Without realizing it at the time, I was beginning to put on the armor of God described in Ephesians 6 to protect me from Satan’s deceptions. God was letting me know when I was hearing and seeing something that was not His truth. I also soon realized I needed God’s Spirit to help me separate truth from lies and to not be conformed to this world. It is a constant battle, and we need God to win.”

Listen to God’s prophecies and “beware of false prophets”

When the disciples of Jesus Christ asked Him about “the end of the age,” He gave an amazing detailed prophecy of what to expect in the future leading up to the end. Because they were on the Mount of Olives or Mt. Olivet overlooking Jerusalem at the time, this prophecy (recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21) is called the “Olivet Prophecy.”

In this prophecy, Jesus made it clear what His followers must do before “the end.” He said, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness” (Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout). God has commissioned His Church to tell of the wonderful future that is ultimately coming—as well as the terrible events that will usher in that time. His people are to warn the world of the dire consequences of sin and tell of the wonderful results of obedience to God.

However, Jesus also warned, “Beware of false prophets” (Matthew 7:15 Matthew 7:15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
American King James Version×
). A true prophet did not fabricate any pronouncement—he was a messenger for God’s revelations. In fact, if any prediction “does not happen or come to pass,” that proves the individual is not God’s prophet (Deuteronomy 18:21-22 Deuteronomy 18:21-22 21 And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously: you shall not be afraid of him.
American King James Version×
).

There have always been plenty of self-appointed “prophets.” But God said: “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied” (Jeremiah 23:21 Jeremiah 23:21I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
American King James Version×
). Would God say the same thing today regarding many people who claim to speak for Him in predicting the future?

In this study you will learn how you can distinguish between false ministers and God’s true ministers. And you will see how extremely cautious we need to be when we hear someone making predictions about the future!

What was Paul’s warning about false religious leaders?

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! …

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.
American King James Version×
; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
American King James Version×
).

Satan the devil “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×
). He never lets up in his efforts to use false ministers and others to mislead people. Outwardly they usually seem spiritual, but their messages are counterfeits —mixtures of truth and error. As Paul said, what they preach is actually “another Jesus” and “a different gospel.” The Bible warns about false messages and false messengers repeatedly (to learn more, request or download our free study guide Is There Really a Devil? )

In Jesus’ Olivet Prophecy, what was His first warning to His disciples?

“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’” (Matthew 23:3 Matthew 23:3All therefore whatever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not you after their works: for they say, and do not.
American King James Version×
).

“And Jesus answering said to them, ‘Take heed that no one may lead you astray, for many shall come in my name, saying [that] I am the Christ, and they shall lead many astray’” (Matthew 23:4-5 Matthew 23:4-5 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
American King James Version×
, Young’s Literal Translation).

“And Jesus answering them began to say, ‘Take heed lest any one may lead you astray, for many shall come in my name, saying [that] I am (he), and many they shall lead astray’” (Mark 13:5-6 Mark 13:5-6 5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
American King James Version×
, YLT).

Jesus meant for us to beware of the many churches and religious leaders claiming to represent Him, teaching that He is the Christ or Messiah but not teaching the Bible accurately. Some are insincere and have wrong motives. Others are sincere but sincerely wrong! Some will even “show great [miraculous] signs and wonders to deceive” (Matthew 24:24 Matthew 24:24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
American King James Version×
). It will be easy to be misled and confused if we aren’t continually turning to the Bible to see what is true and what is false!

What additional warning did Jesus leave His disciples?

“Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, ‘These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.’

“And they questioned him, saying, ‘Teacher, when, then, shall these things be? and what is the sign when these things may be about to happen?’ And he said, ‘See [that] ye may not be led astray, for many shall come in my name, saying [that] I am (he), and the time hath come nigh [or near]; go not on then after them’” (Luke 21:5-8 Luke 21:5-8 5 And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, 6 As for these things which you behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone on another, that shall not be thrown down. 7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? 8 And he said, Take heed that you be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draws near: go you not therefore after them.
American King James Version×
, YLT).

In the end time, many religious leaders (and nonreligious people) would be saying that we are in the end time! That can have two bad consequences: First, since that part of their warning message is true, it influences people to believe the rest of their message is true. Second, with all the counterfeit messages around, it makes it much harder for people to find the truth and discern God’s true messengers!

Regarding the end time, what is the most common question people want answered?

“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:4 Mark 13:4Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
American King James Version×
).

When will these things be?” Naturally we all are curious about when Christ will return and when other prophesied events will take place. Even after Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples were still asking when (Acts 1:6 Acts 1:6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
American King James Version×
). Because of this curiosity, many preachers and writers make lots of money by predicting when Christ will come or when “the world will end.”

But can anyone figure out exactly when Christ will return?

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36 Matthew 24:36But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
American King James Version×
).

“And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority’” (Acts 1:7 Acts 1:7And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.
American King James Version×
).

No, we can’t know the exact time! Jesus told His disciples that the time is up to God the Father. But Jesus did say that we should “watch” for signs that will indicate how far along we are in the prophesied sequence of events and where events are taking us (Matthew 24:32-44 Matthew 24:32-44 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near: 33 So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36 But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come. 43 But know this, that if the manager of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.
American King James Version×
).

How can you recognize a false minister even when some of his or her predictions turn out to be true?

“And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:19-20 Isaiah 8:19-20 19 And when they shall say to you, Seek to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek to their God? for the living to the dead? 20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
American King James Version×
).

“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—’and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

“You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 Deuteronomy 13:1-5 1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke to you, saying, Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them; 3 You shall not listen to the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proves you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and you shall serve him, and join to him. 5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he has spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust you out of the way which the LORD your God commanded you to walk in. So shall you put the evil away from the middle of you.
American King James Version×
).

If a false minister is not correctly teaching all of God’s Word, there is “no light” in him. If he is not teaching obedience to God’s commandments, he was not sent by God. Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 Deuteronomy 8:3And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
American King James Version×
when He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4 Luke 4:4And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
American King James Version×
). Likewise, true ministers of God will be striving to teach every word of God.

What is much more important than knowing when Christ will return?

“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42-44 Matthew 24:42-44 42 Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come. 43 But know this, that if the manager of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.
American King James Version×
).

“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

“But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:35-40 Luke 12:35-40 35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36 And you yourselves like to men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he comes shall find watching: truly I say to you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 And this know, that if the manager of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40 Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not.
American King James Version×
).

We must be ready spiritually at all times. Even if you knew exactly when Christ would return, you still would not know when you will die. That can occur at any time. So God wants us to stay ready and prepared by staying close to Him—loving, obeying and serving Him every day.

In other studies, you will learn more about major end-time events prophesied in the Bible and about what the true gospel is, what the Kingdom of God is and how you can prepare for eternal life in that Kingdom.

Apply now

By the time Paul wrote his second letter to the Church members in Corinth, the influence of false teachers was so bad that a large portion of his letter (2 Corinthians 10:1-18 2 Corinthians 10:1-18 1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, with which I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 7 Do you look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. 8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord has given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: 9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. 10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. 11 Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present. 12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God has distributed to us, a measure to reach even to you. 14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not to you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: 15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, 16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand. 17 But he that glories, let him glory in the Lord. 18 For not he that commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
American King James Version×
; 2 Corinthians 11:1-33 2 Corinthians 11:1-33 1 Would to God you could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him. 5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very most chief apostles. 6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things. 7 Have I committed an offense in abasing myself that you might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. 9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brothers which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so will I keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? because I love you not? God knows. 12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 16 I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. 17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. 19 For you suffer fools gladly, seeing you yourselves are wise. 20 For you suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. 21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. However, when ever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. 22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brothers; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which comes on me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern my infirmities. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for ever more, knows that I lie not. 32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
American King James Version×
; 2 Corinthians 12:1-21 2 Corinthians 12:1-21 1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in my infirmities. 6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he sees me to be, or that he hears of me. 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I sought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 11 I am become a fool in glorying; you have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very most chief apostles, though I be nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were worked among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 13 For what is it wherein you were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong. 14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not your’s but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. 16 But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. 17 Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent to you? 18 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps? 19 Again, think you that we excuse ourselves to you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. 20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found to you such as you would not: lest there be debates, contentions, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, arrogance, tumults: 21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall mourn many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.
American King James Version×
; 2 Corinthians 13:1-10 2 Corinthians 13:1-10 1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: 3 Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates? 6 But I trust that you shall know that we are not reprobates. 7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that you should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and you are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. 10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord has given me to edification, and not to destruction.
American King James Version×
) was devoted to helping the members to see the many things that were wrong with the attitudes and actions of those teachers and the errors in their teachings.

Read 2 Corinthians 11:2-15 2 Corinthians 11:2-15 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him. 5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very most chief apostles. 6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things. 7 Have I committed an offense in abasing myself that you might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. 9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brothers which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so will I keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? because I love you not? God knows. 12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
American King James Version×
and jot down two lists for comparison—the characteristics of the false teachers versus the characteristics of Paul. Or if you like to mark notes in your printed Bible, you might instead make little markings in the margins to call attention to the characteristics that Paul is emphasizing. This exercise will help you to be better prepared to know what to accept and what to reject when you hear or read something that is supposedly a biblical teaching.