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May 17 – The warped personality of false teachers (part 1)

“Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones … They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray.” – 2 Peter 2:10-15 

Scripture reading: 1 Timothy 4:1-8

When a crime has been committed, police sometimes issue an identikit sketch. It is a drawing of the main features of the person who committed the crime. In this part of Peter’s letter, he is providing his readers with an identikit sketch of false teachers. The chief characteristics that he identifies are insolence and insatiability.

To be insolent is to be rude and disrespectful. It is described here as ‘blasphem[ing] the glorious ones.’ Jude uses the same description of false teachers. This is a much-debated phrase. It could be a reference to angels. The other possibility is the apostles and office-bearers of the church. On balance, the latter option seems to fit the context better. So, these false teachers had no hesitation criticizing and rejecting the authority of those whom the Lord had called to bless His church.

Another character flaw was their insatiability. To be insatiable is to be constantly greedy for more. One area where this came out was sensuality, as we see in verses 13-14. And this was no secret or hidden passion; it was all done “in the daytime.” Another passion of theirs was money. They wanted to be rewarded, handsomely, for what they taught. Money was a constant topic of their conversation.

And church history is littered with many examples of false teachers with these personality traits. But we have now been warned – watch out for teachers who display insolence and insatiability!

Suggestions for prayer

Ask the Lord to preserve our leaders from these attitudes and behaviours. Thank Him for the godly men He has placed over us.

Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. This devotional is made available by the Nearer To God Devotional team, who also make available in print, for purchase, at

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