May 20, 2018 – 2 Peter 2:1-22

Lesson Date: May 20, 2018

Focal Scripture Passage: 2 Peter 2:1-22

AIM: To lead students to understand the danger of false teaching and false teachers, and to equip them to be able to identify and avoid false teaching and false teachers.


Before class: Read the notes on 2 Peter 2:1-22 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the following phrases on the marker board or chalkboard: “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” and “Trojan Horse.”  (For greater effect you could search the Internet or books to find pictures of these things.)


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read the phrase “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” written on the board and ask the class what it means.  After they offer some responses stress the fact that the wolf makes himself appear to be something he is not so he can infiltrate the sheep herd.  He does this so he can catch and kill an unsuspecting sheep.  Read the words “Trojan Horse” written on the board and ask the students what they mean.  After some responses stress the fact that the horse appeared to be a gift, but hiding inside were enemy soldiers.  The danger was unknown until it was too late.

Tell the class in today’s lesson we learn how to identify and avoid false teachers.



  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that we are studying the New Testament book of 2 Peter.
    • Tell them Peter wrote this letter from prison shortly before he was executed (d. 66-68).
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (superiority of scripture to experience).
    • Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (2 Pet. 1:21).
  2. Will There Be False Teachers Today?
    • Tell the class today’s lesson is built around four questions. In verses 1-3 we will find the answer to the first question.
    • Erase the board and write: “Will There be False Teachers Today?
    • Ask a volunteer to read 2 Peter 2:1-3.
    • Ask: “What promise do you find in verse 1?” (there will be false teachers).
    • Ask: “According to verse 1, where will we find those false teachers?” (“among you”).
    • Tell the class that since 2 Peter was written to believers, that means there will be false teachers in the church.
    • Ask: “What will the false teachers bring into the church?” (“damnable heresies”).
    • Explain that false teachers deny such basic doctrines as the virgin birth and the deity of Jesus, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and the authority, inspiration, and accuracy of the Bible.
    • Stress the fact that those who deny such fundamental doctrines are not saved; they are masquerading as Christians in order to deceive people.
    • Ask: “Will anybody follow these false teachers?” (yes, many – see verse 2).
    • Ask: “How will the church’s reputation be impacted by false teachers and their followers?” (“the way of truth shall be evil spoken of”).
    • Verse 3 tells us they “make merchandise of” their followers. In other words, they use their followers for personal gain, both in money and power.
    • Summarize: There will be false teachers within the church who will seek to bring in false teaching and lead many astray.
  3. What Will Happen to False Teachers?
    • Tell the class the answer to the second question will be found in verses 4-9.
    • Write the following on the board: “What Will Happen to False Teachers?”
    • Tell the class 2 Peter 2:4-9 assures us that God will ultimately judge false teachers.
    • Read those verses.
    • Tell the class these verses are full of examples.
    • To understand the sense of the passage, read the first phrase of verse 4 followed by all of verse 9.
    • Explain that the examples found in verses 4-8 assure us that God will punish false teachers, but deliver genuine believers.
    • Read the following to the class:
      • God punished the angels that sinned, BUT He delivered the rest of the angels.
      • God destroyed everyone in the pre-flood world, BUT He delivered Noah and his family.
      • God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, BUT He delivered Lot.
      • God will punish the unjust, BUT He will deliver the godly.
    • Summarize: In His time and in His way, God will surely punish false teachers.
  4. How Can We Identify False Teacher?
    • Tell the students that like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, false teachers are dangerous.
    • Ask: “How can we identify false teachers?”
    • Write “How Can We Identify False Teachers?” on the board.
    • Tell the class 2 Peter 2:10-17 gives us descriptive characteristics to help us identify false teachers.
    • Read those verses.
    • Ask the students to identify the descriptive words and phrases.
    • Be prepared to tell what those words or phrases mean using the list below:
      • Walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness” – Seeking physical gratification, sexual sins; see Gal. 5:19-21.
      • Verse 10: “Despise government” – Resisting authority in the government and in the home (for example, female preachers who exercise spiritual authority over their husbands).
      • Verse 10: “Presumptuous” – Daring, audacious, proud, cocky.
      • Verse 10: “Self-willed” – Arrogant, seeking to please only themselves.
      • Verse 10: “Speak evil of dignities” – Speaking against those in authority.
      • Verse 12: “Speak evil of the things that they understand not” – Disdain the truth of scripture, which they don’t really even understand – see 1 Cor. 2:14.
      • Verse 12: “Corruption” – Decay, rot, and ruin resulting from sin.
      • Verse 13: “Riot in the day time” – Unashamed of their sin.
      • Verse 13: “Spots they are and blemishes” – Stain, flaw, disgrace.
      • Verse 13: “Deceivings” – Lies.
      • Verse 14: “Eyes full of adultery” – Always looking for a new conquest.
      • Verse 14: “Cannot cease from sin” – Soon returning to their sin, uncontrollable.
      • Verse 14: “Covetous practices” – Wanting what belongs to others.
      • Verse 15: “Forsaken the right way” – Teaching false doctrines, opinions, and experiences.
      • Verse 17: “Wells without water” – Useless and deceptive.
      • Verse 17: “Clouds that are carried with a tempest” – Raise your hopes, but produce nothing.
      • Verse 17: “Mist of darkness” – They are headed for hell!
    • Tell the class verse 12 indicates their eternal destiny has already been settled.
    • Ask: “Where are these false teachers?” (IN the church – see verse 13: “while they feast with you”).
    • Stress this truth to the class: if a teacher’s lifestyle is not in line with scripture, his or her teaching cannot be trusted!!!
    • Summarize: the Bible gives us clear descriptions to help us identify false teachers.
  5. What Will False Teachers Do?
    • Write the following on the board: “What Will False Teachers Do?
    • Tell the class 2 Peter 2:18-22 describes the result of listening to false teachers.
    • Ask a volunteer to read those verses.
    • Ask: “According to verse 18, how do false teachers deceive people?” (with their smooth talk and promises of things that appeal to the flesh, such as power or position).
    • Tell the class that verse 19 reveals false teachers promise liberty to their listeners, but they are themselves still in bondage to sin.
    • Tell the students that verses 20-22 are very strong statements about the seriousness of returning to a worldly lifestyle after learning about Jesus Christ.
    • Warren Wiersbe explains it this way: “These people knew the way of righteousness and had a knowledge of Christ’s work, but they did not personally receive Him into their hearts. Their outward pollution was washed away, but the inward corruption was still there.  These ‘professors but not possessors’ seemed to experience salvation, but in due time they drifted back to the life that suited their nature.”[1]
    • Tell the students to think of people they have known who came through the church for a brief time, but later returned to the world. Such people are doubly miserable!
    • Summarize: False teachers deceive people, promising them liberty while actually further entangling them in sin.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask: “Will there be false teachers in the church?” (yes).  Ask: “How can we identify false teachers?” (they will exhibit the characteristics described in step 4 above).  False teachers will have a lifestyle inconsistent with the Bible.  For example, cult leaders are always involved in sexual sins.

Ask: “Once we identify a person as a false teacher, what should we do?” (avoid him or her and do not listen to their teaching).

Tell the class the Bible has much to say about false teachers.  False teachers want to infiltrate the church.  We must beware of them, not only on television or in other churches, but in our church as well.  Lead a closing prayer, asking God to give us discernment to identify false teachers and the determination to avoid them.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize 2 Peter 2:9.  Urge them to beware of false teachers this week and to look for opportunities to tell others what they have learned about false teachers.  Tell them next Sunday is our last lesson from 2 Peter.  Give everyone present a Sunday School Member Quarterly for the summer quarter.

[1] Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament, © 1992 by SP Publications, Inc.  Electronic version © 1995, 1996, 1997 by Parsons Technology, Inc.

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