27 Bible Verses About Testing Prophets (With Commentary)

27 Bible Verses About Testing Prophets (With Commentary)

Discerning true prophets from false ones is crucial for maintaining a faithful and grounded spiritual life. The Bible provides guidelines for testing prophets and discerning their authenticity. These verses remind us to evaluate prophecies based on their alignment with God’s Word and the fruits they bear.

By exercising discernment and seeking wisdom, we can navigate the prophetic landscape with clarity and avoid deception. Let’s explore these verses that equip us to test and discern the voices claiming to be from God.

Bible Verses About Testing Prophets

Deuteronomy 13:1-3

“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘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.”

In this passage, God cautions the Israelites to be discerning when it comes to prophets. A true prophet’s message aligns with God’s commandments and does not lead people astray to worship false gods.

1 John 4:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

The apostle John urges believers to exercise discernment and test the spirits or teachings claiming to be from God. Not every message or spirit is to be blindly accepted; instead, they should be evaluated against the truth of God’s Word.

Jeremiah 23:16

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.’”

In this verse, God warns against false prophets who proclaim their own ideas and desires, rather than delivering messages from God. It emphasizes the importance of discernment and not being swayed by deceptive teachings.

1 Thessalonians 5:20-21

“Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”

While Paul encourages believers not to dismiss prophecies outright, he also emphasizes the need to test them. The evaluation of prophecies ensures that only what aligns with God’s truth is embraced and held onto.

Matthew 7:15-16

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.”

Jesus warns His followers to be vigilant of false prophets who disguise themselves as genuine believers. By examining their actions and the outcomes of their teachings, one can discern their true character and intentions.

1 Corinthians 14:29

“Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.”

In the context of spiritual gifts and prophecy within the church, Paul advises that prophecies should be evaluated by others in the congregation. This communal assessment ensures accountability and prevents the acceptance of false or misleading messages.

Ezekiel 13:9

“My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”

The Lord declares severe judgment upon false prophets who deceive the people with fabricated visions and misleading divinations. He makes it clear that they will face His divine discipline and will not enjoy His favor.

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1 Timothy 4:1

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.”

Paul foretells that in the future, there will be those who abandon the true faith and follow deceitful spirits and teachings inspired by demons. This warning emphasizes the need for discernment and testing of teachings claiming to be from God.

Jeremiah 28:9

“As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet.”

Jeremiah addresses a specific situation where the prophet Hananiah falsely prophesied peace. Here, God states that the fulfillment of prophecies does not automatically validate the prophet’s authenticity. The ultimate test lies in whether or not the words spoken align with God’s truth.

1 Kings 18:21

“And Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.’ And the people did not answer him a word.”

Elijah confronts the people of Israel, challenging them to choose between the true God and the false idol Baal. The call to make a firm decision reflects the need to discern and reject false prophets who promote conflicting teachings.

2 Peter 2:1

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

Peter warns the early Christians about the emergence of false prophets and teachers who introduce destructive heresies, leading people astray from the true faith. It highlights the importance of testing teachings against the established truths of Scripture.

Matthew 24:24

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”

Jesus cautions His disciples about the rise of false christs and prophets who will deceive many through miraculous signs and wonders. This verse highlights the deceptive nature of false prophets and the need for believers to be discerning.

Galatians 1:8-9

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

Paul emphatically states that even if he, or anyone else, were to preach a different gospel than what was originally delivered, they should be regarded as accursed. This emphasizes the importance of adhering to the true message of salvation and testing any teachings claiming to be gospel.

1 John 4:2-3

“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.”

John provides a criterion to test the authenticity of spirits and teachings: whether or not they acknowledge Jesus Christ’s incarnation. Any teaching denying the divine reality of Jesus is to be rejected as not originating from God.

Micah 3:5

“Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry ‘Peace’ when they have something to eat but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths.”

God condemns prophets who manipulate their message for personal gain, proclaiming peace or favor when they are well-fed, but turning against those who do not satisfy their desires. Such prophets are not genuine representatives of God’s truth.

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Acts 20:29-30

“I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

In his farewell address to the Ephesian elders, Paul warns them about the arrival of false teachers who would infiltrate the church, leading people astray with distorted teachings. This cautionary message emphasizes the need to test the authenticity of prophetic voices.

Jeremiah 14:14

“And the LORD said to me: ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.’”

God exposes the deceptive actions of false prophets who claim to speak on His behalf but are actually spreading lies and visions of their own creation. This verse underscores the importance of discerning between true prophets and those motivated by their own desires.

1 Corinthians 12:10

“To another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”

Paul lists the spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit, including the ability to discern or distinguish between spirits. This gift aids believers in testing and evaluating the source of prophetic messages, ensuring they align with God’s truth.

2 Peter 2:3

“And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

Peter warns about false prophets motivated by greed, using deceptive words to exploit and manipulate people. He assures that their condemnation is certain and their destruction imminent, emphasizing the need to test the intentions and teachings of those who claim to speak for God.

Isaiah 44:25

“Who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish.”

Isaiah declares the power of God to expose the falsehoods and deceit of liars and diviners. He highlights that God’s wisdom far surpasses human wisdom, making futile the knowledge and predictions of those who falsely claim prophetic insight.

Matthew 7:20

“Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

Jesus teaches that false prophets can be identified by their fruits, referring to the outcomes and effects of their teachings. By examining the impact and results of their words, one can discern the authenticity of their message.

Jeremiah 23:32

“Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the LORD.”

God expresses His opposition to prophets who propagate false dreams and lead His people astray with lies and recklessness. He clarifies that such prophets do not benefit the people and are not authorized by Him.

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1 John 4:6

“We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

John asserts that those who belong to God will listen to the apostles’ teachings, while those who do not belong to God will reject them. This serves as a test to discern the Spirit of truth from the spirit of error.

Jeremiah 23:28

“Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD.”

God distinguishes between false prophets who share their own dreams and those who faithfully speak His word. He likens the difference between their messages to the distinction between worthless straw and nourishing wheat.

1 Corinthians 14:32

“The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.”

Paul emphasizes the need for order and self-control among prophets. True prophets understand that they have authority over their own spirits and can exercise discretion, leading to messages that align with God’s will.

Luke 6:26

“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”

Jesus warns about the danger of seeking popularity and approval from people. False prophets often gain the favor of the masses, but true prophets may face rejection and opposition due to the confrontation of sin and falsehood.

1 John 4:5

“They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them.”

John points out that false prophets are influenced by worldly thinking and values, resulting in teachings that resonate with the world. Their popularity among the worldly serves as a warning sign of their lack of divine authority.

Jeremiah 23:21

“I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.”

God exposes the audacity of false prophets who claim to speak on His behalf without receiving any divine commission or message from Him. Their self-proclaimed prophecies are to be rejected as they do not originate from God.

Matthew 24:11

“And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.”

Jesus foretells the rise of numerous false prophets who will deceive and mislead many people. This emphasizes the prevalence of false teachings and the importance of testing prophetic voices.

1 Kings 22:23

“Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you.”

In the account of King Ahab, God allows a lying spirit to influence the words of false prophets who misled the king. This highlights God’s sovereignty over prophetic messages and the need to discern between true and false prophets.

Matthew 24:26

“So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.”

Jesus warns against false reports or claims about His return. He urges His followers not to be swayed by deceptive teachings that try to pinpoint His presence in specific locations, emphasizing the need for discernment.

These Bible verses and provide guidance on testing prophets and discerning between true and false messages. By applying these principles, believers can safeguard themselves from deception and align themselves with God’s truth.

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