“pseudodidaskalos”

Quick Facts

  • Pronunciation: psyü-do-dē-dä’-skä-los
  • Strongs Concordance: #G5572
    • a false teacher
  • Appears 1 times in 1 verse in the New Testament
  • Common translations
    • “false teacher” (1x)

Where and how is pseudodidaskalos used in the New Testament

  1. 2 Peter 2:1-3, 10 NASB – “1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. … 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,”

My observations and perspective

One way in which “teacher” is found in the scriptures is in conjunction with ‘false’, giving way to ‘false teacher’. I confess, I included extra verses in the context above, imagining that some would read the larger context, see some descriptions of false teacher, then immediately conclude that by challenging some concepts of ‘authority’, as this site does, that I am a false teacher.

So before someone raises this issue themselves, I’m raising it myself – specifically because of the phrase “despises authority” being mentioned in the above context as an attribute of false prophets and false teachers. As one challenging some notions of “authority”, does that make me a false teacher? You decide.

What is a false teacher?

The word “false teacher” comes from this Greek word pseudodidaskalos. Pseudodidaskalos is comprised of two other Greek words; psuedo and didaskalos. The definition of psuedo is: “1. not actually, but having the appearance of; pretend; false or spurious; sham 2. almost, approaching, or trying to be”. Didaskalos means master or teacher. For detailed word study on didaskalos, click here. The gist of this word is that a pseudodidaskalos is someone who falsely believes and or asserts themselves to be a master or teacher.

Please consider some things for a moment… when you’re studying Greek (or Hebrew), most lexicons and concordances will show all the english words that have been used as a translation for the Greek or Hebrew words. It might be worthwhile to consider how often a word is translated into a particular english word. That can help reveal more about how the original word was used and what it conveys.

In the case of didaskalos, 81% of it’s uses are translated “Master/master”. Furthermore, for those who subscribe to the “Law of First Mention” (look it up) concept, which in a nutshell says that the first mention of a word bears the most weight when determining it’s functional meaning in scriptural interpretation, then “Master” (notice the proper noun use here) would be considered. The idea of this word being master would also be specifically appropriate. I’m not advocating the Law of First Mention here, but many teachers do so, and in doing so, should be required to “eat their own dog food” in such matters as these.

With that in mind, the term “false teacher” might be more appropriately understood as a “false master” or “false Master”. I am not saying it does mean this, only that the Greek sure does seem to indicate and allow for this.

If this is the case, then perhaps what is being described is: someone who is not actually, but has the appearance of, or is attempting to be a master.  Let’s see if that works out anywhere else in this verse.

Qualifications for being considered a false teacher or false master

  1. Secretly introduce destructive heresies
    This phrase, if one considers the definition of it’s Greek parts means: to introduce or bring in secretly or craftily sectarian factions that causes destroying of vessels, and causes ruining and perishing. Now where this gets tricky is defining the word “heresies” (Greek #G391). This word hairesis has many meanings listed in the Strongs Concordance. Most westerners think “heresy” is really anything that is counter to tradition. If that is the case, then most of evangelicalism would be considered heretical since it was a deviation from prior traditions. If one looks at the ways hairesis is used in the New Testament, the most frequent meaning/translations indicate “sect” or “faction”. The Greek would appear to be saying that these people cause sectarian and factious thinking. Factions are elsewhere discouraged by other New Testament writers. A false teacher and false prophet would be characterized by one who works cleverly to promote factions.Something to ponder… what does this reveal about the promotion of denominations, separatist movements, and sects?
  2. Even those that deny the Master who bought them
    Quite simply, these are those who have rejected, or denied the Lord.
  3. Are sensual
    This means that false teachers are those who participate in or promote unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, and insolence. It seems to be that the idea here, in summary, are those that are unashamedly fleshly. In most cases where the New Testament describes this sort of behavior, it seems the context is usually sexual immorality – though not exclusively. Please consider this before labeling someone a false teacher because they enjoy going to the movies, playing cards, drinking alcohol now and again, etc. People don’t get to create their own view of what license and “flesh” mean. The Scriptures must do this.
  4. Because of them, the way of truth is maligned
    This means that because of these people, the “way of truth”, which is the message of the gospel is spoken of reproachfully and spoken of as being evil. The word “maligned” here is blasphēmeō, which is the same Greek word used later on to describe how these same people speak of glorious things. To put it another way, false teachers cause others to speak with reproach against the gospel the same way they themselves speak about glorious things, which is with evil and reproach.
  5. Because of greed, the exploit the saints with false words
    This indicates that false prophets and false teachers in a coveting and greedy way, taking advantage of the saints with their false message(s) in order to have more.
  6. Some of them indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires
    These are those who, similar to being “sensual” indulge the desires of their flesh. This too must be understood based on a scriptural understanding of what indulging the flesh looks like. We cannot accuse one another of such based on our perceptions of such. If we could, some would be considered such for eating too much Ben & Jerry’s late at night, or taking one more plate of lasagna. The idea here is people who are unashamedly carnal as witnessed by the opposite of the “fruit of the Spirit”.
  7. They despise authority (Strongs #G2693)
    What does despising authority mean? The literal translation of this is those who “show contempt for lordship, power, and dominion”. Jude 1:8 also confirms this. The “authority” here that is despised is specifically that of the variety that Christ possess, not your average clergyman – unless of course you believe they’re equal. This can be see by examining the ways that the word “dominion” is elsewhere used in the New Testament. Read that study, but to some it up, it’s entirely reserved for describing heavenly power belonging to Christ. With that in mind, consider this… “what would you say of one who sought to usurp the dominion Christ has over a person by interjecting themselves into that role? In other words, if someone seeks to make themselves the spiritual head of a brother or sister, are they not despising the dominion that Christ already has over that person?
  8. They’re daring (Strongs #G5113)
    Okay, this word is derived from a word  meaning dare (Strongs #G5111) which appears to mean daring and bold and otherwise describes good or benign qualities of people. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the writer here is saying the false teacher is being daring by doing the things they do.
  9. They’re self-willed (Strongs #829)
    Interesting here is that the only other reference (Titus 1:7) in the New Testament to employ the same Greek word translated “self-willed” (authadēs) is in a verse specifically addressing the qualifications for overseers and they NOT be authadēs. Apparently, whatever being self-willed means, in relation to despising authority, is something Paul thought Titus needed to be making sure did not exist in a potential overseer. This doesn’t strike me as your garden-variety Libertarian or non-conformist, but those who are self-pleasing, self-willed, and arrogant – as one must be in order to usurp Christ’s headship over his people.
  10. They no not tremble when they revile angelic majesties
    This is an interesting phrase – or rather how it is translated is interesting. It is comprised of two Greek words blasphēmeō dóxa. Blasphēmeō means: to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at.  Dóxa can mean a number of things, but in 161 of the 167 instances where it appears in the New Testament, it is translated “glory”, “glories” or “glorious”. That’s 97% of all uses. The use of the english word ‘majesties’ accounts for only 1% of it’s overall uses. I’m no Greek scholar, but this seems a strange selection of english word to me. As with other words, if one subscribes to the “Law of first mention”, then that person would lean more toward seeing this word meaning “glory”. What would someone be who reviles against angelic majesties? Sounds like a reproach on dispensationalists or ceasationists a little. What if it means someone who speaks reproachfully of the glory? Either way, false prophets and false teachers do one or the other, or both. Whatever it is, it’s a disregard for glorious things.

Summing things up

Unfortunately, I’ve at times  labeled others as being false teachers simply for teaching something I didn’t agree with or misunderstood. Likewise, I’ve been labeled false teacher at times for similar reasons. This is a terrible, unfair, non-sensical and shameful practice. When we do so, we’re all acting out some characteristics of false teachers by promoting factions, holding to sectarian thinking. Doing so also “maligns the way of truth” itself as the unbelieving witness such unloving behavior among the local church. I’ve been guilty of this more than I’d like to think.

A false prophet or false teacher isn’t a saint who just has some odd ideas – even a few wrong ideas. If that were true, we’d all be considered such.

A false prophet and false teacher is one who derails the saints, upsets their confidence in Him. Often this is done my promoting a return to forms of law-oriented or law-based righteousness. They challenge the glory and deity of Christ. The things they promote move people towards rejecting Christ, rejecting his Lordship, themselves denying Christ and despising his Lordship. A false teacher diminishes Jesus Christ and his place in the universe, his place in the Body of Christ.  These things they do out of greed and coveting, perhaps turning people’s focus and worship to themselves rather than Christ. False teachers and prophets push the saints toward a deep dive into the same indulgent, fleshly, and carnal living they participate in.

Folks, this is not the same as promoting liberty and freedom, or believers that are “not condemned by what they approve”. These aren’t people who are earnestly seeking to live a life submitted to Christ’s lordship. We all would do well to repent of considering one another as such when we come to an impasse in our considerations and conversations about truth, preferences, ideas, and more.

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