Modern Balaams in the Church

There are modern Bible teachers who are spreading error for the same reasons Balaam spread error. This 1-minute devotion encourages us to be discerning. #BibleLoveNotes

Some of the bad guys from the Old Testament serve as New Testament warnings. For example:

Balaam (Numbers 22-24).

In a story with twists, turns, and a talking donkey, Balaam hoped to curse Israel to earn a reward from the king of Moab. 

It's unclear if Balaam was ever a genuine God-follower, but we know that God spoke to him. That's why he backed away from cursing God’s people.

However, his motives were worldly and he eventually became part of a successful plot to ruin God's people through idolatry and sexual sin (Revelation 2:14).

He “loved the wages of wickedness” (2 Peter 2:15-16), deceiving people for profit (Jude 1:11).

Peter and Jude tell us there will be people like Balaam who “slip into” our churches. 

Like Balaam, they may speak God's Word at times, but their values will be worldly. Ultimately, they’ll promote idolatry: wealth, fame, and acceptance of immorality. 

Let’s take Scripture’s warnings to heart, discern truth and error in popular teachings, and test everything by God's Word.
These 1-minute devotions address different aspects of this subject:
7 Claims of False Teachers
Narcigesis - Using Scripture Selfishly
Comfortable on the Couch

I encourage you to check out the Wisdom for Life Devotional. It contains 100 one-minute devotions to challenge, encourage, instruct, and inspire your love for God's Word: Wisdom for Life. Read the story behind Wisdom for Life HERE. And find out about the two free Bible studies with purchase HERE. You can read the first 4 devotions in the book by clicking "look inside" or "read sample" on Lifeway or Amazon.
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There are modern Bible teachers who are spreading error for the same reasons Balaam spread error. This 1-minute devotion encourages us to be discerning.

Bible Love Notes
There are modern Bible teachers who are spreading error for the same reasons Balaam spread error. This 1-minute devotion encourages us to be discerning.


  1. It depends who you mean. I have listened to Joel Osteen carefully, and he doesn't promote what people say he promotes. He just tells people how to ovecome adversity throught putting God first and if we put God first, God will reward His children. I think we have to be careful who we condemn as well. I don't like some preachers, I don't like Kenneth Copeland, but not all so called "prosperity" teachers are the same.

    1. Hi Andrea,
      I never trust what others say about a teacher or preacher because sometimes they take things they've said out of context or they tell you what the teacher "meant" not what he actually said. And that's slander.

      We should never listen to critics who are sarcastic or who make claims without clear evidence.

      That's why I have listened to Joel Olsteen myself - listened to his words and his teachings. And much of what he says is wrong Scripturally.

      One morning I listened to his entire sermon on television. He said whatever follows our “I am” statements will follow us, so we should daily say “I am beautiful. I am special.” He even claimed that if we say “I am getting younger” we’ll look more youthful.

      But Proverbs 27:2 says, "Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips."

      And Romans 12:3 says: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead, be modest in your thinking, and judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you."

      Olsteen focused on external things like beauty and youth, but God's focus is always on men's hearts:

      1 Samuel 16:7: "the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

      Next, Olsteen said Psalm 139 was David's way of saying “I am amazing. I am wonderful.”

      But Psalm 139 doesn't say those things. It says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and it is a praise for the Creator, not for ourselves.

      Finally, Olsteen said Sarah could not have conceived Isaac had she not gained confidence in herself.

      But God actually allowed Sarah to conceive despite her doubts in God, herself and her husband's age. Genesis 18:10-15 makes this very clear.

      Olsteen claimed we should always make positive statements about ourselves, but God calls us to humility, not pride in self. And one of the greatest teachers of the Gospel, the Apostle Paul, made this humble "I am" statement in 1 Timothy 1:15:"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst."

      Scripture is very clear that the only one who deserves constant praise is the Great I Am - our Lord.

      All of these errors were contained in a single message that Olsteen gave, one which I listened to in its entirety so nothing I've written here is taken out of context. This sermon promoted love for self, pride, and false promises and twisted Scriptures to fit this false teaching.

      Of course, we could ask ourselves if Olsteen was having a bad day and preached some things without thinking them through. But that's not the case because He's written a book called "The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today." This sermon was clearly teaching things he believes and promotes.

      So, I must disagree with you about Olsteen.

      He is incredibly popular, and sometimes he says things that are Scriptural, but his teaching is riddled with errors that promote worldly values.

    2. Your reply was beautiful and I totally agree

  2. Very unbalanced comment about Joel Osteen, Gail. I encourage you to be prayerfully considerate what you communicate to others about anyone, other wise you cast a slur.

    1. Hi Kimberly,
      Everything I wrote came from first hand knowledge and was based on words that Olsteen spoke. Nothing was taken out of context.

      I admitted that Olsteen says says some things that are Scriptural. And that's the balanced view of his ministry - he teaches some truth and some error.

      That's not a balance I'm comfortable supporting.

  3. He's a prosperity preacher. He only makes you feel good about yourself and your sin, he doesn't preach the whole gospel and death and eternity in hell.

  4. Jesus Christ bless you, give you more wisdom and surrounding by His favor

  5. I just listened to Joel Osteen preach a sermon where he said we should "be a Balaam."
    No thanks!

  6. 2 Timothy 4:3. For the time wil come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires , because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

  7. Bravo Gail. Thanks for speaking the truth. We need to study the word of God so that we can discern truth from twisted truth. As it is written...Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. John 8:32

  8. Thank you Gail for speaking the truth to those who may not be spiritually grounded or biblically wises. Osteen is a fake and leads many people astray. He is the perfect minister for those who want to have their ears tickled, but not study what God really expects of us. Once you fall into this trap, you become an entirely different person. You become your own god. Keep telling them Gail.