I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert.(Acts 20:29-31a)
Even more deadly than attacks from outside the church are the defections of those (especially leaders) within the church. Twisted things: The Greek word means “distorted,” or “perverse.” False teachers twist God’s word for their own evil ends.
True to Paul’s prediction, false teachers did come in among the flock at Ephesus and attack it (cf. Revelation 2:2). Even more subtle than the attack of false teachers from outside the church, however, is the defection of those within. Accordingly, Paul warned them that “from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” “Perverse” is from diastrephÅ, which means “to distort,” or “to twist.” False teachers twist God’s truth for their own perverted ends. “Draw away” is from apospaÅ and could be translated “to drag away” or “to tear away.” If the undershepherds are not vigilant, Paul warns, the wolves will drag their sheep away to devour them.
Paul warns shepherds to faithfully guard their sheep. He understood the threats that face a church—both from outside and from within—and he warns leaders to carefully guard their flocks from those deadly dangers. It is not enough for a faithful shepherd to feed and lead his flock, he must also protect it from predators. Whenever the truth is proclaimed, Satan can be expected to counter it with the lies of false doctrine. . . .
Excerpts from John MacArthur commentary