2 Peter 2 - Outlines of 1 & 2 Peter (Book Notes menu page)
2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people {cp. Deut 13:1-3; Jer 14:13-15},
even as there shall be false teachers among you
{cp. Mat 24:5,24; 1Tim 4:1-3},
who privily
{ie., secretly, craftily} shall bring in damnable {GK=apoleia} heresies,
even denying the Lord that bought them,
and bring upon themselves swift destruction
false teachers {GK=pseudodidaskolos} - those who promote false doctrine (GK=didaskalia}.
Though aware of the Truth, they teach what people want to hear. 2Tim 4:3,4
damnable {GK=apoleia, destructive} heresies -
  • ie., teachings which undermine the foundational Truths of the Faith.
  • eg., "denying {GK= arnemai, to contradict, to renounce} the Lord {GK=despotes, the absolute ruler, the supreme authority} that bought them"-
    In refusing to submit to Christ's authority, they contradict the Person and work of Christ with "another gospel" (cp. 2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6,7). Christ died for the sins of the whole world (2Cor 5:14,15; 1Joh 2:2), but there is no redemption for those who renounce the ransom that He paid for them (Heb 2:3). Christ paid the ransom for 'all,' but 'many' will be saved (Mat 20:28).
swift {sudden} destruction - will overtake teachers, of destructive heresies,
and their followers. Heb 10:26-31
2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways {GK=apoleia, destructive [ways]};
by reason of whom the way of truth
shall be evil spoken of
{GK=blasphemeo, blasphemed, reviled}.
2:3 And through covetousness
shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:
{feigned- GK=plastos, plastic, formed; ie., words molded to suit the ears of the hearers; cf. 2Pet 1:16}
whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not,
and their damnation
{GK=apoleia, destruction} slumbereth not {ie., will not be delayed}.
This urgent warning, in Peter's last words to the Church,
is mirrored by Paul, in his last words to the church at Ephesus, in Acts 20 -
  • Paul addressed the leaders, using all three NT words for church leaders:
    1. elders {GK=presbuteros}, Acts 20:17
    2. overseers {GK=episcopos, bishops}, Acts 20:28
    3. shepherds {GK=poimaino, shepherd, pastor}, Acts 20:28 (where KJV reads: 'to feed')
  • Paul's manner of life and ministry, Acts 20:17-27
    (in contrast to the ways of false teachers, v.1-3.)
  • Paul's message of warning:
    1. Take heed {'be constantly maintaining a careful watch... to guard...' [Wuest]} -
      1. to your responsibility (Acts 20:28)
          -- given to you by the Holy Spirit,
          -- for the well-being of His Church... the flock of God...
        ie., those who He purchased with His blood. (cp. 'bought', v.1)
      2. grievous {'savage' [NASB]} wolves shall enter in among you... (Acts 20:29)
        Error would enter from outside the church (eg., worldly philosophy, pagan religion).
        (cp. 'destructive heresies... pernicious ways', v.1,2)
      3. men shall arise of yourselves... (Acts 20:30)
        Error would be promoted from within the church, by false teachers...
          -- speaking perverse {ie., distorted, twisted} things (cp. 'wrest', in 2Pet 3:16)...
          -- to draw disciples after themselves (ie., to gain a following for themselves)...
        ...not submitting themselves to the authority of the absolute Lord (v.1),
        ...selling, for their own gain, people who Christ purchased with His blood (v.3).
    2. watch [Acts 20:31) cp. 1Pet 5:8
    3. remember (Acts 20:31) cp. 2Pet 1:12-15
    4. I commend you to God... and to the Word... (Acts 20:32) which is able...
      • to build you up (ie., maturity in the Faith, 1Pet 2:2; 2Pet 1:2-7),
      • to give you an inheritance (ie., our hope & confidence in the Faith, 2Pet 1:8-11).
Peter and Paul warn that 'there shall be false teachers'-
Jude says they are already present. (Jude 1:3,4)
they brin upon themselves swift {impending} destruction {damnation} (v.1,3).
It will overtake them, surely and suddenly (cp. Psa 73:18,19, and the whole Psalm).
Peter gives three examples, from Scripture, of God's judgment of the wicked (in v.4-9).
2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast [them] down to hell,
and delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
2:5 And spared not the old world,
but saved Noah the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness,
bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes
condemned [them] with an overthrow,
making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
2:7 And delivered just Lot,
vexed with the filthy conversation
{ie., lifestyle} of the wicked:
2:8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them,
in seeing and hearing, vexed [his] righteous soul
from day to day with [their] unlawful deeds;)
2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations,
and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
God spared not {ie., did not withhold judgment upon} --
A. the angels that sinned (v.4)- [moved by Satan's rebellion (see Rev 12:7-9).]
The fallen angels were...
  • cast down to 'hell' {GK=tartarus} -
    This is neither 'sheol' nor 'hades' (the place of disembodied human spirits) nor 'gehenna' ('hell-fire'), but a distinct place of confinement where the wicked angels await final judgment.
  • delivered into 'chains' {GK=seira} of darkness {GK=zophos, utter darkness, hopeless gloom}.
    Some MSS have GK=seiros, meaning 'pits' or 'caves.'
    In Jude 1:6, chains is GK-desmos, meaning 'bands' or 'shackles'
  • reserved {ie., kept, guarded} unto judgment.-
    These imprisoned angels (demons) will be released briefly during the Tribulation period (Rev 9:1-3,14-15), prior to their final doom (Rev 20:10; Mat 25:41).
[Note: In Gen 6:1-5, the 'sons of God' does not refer to fallen angels, but rather to the 'godly line' of God fearing men (descendants of Seth), which inter-married with Cain's self-serving descendants. When the human race had thoroughly corrupted itself, it was ripe for judgment (by the Flood).]
B. the wicked men of Noah's day (v.5; Gen 6:5-8) - [moved by worldly corruption]
Every air breathing creature perished in the Flood.
But God saved Noah and his family (totalling eight persons, 1Pet 3:20).
Noah pictures the 'elect' of the Tribulation period, who will be preserved through the judgment.
C. the cities of Sodom & Gomorrah (v.6-8; Gen ch. 19)- [moved by fleshly perversion]
...God condemned what ungodly men approved. (cp. Rom 1:18-32)
But God delivered Lot, who was 'just' and 'righteous.'
  • Lot, like Abraham, was 'justified' by faith, not by works (cp. Rom 4:2-5).
  • Lot's inner man was 'vexed' {ie., troubled, tormented} by the moral filth around him.
    Lot's life, of compromise with the world, denied what he believed in his heart.
      -- His testimony was a mockery (Gen 19:14).
      -- His prayers were misdirected (Gen 19:7,18-20).
    cf. Abraham's walk with the Lord, and his intercession in behalf of Lot, in Gen ch.18.
  • Lot pictures the Church, taken out of the world (in the Rapture) prior to the Tribulation.
    cf. Lot's wife (whose heart was in the world and in unbelief of God's Word) pictures the false church which will perish under God's wrath during the Tribulation.
These 3 examples demonstrate that the Lord 'knows how' (v.9)...
2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh
in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.
Presumptuous [are they], selfwilled,
they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
2:11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might,
bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed,
speak evil of the things that they understand not;
and shall utterly perish
{lit., shall utterly corrupt away} in their own corruption;
2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness,
[as] they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time.
Spots [they are] and blemishes,
sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin;
beguiling unstable souls:
an heart they have exercised with covetous practices;
cursed children:
2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray,
following the way of Balaam [the son] of Bosor,
who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity:
the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
The Motivation of false teachers (v.10-16):
Their false premise, their false way --
  1. They despise government(s) {GK=kuriotes, dominion, lordship} cp. v.10-12; Jude 1:8
    ie., "They despise... that which God has ordained." [McGee] cp. Psa 2:1-3; Eph 1:15-23
    1. Their rebellious stance is characteristic, for they are...
      • presumptuous- ie., daring, bold, arrogant, audacious
      • self-willed {GK=authades (from 'autos' + 'hedones'), lit., self-pleasing, self-pleasured}
      • without fear... of dignities {GK=doxa, glories, worthies, ie., those who are to be held in honor}.
        Peter does not identify these dignities. They may include church leaders, government officials, good angels, bad angels, God or Satan (cp. Jude 1:8-10).
        The point is that they consider no authority higher than themselves. cp. 2Tim 3:2-4
    2. Their rebellious stance is 'irrational' or 'unreasonable' {the meaning of 'brute,' v.12}.
      They are 'natural,' not 'spiritual.' Being spiritually dead...
        -- they cannot understand the things of God (1Cor 2:14), and
        -- they remain in a condition of 'corruption.' cf. 2Pet 1:4
      They are fit only 'to be taken' {lit., 'to be captured,' or 'coralled'} to destruction.
      Their attempts, to break down the boundaries which God has established, serve only to further entangle themselves in the decadent ruin of their own corruption.
  2. They walk after the flesh (v.10,13-14)--
    • in the lust of uncleanness... unrighteousness... revelings {ie., luxurious debauchery},
    • in their own deceivings {GK=apate (plural form)} while they feast with you-
      In Jude 1:12, the word 'love' {'charity', in KJV; GK=agape} is also plural {lit., 'feasts of loves'}. The 'love feasts' of believers were dual celebrations: (1) of God's love for us in Christ, and (2) of our response of love for Him and for each other. These were to be feasts of 'agape' upon 'agape.' But these deceivers had made them 'apate' upon 'apate' {deception upon deception}.
    • beguiling {GK=deleazo, deceiving, enticing, baiting} unstable souls (cp. v.2).
      They 'bait' ('allure', v.18) them, by appealing to their fleshly desires.
    • exercising {GK=gumnazo} covetousness (ie., for their own gain, cp. v.3).
       These are 'spots... blemishes... cursed children'. (cf. God's own dear children. Eph 5:25-27)
  3. They follow "the way {ie., course} of Balaam" (v.15,16; see Num 22:1-41) -
    • Balaam was a prophet for hire,
      serving the highest bidder, to satisfy his covetousness, cp. v.3).
    • Balaam's covetousness was the 'madness' {'insanity'} that drove him to test God.
      Even the dumb {'voiceless'} beast, upon which the prophet rode, recognized the irrational nature of Balaam's chosen path (cp. v.12).
    The 'way of Balaam' (v.15), 'the error of Balaam' (Jude 1:11), and 'the doctrine of Balaam' (Rev 2:14) represent three different aspects of that false prophet's foolishness.
    • Balaam's 'way' was ministry for money (covetousness).
    • His 'error' was the assumption that God must curse Israel for their sins
      (due to his ignorance of God's gracious provision for the remission of sins).
    • His 'doctrine' was in teaching Balak (his customer) to cause Israel to stumble morally
      (which, according to his 'error,' would force God to curse Israel). Num 25:1-8; 31:16
      [For more, see the Book Notes at Jude 1:11.]
2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest;
to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
2:18 For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity,
they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness,
those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
The Ministry of false teachers (v.17-19):
Their false promise --
  1. of life - from 'wells without water.' cp. Jude 1:12
    These teachers speak eloquently, and with great appeal to the hearers' fleshly senses. But they have no 'living water' to share, because they have not found the Lord for themselves. cp. Jer 2:13; Joh 4:10; 7:38
  2. of liberty - from 'servants of corruption' who are themselves bound by fleshly lusts.
    For example, some false teachers would comfort the guilty consciences, and condone the practices of those who embrace homosexuality.
    In doing so, they deny the clear teaching of God's Word, that...
    1. Homosexual activity is sin. v.6-9; Rom 1:18-32
    2. The wages of sin is death. Rom 3:23; 6:23
      Note that this penalty applies to all kinds of sin, and to all people, for 'all have sinned.'
    3. In Christ, there is salvation from sin's penalty (Rom 1:16-18)
      and deliverance from sin's power (1Cor 6:9-11; 2Cor 5:17).
    Having rejected this salvation for themselves (v.1), the false teachers remain dead in their own sins. Their religiosity offers a false freedom from guilt (based on their denial of sin), and denies the power of God to redeem and transform the sinner. cp. 2Tim 3:5; 1Joh 1:8- 2:2
2:19 While they promise them liberty,
they themselves are the servants of corruption:
for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world
through the knowledge
{GK=epignosis} of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
they are again entangled therein, and overcome,
the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2:21 For it had been better for them
not to have known
{GK=epignosko} the way of righteousness {cp. v.15},
than, after they have known
{GK=epignosko} [it],
to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb,
{Prov 26:11}
The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again;
and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
The Muck of false teachers (v.19-22):
Their false pretense exposed... By nature, they are corrupt & polluted. --
  1. servants of corruption - who are in bondage to sin. v.19; cp. Joh 8:34; Rom 6:16
  2. escapees from pollution - who are again entangled in it. v.20
    They had a thorough intellectual understanding of the Gospel, which was morally beneficial. They considered themselves to have 'full knowledge' {GK=epignosis} concerning Christ and the way of righteousness.
    But they had never known Jesus Christ personally...
    • as their Savior.- Therefore, they remained spiritually dead,
      and had not escaped from corruption (2Pet 1:2-4; 2:12).
    • as their Lord.- Therefore, they were not surrendered to His authority.
      Luk 6:46-49; Mat 7:21-23
    Nevertheless, their religious 'moral values' did set them apart from some of the defilements of the world, though they remained in their sin. For example, such teachers may encourage their followers to forsake homosexual promiscuity in favor of a 'committed loving homosexual relationship.' Those who heed this counsel may enjoy certain health benefits. Yet, they remain entangled in pollution.
  3. knowers of the truth - who turned back from it. (v.20-22)
    • It would have been better for them not to have known...
      cp. Mat 11:23,24; Luk 12:47,48; Heb 6:4-8; 10:26-29
    • It was natural for them to return to their place.
      "The sheep returns to the Shepherd (1Pet 2:25); the sow to the mire (v.22). The respective verbs are active and passive. The sow returns of its own will; the sheep is caused to return." [GWms]
      The prodigal son, being a son, does not belong in the pigpen, and finds himself drawn back to his Father. The 'prodigal pig,' being a pig, is not at home in the Father's house, and so, returns to wallow in the muck.
         [J.V.McGee amplifies the story of the prodigal son (Luk 15:11-24) with the story of a 'prodigal pig' who, having heard the boy's testimony of the glories of his Father's house, accompanies him there. But having a pig's heart that longs for muck, the prodigal pig soon returns to his father's pigpen.]
      cp. 1Joh 2:15; Jude 1:17-25

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