2 Peter 2

The Rise of False Prophets

1 But 1false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be 2false teachers 3among you, who will 4secretly introduce 5destructive heresies, even 6denying the 7Master who 8bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
2 Many will follow their 9sensuality, and because of them 10the way of the truth will be 11maligned;
3 and in their 12greed they will 13exploit you with 14false words; 15their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
4 For 16if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and 17committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;
5 and did not spare 18the ancient world, but preserved 19Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a 20flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6 and if He 21condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an 22example to those who would 23live ungodly lives thereafter;
7 and if He 24rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the 25sensual conduct of 26unprincipled men
8 (for by what he saw and heard that 27righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds ),
9 28then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the 29day of judgment,
10 and especially those who 30indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and 31despise authority. Daring, 32self-willed, they do not tremble when they 33revile angelic majesties,
11 34whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.
12 But 35these, like unreasoning animals, 36born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where * they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,
13 suffering wrong as 37the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to 38revel in the 39daytime. They are stains and blemishes, 40reveling in their deceptions, as they 41carouse with you,
14 having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, 42enticing 43unstable souls, having a heart trained in 44greed, 45accursed children;
15 forsaking 46the right way, they have gone astray, having followed 47the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved 48the wages of unrighteousness;
16 but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, 49for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.
17 These are 50springs without water and mists driven by a storm, 51for whom the black darkness has been reserved.
18 For speaking out 52arrogant words of 53vanity they 54entice by fleshly desires, by 55sensuality, those who barely 56escape from the ones who live in error,
19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for 57by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.
20 For if, after they have 58escaped the defilements of the world by 59the knowledge of the 60Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again 61entangled in them and are overcome, 62the last state has become worse for them than the first.
21 63For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from 64the holy commandment 65handed on to them.
22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "66A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire."

2 Peter 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

Believers are cautioned against false teachers, and the certainty of their punishment shown from examples. (1-9) An account of these seducers, as exceedingly wicked. (10-16) But as making high pretences to liberty and purity. (17-22)

Verses 1-9 Though the way of error is a hurtful way, many are always ready to walk therein. Let us take care we give no occasion to the enemy to blaspheme the holy name whereby we are called, or to speak evil of the way of salvation by Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. These seducers used feigned words, they deceived the hearts of their followers. Such are condemned already, and the wrath of God abides upon them. God's usual method of proceeding is shown by examples. Angels were cast down from all their glory and dignity, for their disobedience. If creatures sin, even in heaven, they must suffer in hell. Sin is the work of darkness, and darkness is the wages of sin. See how God dealt with the old world. The number of offenders no more procures favour, than their quality. If the sin be universal, the punishment shall likewise extend to all. If in a fruitful soil the people abound in sin, God can at once turn a fruitful land into barrenness, and a well-watered country into ashes. No plans or politics can keep off judgments from a sinful people. He who keeps fire and water from hurting his people, ( Isaiah 43:2 ) , can make either destroy his enemies; they are never safe. When God sends destruction on the ungodly, he commands deliverance for the righteous. In bad company we cannot but get either guilt or grief. Let the sins of others be troubles to us. Yet it is possible for the children of the Lord, living among the most profane, to retain their integrity; there being more power in the grace of Christ, and his dwelling in them, than in the temptations of Satan, or the example of the wicked, with all their terrors or allurements. In our intentions and inclinations to commit sin, we meet with strange hinderances, if we mark them When we intend mischief, God sends many stops to hinder us, as if to say, Take heed what you do. His wisdom and power will surely effect the purposes of his love, and the engagements of his truth; while wicked men often escape suffering here, because they are kept to the day of judgment, to be punished with the devil and his angels.

Verses 10-16 Impure seducers and their abandoned followers, give themselves up to their own fleshly minds. Refusing to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ, they act against God's righteous precepts. They walk after the flesh, they go on in sinful courses, and increase to greater degrees of impurity and wickedness. They also despise those whom God has set in authority over them, and requires them to honour. Outward temporal good things are the wages sinners expect and promise themselves. And none have more cause to tremble, than those who are bold to gratify their sinful lusts, by presuming on the Divine grace and mercy. Many such there have been, and are, who speak lightly of the restraints of God's law, and deem themselves freed from obligations to obey it. Let Christians stand at a distance from such.

Verses 17-22 The word of truth is the water of life, which refreshes the souls that receive it; but deceivers spread and promote error, and are set forth as empty, because there is no truth in them. As clouds hinder the light of the sun, so do these darken counsel by words wherein there is no truth. Seeing that these men increase darkness in this world, it is very just that the mist ofdarkness should be their portion in the next. In the midst of their talk of liberty, these men are the vilest slaves; their own lusts gain a complete victory over them, and they are actually in bondage. When men are entangled, they are easily overcome; therefore Christians should keep close to the word of God, and watch against all who seek to bewilder them. A state of apostacy is worse than a state of ignorance. To bring an evil report upon the good way of God, and a false charge against the way of truth, must expose to the heaviest condemnation. How dreadful is the state here described! Yet though such a case is deplorable, it is not utterly hopeless; the leper may be made clean, and even the dead may be raised. Is thy backsliding a grief to thee? Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.

Cross References 66

  • 1. Deuteronomy 13:1f; Jeremiah 6:13
  • 2. 2 Corinthians 11:13
  • 3. Matthew 7:15; 1 Timothy 4:1
  • 4. Galatians 2:4; Jude 4
  • 5. 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20
  • 6. Jude 4
  • 7. Revelation 6:10
  • 8. 1 Corinthians 6:20
  • 9. Genesis 19:5f; 2 Peter 2:7, 18; Jude 4
  • 10. Acts 16:17; Acts 22:4; Acts 24:14
  • 11. Romans 2:24
  • 12. 1 Timothy 6:5; 2 Peter 2:14; Jude 16
  • 13. 2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:5
  • 14. Romans 16:18; 2 Peter 1:16
  • 15. Deuteronomy 32:35
  • 16. Jude 6
  • 17. Revelation 20:1
  • 18. Ezekiel 26:20; 2 Peter 3:6
  • 19. Genesis 6:8, 9; 1 Peter 3:20
  • 20. 2 Peter 3:6
  • 21. Genesis 19:24; Jude 7
  • 22. Isaiah 1:9; Matthew 10:15; Matthew 11:23; Romans 9:29; Jude 7
  • 23. Jude 15
  • 24. Genesis 19:16, 29
  • 25. Genesis 19:5f; 2 Peter 2:2, 18; Jude 4
  • 26. 2 Peter 3:17
  • 27. Hebrews 11:4
  • 28. 1 Corinthians 10:13; Revelation 3:10
  • 29. Matthew 10:15; Jude 6
  • 30. 2 Peter 3:3; Jude 16, 18
  • 31. Exodus 22:28; Jude 8
  • 32. Titus 1:7
  • 33. Exodus 22:28; Jude 8
  • 34. Jude 9
  • 35. Jude 10
  • 36. Jeremiah 12:3; Colossians 2:22
  • 37. 2 Peter 2:15
  • 38. Romans 13:13
  • 39. 1 Thessalonians 5:7
  • 40. Romans 13:13
  • 41. 1 Corinthians 11:21; Jude 12
  • 42. 2 Peter 2:18
  • 43. James 1:8; 2 Peter 3:16
  • 44. 2 Peter 2:3
  • 45. Ephesians 2:3
  • 46. Acts 13:10
  • 47. Numbers 22:5, 7; Deuteronomy 23:4; Nehemiah 13:2; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14
  • 48. 2 Peter 2:13
  • 49. Numbers 22:21, 23, 28, 30f
  • 50. Jude 12
  • 51. Jude 13
  • 52. Jude 16
  • 53. Ephesians 4:17
  • 54. 2 Peter 2:14
  • 55. 2 Peter 2:2
  • 56. 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:20
  • 57. John 8:34; Romans 6:16
  • 58. 2 Peter 2:18
  • 59. 2 Peter 1:2
  • 60. 2 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 3:18
  • 61. 2 Timothy 2:4
  • 62. Matthew 12:45; Luke 11:26
  • 63. Ezekiel 18:24; Hebrews 6:4f; Hebrews 10:26; James 4:17
  • 64. Galatians 6:2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Peter 3:2
  • 65. Jude 3
  • 66. Proverbs 26:11

Footnotes 8

  • [a]. Or "herald"
  • [b]. Lit "trial;" or "temptation"
  • [c]. Lit "go after"
  • [d]. Lit "glories"
  • [e]. Lit "their destruction also"
  • [f]. One early ms reads "love feasts"
  • [g]. Lit "blackness of darkness"
  • [h]. Lit "The thing of the true proverb has happened to them"

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a description of false teachers, that were then in Christian churches, as there had been false prophets among the Jews; and they are described by the doctrines, which they privily introduced; in general, damnable heresies; in particular, denying the Lord that bought them; and by their success, having many followers of them in their pernicious ways; and by the sad effects following hereupon; with respect to the way of truth, that was blasphemed; with respect to their hearers, they, through the covetousness of these false teachers, were made merchandise of; and with respect to themselves, swift and sure destruction would be brought upon them, 2Pe 2:1-3, which is illustrated and confirmed by the instances of punishment in the angels, the men of the old world, and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, 2Pe 2:4-8 and whereas, in these instances, notice is taken of the deliverance of some righteous persons, as Noah and Lot, when wicked men were destroyed; the apostle draws this conclusion from the whole, that the Lord knows both how to deliver the saints out of afflictions, and to reserve wicked men until the day of judgment, then to be punished, 2Pe 2:9, especially such shall be then punished, who are described by their impure course of lift, their contempt of civil government, and their presumption and selfwill, 2Pe 1:10 which sins of theirs are aggravated by the different conduct of angels, superior to them; and by their being like brute beasts, as ignorant as they, and even below them; whose punishment will be to perish in their corruption, as the just reward of their unrighteousness, since they are open in sin, take pleasure in it, and sport themselves with it, and are spots and blemishes in Christian societies, 2Pe 2:11-13 and these, who are no other than the false teachers before spoken of, are further described by their adulterous eyes, which cannot cease from sin; by their beguiling unstable souls; by the covetous practices their hearts were exercised with; by their just desert, cursed children; by the course they steer, forsaking the right way, going astray from it, and following the way of Balaam in his covetousness, and other wicked practices, for which he was reproved by his ass; and by various metaphors, which express the emptiness of these persons, and which also point at their destruction, and describe their boasts and brags, and the influence they have, through their lasciviousness and uncleanness, on some persons, who have been outwardly reformed, 2Pe 2:14-18 and this they obtain over them in a very stupid and senseless way, by promising them liberty, when through being overcome by them, and drawn into sin, they were brought into bondage, and become servants of corruption; and so their case is worse than it was before their reformation, and profession of religion; and better it would have been not to have had the knowledge they had, than after it to turn from the paths of truth and holiness, which is illustrated by a true Scripture proverb, which expresses the filthy nature of sin, the character of these men, and their irrecoverable state and condition, 2Pe 2:19-22.

2 Peter 2 Commentaries

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