Translations: Chinese GB Big5

2Peter 2 (web)

False Teachers

2:1 But there also arose false prophets among the people,
as among you also there will be false teachers,

Their Effect

Their Condemnation

whose sentence now from of old doesn't linger,
and their destruction will not slumber.
2:4 For
if God didn't spare angels when they sinned,
but cast them down to Tartarus {Tartarus is another name for Hell},
and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved to judgment;
2:5 and didn't spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly;
2:6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly;
2:7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was very distressed by the lustful life of the wicked
2:8 (for that righteous man dwelling among them, was tormented in his righteous soul from day to day with seeing and hearing lawless deeds):
2:9 the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation
and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment;

Their Description

2:10 but chiefly those
who walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement,and despise authority.
A. They Despise Authority

Daring, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries;

2:11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power,
don't bring a railing judgment against them before the Lord.
2:12 But these, as unreasoning creatures,
born natural animals to be taken and destroyed,
speaking evil in matters about which they are ignorant,
will in their destroying surely be destroyed,
2:13 receiving the wages of unrighteousness;

B. They Follow Corrupt Desires

people who count it pleasure to revel in the day-time, spots and blemishes,
reveling in their deceit while they feast with you;
2:14 having eyes full of adultery, and who can't cease from sin;
enticing unsettled souls; having a heart trained in greed; children of cursing;
2:15 forsaking the right way, they went astray,
having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor,
who loved the wages of wrong-doing;

2:16 but he was rebuked for his own disobedience.
A mute donkey spoke with man's voice
and stopped the madness of the prophet.
2:17 These are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm;
for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.
2:18 For, uttering great swelling words of emptiness,
they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by licentiousness,
those who are indeed escaping from those who live in error;
2:19 promising them liberty,
while they themselves are bondservants of corruption;
for by whom a man is overcome,
by the same is he also brought into bondage.
2:20 For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world
through the knowledge of {epignosis = "knowledge about"}
the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
they are again entangled therein and overcome,
the last state has become worse with them than the first.
2:21 For it would be better for them not to have known {about}
the way of righteousness, than, after knowing {about} it,
to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
2:22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb,
"The dog turns to his own vomit again," (Prov 26:11)
and "the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire."

Discussion Questions

What are ways in which you might identify a false teacher?
Have you met any false teachers from cults - or even within the "Christian" community?
What is destructive about the heresy they spread?
How has their teaching brought the way of truth into disrepute?
vs 15 Does Peter treat these people like sheep gone astray?
vs 17 Do you find sermons to be foggy and vague? Do they provoke the passions of your flesh, or motivate you to walk in the Spirit by faith? Do they feed your flesh or your spirit?


False Teachers Deny Christ as Lord

2Peter 2:1-2  But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them— bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.

This chapter is paralleled with the epistle of Jude thought for thought. "For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." Jude 1:4

Paul warned the Ephesian elders, "I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them." Acts 20:29-30 This was even the case within the church at Jerusalem of where Peter served. For out of that church came judaizers of whom Paul said, "This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves." Gal 2:4

The word "Lord" here is not the commonly used word "kurios", but "dispotes" which relates only to a slave and denotes absolute ownership and uncontrolled power. That is, in particular they rejected Christ being their master, which is part of the gospel. For "he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2Cor 5:15 Likewise today there are those who view as merely optional acceptance of Christ as Lord in the sense of he being our Master and we his servants. For inherent in saving faith is the intention to do what Jesus says seeing as He is Lord.

But there are many who treat freedom in Christ as freedom to live a sinful lifestyle, defending such a lifestyle based upon those who teach falsely, and consequently give Christianity a bad name.

Greedy Exploitation

2Peter 2:3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

This is to be contrasted with the previous chapter where Peter states, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." 2Peter 1:16 For the gospel was well affirmed by eyewitness testimony. (Luke 1:1-2)

Contrary to Paul's advice given in Acts 20:33-35, the many demand payment for their preaching. And Paul says, "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God." 2Cor 2:17 Consequently if a person is financially dependent upon others, issues of greed arise. And if greed is involved, one's profit margins would increase if one could increase the size of one's constituents. Consequently false teachers characteristically make up stories to attract more people to listen to them. Fund raising missionaries must also beware of exaggerating or outright fabricating stories of their fruitfulness. For that will be a temptation if your ministry is dependent upon financial support from others.

Jude warns of false teachers, "they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage." Jude 1:16c In contrast Paul said, "You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed" 1Th 2:5 And Jude also characterized them saying, "they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error" Jude 1:11b For despite knowing God's will, Balaam accepted payment to prophecy contrary to God's will. Yet how many a teacher has neglected to teach God's word concerning those things which are unpopular as such would threaten their own popularity. In contrast Jesus had not such concerns as he openly taught things which made him unpopular to the point of being murdered.

God Condemns the Wicked

2Peter 2:4,5 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others

Apparently angels have the potential to sin. These we call devils. They are led by Satan. Jesus speaks of the judgement day in which the unrighteous will be told, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Mt 25:41

Hell is not a prison but a jail for those awaiting the judgement day in which they will be cast into the lake of fire. This verse leads up to verse 9 which says, "if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment." The  internment into hell, being subject to torment till the judgement day is the same experience both for fallen angels and unrighteous people.

For now some fallen angels have been allowed to roam the earth, like Satan himself. Upon the Lord's return he will be bound for 1000 years in the Abyss (Rev 20:1-3) but will be released for a short time before being thrown in the lake of fire (Rev 20:7,10) Evil spirits are terrified at the thought of being thrown into the Abyss. When an evil spirit  saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!" ... And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. Luke 8:28,31 (Useful to know if you're having trouble casting out demons)

The flood is mentioned in Genesis chapters 6-9. The seven others were his wife, his three sons and their wives. Notice that Noah is not simply characterized as a righteous man, but as a preacher. Those who are righteous should also be involved in taking a public stand on their convictions. And especially considering Jesus said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." Mt 24:37

Sodom and Gomorrah

2Peter 2:6-8 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—

Alot of people today will be taken by surprise at God's wrath. For though they use the word "God", they have in mind something quite different than the Lord God as portrayed in the Bible, rather viewing their "God" as a sort of Santa Claus figure.

Why did he turn Sodom and Gomorrah to ash? "Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire." Jude 1:7 Naturally the righteous should not be involved in sexual immorality. "Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people ... For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a man is an idolater— has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." Eph 5:3,5 In fact the righteous should feel distressed, even tormented, by the filthy lives of the lawless.

How does it make you feel if your neighbor is involved in sexual immorality, having sex outside of marriage, or committing acts of homosexuality, or promoting such things. Do you feel proud of your toleration of such people? Which do you feel? Tormented or proud?

God Rescues the Godly

2Peter 2:9  if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.

While, "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22b, the righteous are not subject to God's wrath. The tribulations we suffer now are from the world, the flesh and the devil. But ungodly suffer the eternal punishment of God's wrath. Abraham was concerned about the righteous living in Sodom and Gommorrah, asking God, "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?" Gen 18:23 Contrary to the prejudice God does not believe in guilt by association. Though surrounded by the wicked, God will distinguish the righteous as wheat among the tares and deliver them.

In Matthew 13 Jesus speaks of the Wheat and the Tares in which the righteous and wicked live among one another, but on the day of judgement, "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Mt 13:40,41

By "continuing their punishment" it is referring to hell. Hell is not a prison but a jail for the unrighteous awaiting the judgement day in which they will be thrown into the lake of fire. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 it says of the rich man, "In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’" Luke 16:23,24

Why the Ungodly Despise Authority

2Peter 2:10,11 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander dignitaries; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.

Jude follows suit. For right after commenting on Sodom and Gomorrah he continues, "In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander dignitaries. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Jude 1:8,9

Those who characteristically despise authority do so because they refuse to view themselves as subordinates, being obligated to obey someone other than their own desires. Those who despise authority despise the concept of submission and obedience. (For example wives who reject their Biblical role of subordination to their husband, or more generally women who reject the Biblical principle of male headship (1Cor 11:3), do so because they despise the role of a subordinate.)  Those who reject the concept of authority reject Jesus as LORD, following rather the desires of their own corrupt sinful nature. "For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." Jude 1:4

The rebellious will alway find excuses for not obeying authority, even if they have to make up false accusations.

The Wicked - Creatures of Instinct

2Peter 2:12,13 But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.

Being ignorant of the truth, these people "do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm." 1Tim 1:7b And "a man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish." Ps 49:20 It is the understanding that puts us above beasts. But to be driven simply by the passions of the flesh is to be an animal.

Taking pleasure in carousing in the day time implies that carousing is a shameful thing that the more conscientious would at most limit to the darkness. "Carousing" here is "truphe" in Greek, which interestingly enough has a couple of different connotations. One is to riot. The other refers to softness, effeminate, luxurious living. (Sort of a "Liberace" type - shades of gay pride parades)

However in particular he is referring to such people as participate in church activities ("while they feast with you"), not only identifying themselves as Christians but also viewing themselves as its spokesmen.

Likewise Jude writes of them, "Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals— these are the very things that destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm— shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted— twice dead." Jude 1:10-12 

The Way of Balaam

2Peter 2:14-16 "With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed— an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey— a beast without speech— who spoke with a man’s voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

In contrast to those born of God of whom it is said, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin" 1John 3:9a, these continue in a lifestyle of sin. In church these lust after other's spouse. These lead the immature away, as Paul writes, "I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." 2Cor 11:3 These are like the teachers of the Law of whom Jesus said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence" Mt 23:25

As Jude likewise mentioned, "they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error... shepherds who feed only themselves." Jude 1:11b,12b The situation with Balaam was basically that of a prophet who had sold out, taking money do prophecy contrary to God's will. But his own ass rebuked him. Likewise it says in Revelation 2:14 "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality." For failing to curse Israel, he opted to corrupt them by introducing licentious practices of foreign religions. 

There are those who teach heresy for financial gain. For whatever is popular is seldom Biblical. Thus to optimize one's profits these teach that which the populace want to hear. In fact Paul advises teachers avoid getting paid, which among other things, would avoid calling into questions one's motives.

Slaves of Depravity

2Peter 2:17-19 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity— for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.

Jude writes, "They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted— twice dead." Jude 1:12c For just like a cloud without rain, a spring without water, they appear to promise freedom, but nothing comes of it. There is no life in them. For Jesus said, "the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14b

Just like the devil they influence people by appealing to the desires of the sinful nature. "Just escaping" are not mature Christians. For the mature can smell out a wolf a mile away. For "solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Heb 5:14

One type of false teacher are those "who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality" Jude 1:4b These are those who view acceptance of the Lordship of Christ as optional. Freedom in Christ is not freedom to sin, but freedom from sin. "Everyone who sins is a slave to sin." John 8:34b

Overcome by the World

2Peter 2:20,21 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

There are those who come to Christ simply to reform their behavior. Those he is speaking of here are not those who know the Lord personally, but rather those who know about the Lord. The word "know" here (or "knowledge") is "epignosis" in the greek. While the more general and more commonly used term for knowledge is "gnosis", "epignosis" is a more specific type of gnosis.  "epi" is a greek preposition which means "around". And thus the "epidermis" is the skin which goes around the body. Thus it means to know about something rather than knowing someone personally.

They do have personal experience in trying to live the Christian life, compliance to the Lord's command.  (For in that respect the word "gnosis" is used in verse 21). But they fail to live up to it, as they have not come to know Jesus personally and thus have not been born of God and so the Christian life is unnatural to them. They fall back into sinful addictions, being overcome. But of those born of God it is written, "everyone born of God overcomes the world." 1John 5:4a

How can they be worse off, having fallen away? Before they were going to hell, and having known and fallen away they end up with the same fate. So what is different? The more you know, the more you will be held accountable for. Jesus said, "That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:47,48


2Peter 2:22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

The first is found in Pr 26:11 "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." The reason why a dog returns to his vomit because that's its nature. The reason a pig goes back to wallowing in the mud is because that's its nature. Christians who do so indicate by such behavior that they had not been born again. For "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." 2Cor 5:17 But rather as John said, "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1John 2:19 For "we know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin." 1John 5:18a


Identifying False Teachers

By Their Speech
    Do they deny Christ as Lord and that Christ has bought us?
    Do they make up stories?
    Do they secretly introduce destructive heresies?
    Do they mouth empty, boastful words and, appeal to lustful desires?
    (They may promise freedom from guilt and focus on feelings)
    Do they slander Biblical authorities?
By Their Motivations
    Greed. The passions of the flesh.
By Their Behavior
    Personal holiness
      Do they follow the passions of their sinful nature, or the Spirit of God?
      Do they live a lifestyle of sin?
      Do they overindulge in luxury?
      After having repented, do they later go back 
      and practice old sin habits accepting them as part of their lifestyle?

The Effect of False Teachers

Bring the way of truth into disrepute
Seduce the unstable & entice people
Many will be misled

The Judgment of False Teachers

Peter's attitude towards them:
    Peter speaks no words of compassion for these people
    He likens them to devils and Sodomites
Their Present Judgment: Slaves of Depravity
Their Future Judgment: Hell

2Peter 2 RAP

2:1 Now there used to be false prophets among the people too
Just as there will be false teachers yes even among you
They teach destructive heresies in secret do they offend
even denying the Lord who bought them - destruction is their end.
2 To their shameful ways many will follow suite
And bring the way of truth into disrepute
3 In their greed these teachers exploit you with stories they made up
Their condemnation awaits them and destruction when they wake up
4 For if God did not spare the angels when they fell
And put them in dungeons for judgment down in hell
5 And if He didn't spare the ungodly from the flood
But protected Noah and seven others from getting covered with mud
6 If He destroy Sodom and Gomorrah after the angels had their dinner
And made them an example of what's to become of the sinner
7 And if He rescued righteous Lot distressed all his days
8 By the lives of these lawless men bisexuals and gays
9 If this is so, God can rescue godly men 
And hold the lawless for that day, Praise God, Amen!
10 And especially those who follow their corrupt desires
And despise authorities they are such liars
11 For they are not afraid to slander dignitaries
Bold and arrogant they are as if God's emissaries
Although stronger even angels do not bring
Such accusations in the presence of the King
12 These men blaspheme in matters they do not understand
But like beasts they will be taken from the land
13 They will be paid for the harm they have done
For to them to carouse in the daytime is fun
They are blots and blemishes reveling in their pleasure
As they feast with you at their own leisure
14 With eyes full of adultery they never stop sinning
They seduce the unstable and in greed they always try winning
15 They left the way and followed after Baal
Who loved the wages of sin along the trail
16 But was rebuked for doing wrong by a mule
Who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the fool
17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by storms
Black darkness is reserved for them in hell where it's quite warm!
18 For they mouth empty boastful words by appealing to the flesh
Enticing those just escaping a life in which sin they mesh
19 They promise them freedom, while they are but slaves
For a man is not free if to his flesh he obeys
20 If from such corruption they find their way free
By the knowledge of the Lord, yet they don't flee
But are once again entangled and are overcome
They're worst of at the end than where they started from
21 It may have been better for them not to have known the way of truth
Than to have turned their backs on the sacred command which they knew even in their youth
22 Of them the proverb is true "To its vomit returns the dog"
So also to them it is true "to the mud returns the clean hog".

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jul 29,2015