2 Peter Chapter 2

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THE general subject of this chapter is stated in the first verse, and it embraces these points:

(1.) that it might be expected that there would be false teachers among Christians, as there were false prophets in ancient times;

(2.) that they would introduce destructive errors, leading many astray; and,

(3.) that they would be certainly punished. The design of the chapter is to illustrate and defence these points.

I. That there would be such false teachers the apostle expressly states in 2 Pet 2:1; and incidentally in that verse, and elsewhere in the chapter, he notices some of their characteristics, or some of the doctrines which they would hold.

(a.) They would deny the Lord that bought them, 2 Pet 2:1. see "2 Pet 2:1".

(b.) They would be influenced by covetousness, and their object in their attempting to seduce others from the faith, and to induce them to become followers of themselves, would be to make money, 2 Pet 2:3.

(c.) They would be corrupt, beastly, and licentious in their conduct; and it would be one design of their teaching to show that the indulgence of gross passions was not inconsistent with religion; 2 Pet 2:10, "that walk after the flesh, in the lust of uncleanness;" 2 Pet 2:12, "as natural brute beasts;" "shall perish in their own corruption;" 2 Pet 2:14, "having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin;" 2 Pet 2:22, "the dog has returned to his own vomit again."

(d.) They would be proud, arrogant, and self-willed; men who would despise all proper government, and who would be thoroughly "radical" in their views; 2 Pet 2:10, and despise government; presumptuous are they and self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities;" 2 Pet 2:18, "they speak great swelling words of vanity."

(e.) They were persons who had been formerly of corrupt lives, but who had become professing Christians. This is implied in 2 Pet 2:20ff. They are spoken of as having "escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" as "having known the ways of righteousness," but as having turned again to their former corrupt practices and lusts; "it has happened to them according to the true proverb," etc. There were various classes of persons in primitive times, coming under the general appellation of the term Gnostic, to whom this description would apply, and it is probable that they had begun to broach their doctrines in the times of the apostles. Among those persons were the Ebionites, Corinthians, Nicolaitanes, etc.

II. These false teachers would obtain followers, and their teachings would be likely to allure many. This is intimated more than once in the chapter: 2 Pet 2:2, "and many shall follow their pernicious ways;" 2 Pet 2:3, "and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you;" 2 Pet 2:14, "beguiling unstable souls." Comp. 2 Pet 2:18.

III. They would certainly be punished. A large part of the chapter is taken up in proving this point, and especially in showing from the examples of others who had erred in a similar manner, that they could not escape destruction. In doing this, the apostle refers to the following facts and illustrations:

(1.) The case of the angels that sinned, and that were cast down to hell, 2 Pet 2:4. If God brought such dreadful punishment on those who were once before his throne, wicked men could have no hope of escape.

(2.) The case of the wicked in the time of Noah, who were cut off by the flood, 2 Pet 2:5.

(3.) The case of Sodom and Gomorrah, 2 Pet 2:6.

(4.) The character of the persons referred to was such that they could have no hope of escape.

(a.) They were corrupt, sensual, presumptuous, and selfwilled, and were even worse than the rebel angels had been -- men that seemed to be made to be taken and destroyed, 2 Pet 2:10ff.

(b.) They were spots and blemishes, sensual and adulterers, emulating the example of Balaam, who was rebuked by even a dumb ass for his iniquity, 2 Pet 2:13ff.

(c.) They allured others to sin under the specious promise of liberty, while they were themselves the slaves of debased appetites, and gross and sensual passions, 2 Pet 2:17ff. From the entire description in this chapter, it is clear that the persons referred to, though once professors of religion, had become eminently abandoned and corrupt. It may not, indeed, be easy to identify them with any particular sect or class then existing and now known in history, though not a few of the sects in the early Christian church bore a strong resemblance to this description; but there have been those in every age who have strongly resembled these persons; and this chapter, therefore, possesses great value as containing important warnings against the arts of false teachers, and the danger of being seduced by them from the truth. Compare Introduction to Jude, & 3, 4.


1: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. edit

2: And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. edit

3: And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. edit

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; edit

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; edit

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; edit

7: And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: edit

8: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) edit

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: edit

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. edit

11: Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. edit

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 in their own corruption; edit

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; edit

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: edit

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; edit

16: But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. edit

17: These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. edit

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. edit

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. edit

20: For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. edit

21: For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. edit

22: But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. edit

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