Warning about False Teachers
2 In the past there arose false prophets[a] among God’s people, just as there will continue to be false teachers who will secretly infiltrate in your midst to divide you, bringing with them their destructive heresies.[b] They will even deny the Master, who paid the price for them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow immoral lifestyles.[c] Because of these corrupt false teachers, the way of truth[d] will be slandered. 3 They are only out for themselves,[e] ready to exploit you for their own gain through their cunning arguments. Their condemnation has been a long time coming. But their destruction does not slumber[f] or sit idly by, for it is sure to come.
4 Now, don’t forget, God had no pity for the angels when they sinned[g] but threw them into the lowest, darkest dungeon of gloom[h] and locked them in chains, where they are firmly held until the judgment of torment.[i]
5 And he did not spare the former world[j] in the days of Noah when he sent a flood to destroy a depraved world[k] (although he protected Noah, the preacher of righteousness, along with seven members of his family).[l]
6 And don’t forget that he reduced to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, condemning them to ruin and destruction.[m] God appointed them to be examples as to what is coming to the ungodly.[n] 7 Yet he rescued a righteous man, Lot, suffering the indignity of the unbridled lusts of the lawless.[o] 8 For righteous Lot lived among them day after day, distressed in his righteous soul by the rebellious deeds he saw and heard.
9 If the Lord Yahweh rescued Lot, he knows how to continually rescue the godly from their trials and to reserve the ungodly for punishment on the day of judgment.[p] 10 And this especially applies to those who live their lives despising authorities[q] and who abandon themselves to chasing the depraved lusts of their flesh.
The Arrogance of False Teachers
They are willfully arrogant and insolent, unafraid to insult the glorious ones.[r] 11 Yet even angels, who are greater than they in power and strength, do not dare slander them before the Lord.[s] 12 These individuals are nothing but brute beasts—irrational creatures, born in the wild to be caught and destroyed—and they will perish like beasts. They are professional insulters, who slander whatever they don’t understand, and in their destruction they will be destroyed. 13 For all the evil they have done will come crashing down on them. They consider it their great pleasure to carouse in broad daylight. When they come to your love feasts[t] they are but stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions as they feast with you. 14 They are addicted to adultery, with eyes that are insatiable,[u] with sins that never end. They seduce the vulnerable and are experts in their greed—they are but children of a curse!
The Example of Balaam
15 They have wandered off the main road and have gone astray, because they are prophets who love profit—the wages they earn by wrongdoing. They are following the example of Balaam, son of Beor,[v] 16 who was rebuked for evil by a donkey incapable of speech yet that spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.[w]
17 These people are dried-up riverbeds, waterless clouds pushed along by stormy winds—the deepest darkness of gloom has been prepared for them. 18 They spout off with their grandiose, impressive nonsense. Consumed with the lusts of the flesh, they lure back into sin those who recently escaped from their error. 19 They promise others freedom, yet they themselves are slaves to corruption, for people are slaves to whatever overcomes them.
20 Those who escape the corrupting forces of this world system through the experience of knowing about our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah, then go back into entanglement with them and are defeated by them, becoming worse off than they were to start with. 21 It would have been much better for them never to have experienced the way of righteousness than to know it and then turn away from the sacred obligation[x]that was given to them. 22 They become illustrations of the true proverb:
A dog will return to his own vomit[y]
and a washed pig to its rolling in the mud.
- 2 Peter 2:1 Or “Pretend prophets birthed themselves.”
- 2 Peter 2:1 Or “destructive ways of thinking” (viewpoints).
- 2 Peter 2:2 Or “sensualities” (outrageous behaviors).
- 2 Peter 2:2 Or “the true Way.” Some manuscripts have “the glory of the truth.”
- 2 Peter 2:3 Or “with greed.”
- 2 Peter 2:3 The Aramaic can be translated “Abaddon never slumbers.” Abaddon is a Hebrew term for the realm of the dead and symbolizes the bottomless pit.
- 2 Peter 2:4 Because of the context of Noah’s flood, these were possibly the “Watchers,” angels who sinned and rebelled against God’s laws by having sexual relations with women, thus producing offspring (Gen. 6:1-4). They are mentioned in Dan. 4:13, 17, 23; Jude 6–7; the Book of 1 Enoch 6–10; the Book of Jubilees 5; and the Dead Sea Scrolls (The Book of Giants). God put them in chains (ropes) and bound them in Tartarus (the deepest pit of gloom) until their final judgment.
- 2 Peter 2:4 The Greek uses the term Tartarus, a Hellenistic mythical term for the subterranean underworld, the lowest pit (of hell).
- 2 Peter 2:4 As translated from the Aramaic and two older Greek uncials.
- 2 Peter 2:5 Or “original world.”
- 2 Peter 2:5 Or “a world devoid of awe.”
- 2 Peter 2:5 See Gen. 6–8; 1 Peter 3:20.
- 2 Peter 2:6 See Gen. 19.
- 2 Peter 2:6 Or “as an example to the ungodly of coming generations.” After seeing these three examples (fallen angels, people who lived at the time of the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah), it is difficult to believe that everyone will ultimately be saved. There is a doom that awaits the ungodly (those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior).
- 2 Peter 2:7 As translated from the Aramaic.
- 2 Peter 2:9 Or “to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,” which implies that the wicked are living under God’s punishment even before they are ultimately judged.
- 2 Peter 2:10 Or “despising realms of power” (authority). The Aramaic can be translated “They do not tremble with awe while they blaspheme.”
- 2 Peter 2:10 Or “slandering reputations” or “blaspheming glories” (dignitaries). Because of the context, most believe this is speaking of “glorious” celestial beings in heaven (e.g., archangels). See Jude 8–10.
- 2 Peter 2:11 Some manuscripts do not have “before the Lord.”
- 2 Peter 2:13 Peter equates the gatherings of believers as “love feasts.” Our true purpose in coming together is to magnify and feast on the love of Christ, sharing his love with all.
- 2 Peter 2:14 Or “Their eyes are full of an adulteress.”
- 2 Peter 2:15 Or “Bosor.”
- 2 Peter 2:16 See Num. 22–24.
- 2 Peter 2:21 Or “holy command.”
- 2 Peter 2:22 See Prov. 26:11. The rest of the proverb is believed to be a quote from Heraclitus of Ephesus, known as the “weeping philosopher” (535–475 BC).