Second Peter Chapter Two

Prophecy of Infiltration of False Teachers (v.1)

VERSE 1 But false prophets also arose among the people (de. yeudoprofh/tai kai. evn tw/| law/ [conj., de, but, + n.m.p., pseudoprophetes, false prophet, + conj./adjunc., kai, + aor.dep.ind.3.p., ginomai, "arose", + prep.w/, laos, people]), just as there will also be false teachers among you (w`j kai. evn u`mi/n e;sontai yeudodida,skaloi [conj./compar., hos + conj./adjunc., kai, + fut.mid.ind.3.p., eimi, + n.m.p., pseudodidaskos, false teacher]), who will secretly introduce destructive heresies (oi[tinej pareisa,xousin ai`re,seij avpwlei,aj [pro./rel.n.m.p., hostis, such a kind as, + fut.act.ind.3.p., pareisa,gw pareisago, bring in from the outside; 1X, + acc.f.p., ai[resij, hairesis, sect; faction; heresy, + gen.f.s., apoleia, destruction; "destructive"]), even denying the Master who bought them (kai. avrnou,menoi despo,thn to.n avgora,santa auvtou.j [conj./ascen. +, avrne,omai, arneomai, deny, + acc.m.s., despo,thj, despotes, master, sovereign, + w/, avgora,zw, agorazo, purchase, + pro.acc.m.p., autos]), bringing swift destruction upon themselves (evpa,gontej tacinh.n avpw,leian e`autoi/j [, evpa,gw, epago, bring upon; Acts.5:28; 2Pet.2:1,5 + adj.acc.f.s., tacino,j, tachinos, swift; imminent; quick; 2X: 2Pet.1:14; 2:1 + acc.f.s., apoleia, destruction, + pro./reflex.dat.m.p., heautou, himself; themselves]).


  1. This chapter is closely linked with the preceding chapter.
  2. Indeed, it has been observed that 2Pet.1:16Ė2:3 has a chiastic order:
    1. Apostles (1:16-18).
    2. Prophets (1:19-21).
    3. False Prophets (2:1a).
    4. False Teachers (2:1b-3).
  1. In this chapter, Peter goes on the attack against his counterparts Ė the false teachers.
  2. Peterís thoughts still linger in the O.T. history.
  3. In Israel "there were also false prophets among the people", as well as true, and now history was repeating itself.
  4. A definition of a false prophet is found in Deut.18:20.
  5. The phenomenon was all too familiar under the Mosaic Covenant (e.g., Deut.13:1-5; 1Kgs.22:5-28; Jer.5:31; Ezek.13; Micah.3:5-12).
  6. The words "there will also be" are a future indicative, which is a prophetic statement relative to future developments within the current dispensation.
  7. This prophecy is fulfilled over the course of the Church Age.
  8. These "false teachers" (notice the quick change from pseudoprophtetai to pseudodidaskaloi, suggesting that perhaps the false teachers did not put forth any pretentions to being prophets) are the type of individuals who (oi[tinej, hoitines) introduce heretical views "secretly".
  9. The verb "introduce" has two overtones: it means to "bring in alongside" (true teachings) and also to "introduce secretly" (cf. Gal.2:4).
  10. These individuals operate as wolves in sheepís clothing (Mt.7:15; cp. Acts.20:29).
  11. "Destructive heresies" (literally, "of destruction" - a Hebraism) means doctrines destructive of true faith.
  12. The word "heresies" (ai]`resij, haires; literally, "choice") was applied to a party or sect (cf. Acts.5:17; 15:5) or to the views held by a sect.
  13. Divisiveness (Gal.5:20; 1Cor.11:18ff) and arrogant independence (Ti.3:10) are Pauline uses of the term.
  14. The term is used here as a synonym for false doctrine.
  15. The extent to which these heretics would sink into error is reflected in the words "even denying the Master (or ĎSovereigní) who bought them".
  16. The term "bought" (aorist participle of agorazo, to purchase) shows the helplessness of manís plight and the costliness of Christís rescue.
  17. The verb is used of the redemption of Israel out of Egypt.
  18. In the Cross, as in the Exodus, we see Godís personal intervention for His people, not only to deliver them from bondage and death, but also to redeem them as His own people (cf. 2Sam.7:23).
  19. This statement, that Christ "bought them", points to the doctrine of unlimited atonement if we accept the fact that the false teachers in view here are unbelievers.
  20. The purchase price of the false teachers is the blood of Christ, or the spiritual death of Christ during the three hours of darkness on the Cross.
  21. The liberal false teachers attack the very thing that provides them with the potential of eternal salvation.
  22. Theological liberals typically deny the deity of Christ and the necessity of the substitutionary death of Christ.
  23. They follow in the way of Cain.
  24. The final statement, "bringing swift destruction upon themselves", can only refer to their Ph3 judgment.
  25. As individuals they will die, and their judgment in hell will be swift and certain.
  26. The basis for their condemnation is failure to believe in "the Master who bought them" (cf. Jn.3:36).
  27. Those who deny the Lord by rejecting His person and work will find themselves in the hands of a living and all-powerful Judge.
  28. These "false teachers" operate in the name of Christianity.
  29. So far their profile is as follows:
    1. They are rivals to the true teachers of the faith.
    2. They operate within Christian circles ("among you").



    4. They infiltrate Christians ranks.
    5. They promote false doctrine, even denial of Who and What Christ is.
    6. They are held accountable and will face "destruction".
Their Effect and Judgment (v.2)

VERSE 2 And many will follow their sensuality (kai. polloi. evxakolouqh,sousin auvtw/n tai/j avselgei,aij [conj., kai, + adj.n.m.p., polus, many, + fut.act.ind.3.p., evxakolouqe,w, exakoloutheo, follow after, + pro.gen.m.p., autos, +, avse,lgeia, aselgeia, sensuality]), and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned (diV ou]j h` o`do.j th/j avlhqei,aj blasfhmhqh,setai [prep.w/pro./rel.acc.m.p., hos, +, hodos, way, +, aletheia, truth, + fut.pass.ind.3.s., blasphemeo, slander, malign]);

Their Greed (v.3)

VERSE 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words (kai. evn pleonexi,a| evmporeu,sontai u`ma/j plastoi/j lo,goij [conj., kai, + prep.w/loc.f.s., pleonexi,a, pleonezia, greed, + fut.dep.ind.3.p., evmporeuo,mai, emporeuomai, carry on business; 2X: Jam.4:13; "will exploit", or "will merchandise", + pro.acc.m.p., su, + adj.instr.m.p., plasto,j, plastos, fabricated, formed; "false", + instr.m.p., logos, word]); their judgment from long ago is not idle (oi-j to. kri,ma e;kpalai ouvk avrgei/ [pro./rel.dat.m.p., hos; "their", +, krima, judgment, + adjectival adverb, e;kpalai, ekpalai, of time long ago; 2X: 2Pet.3:5 + neg., Ouk + pres.act.ind.3.s. avrge,w, argeo, be idle]), and their destruction is not asleep (kai. h` avpw,leia auvtw/n ouv nusta,zei [conj. +, + pro.gen.m.p., autos; "their", + neg. + pres.act.ind.3.s., nusta,zw, nustazo, be drowsy; fig. for inactive]).


  1. They will, predicts the Apostle Peter, have considerable success, as noted in the words "And many will follow their sensuality".
  2. The "many" here refers to believers who are taken in by their "destructive heresies", along with unbelievers to whom aberrant Christianity is appealing.
  3. These individuals are apparently professed antinomians (or libertines), as the theme of "their sensuality" recurs throughout the chapter either directly or indirectly (cf. 2Pet.2:10,14,18,19,22; cp. 3:3).
  4. They encourage in others sexual freedom/license.
  5. Biblically sound Christianity, called by Peter "the way of truth", was brought into discredit when the false teachers and their followers promoted sexual freedom in the name of God and Christ.
  6. Those who adopted the immoral practices of the libertines brought disrepute upon all Christians.
  7. Those outside the Church were naturally scandalized by those who claimed to be Christian and embraced immorality in the name of God.
  8. The expression in v.2 reflects the influence of Isa.52:5.
  9. Paul cites the text in Rom.2:24 and accuses the Jews of bringing disrepute upon God by their hypocrisy.
  10. The outside world forms an impression of the Church, favorable or unfavorable, based on the conduct of its members (e.g., 1Thess.4:12; 1Tim.6:1; Ti.2:5; 1Pet.2:12,15; 3:16).
  11. A further charge is pressed in v.3.
  12. The driving force behind them is their materialism/money lust (greed of gain; cp. v.14; Jude.11,16).
  13. The N.T. warns spiritual leaders against this vice (1Tim.3:3; Ti.1:7; 1Pet.5:2).
  14. Paul took particular care to avoid suspicion (Acts.20:33ff; 1Thess.2:5).
  15. The verb "will exploit" (fut.dep.ind.3.p., emporeuomai, travel for business; trade; fig. for taking advantage of another; hence, cheat) has a bad connotation here and is akin to our word "cheat".
  16. The false teachers covered "their greed" (evn pleonexi,a|) by using "false words".
  17. In other words, they used specious (having an appearance of legitimacy) arguments to persuade believers to give large sums of money into their hands.
  18. The history of Christianity is filled with ministers and priests who exploited their people for financial gain.
  19. Jesus taught this in the parable of Lk.12:42-48 dealing with the four categories of spiritual leaders.
  20. The two indictments of vv.2,3 relate to sex lust and materialism lust.
  21. Nevertheless, Peter assures his readers they will not escape future judgment.
  22. There is a certain poetic rhythm in the words "their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep".
  23. The words "judgment" and "destruction" are almost personified.
  24. When the wicked are successful and their misdeeds go unpunished, men tend to misinterpret the apparent inactivity and become discouraged, or worse, act lawless themselves.
  25. Godís verdict has already been pronounced against them, and the doom that surely will overtake them has been set in motion "from long ago".
  26. As individuals, they die and face Ph3 wrath in sheol hades.
  27. As a group, their counterparts will enter great tribulation and be destroyed from the planet in the judgments of the seven years.
  28. Those who are believers will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and experience shame and loss.
  29. The unbelievers will be further humiliated at the Great White Throne Judgement.

Examples from the Past (vv.4-10a)

Fornicating Angels (v.4)

VERSE 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned (Eiv ga.r o` qeo.j ouvk evfei,sato avgge,lwn a`marthsa,ntwn [part./conditional, ei, if; here, in a first class condition, + conj., gar, +, theos, + neg. + aor.dep.ind.3.s., fei,domai, pheidomai, spare, free; avoid doing, + gen.m.p., aggelos +, hamartano, sin]), but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment (avlla. pare,dwken seirai/j zo,fou tartarw,saj throume,nouj eivj kri,sin [conj., alla, but, + aor.act.ind.3.s., paradidomi, give over, hand over; "committed", + dat.f.p., seira,, seira, cord, rope, chain, + gen.m.s., zo,foj, zophos, gloom; a designation for the underworld; translation: but handed them over to chains of darkness, +, tartaro,w, consign to Tartarus; 1X; "cast them into hell", or "consigned them to Tartarus", +, tereo, keep, hold in reserve, guard, + prep.w/acc.nt.s., krima, judgment]);


  1. Like Jude (Jude.1:5-7), Peter bases the certainty of retribution on historical precedence.
  2. Peter cites three examples out of the past.
  3. Two of these agree with Jude (the sinning angels and Sodom and Gomorrah).
  4. Judeís first example is that of the Exodus Generation, while Peterís second example is the Flood.
  5. Peter, arranging his examples in chronological order, begins his list by making mention of certain fallen angels who "sinned".
  6. He is, of course, referring to the Genesis 6 episode in which certain fallen angels took beautiful women from among men and spawned a hybrid race of "mighty men".
  7. These angels are called "the sons of God" in Gen.6:2.
  8. Proof that this phrase exclusively refers to angels and not human beings in the O.T. is based on the fact that of the three times this expression occurs outside Gen.6 (vv.2,4); all three clearly refer to angels and not humans (cp. Job.1:6; 2:1; 38:7).
  9. Job.38:7 refers to the entire race of angels before certain angels fell.
  10. Nowhere in the O.T. does the expression ever refer to believers (5X; 2X in Genesis and 3X in Job).
  11. This, of course, took place sometime during the antediluvian civilization (1656 years, from Adam to the Flood).
  12. The Satanic plot was to corrupt true humanity (over time) and negate the possibility of Messiah being true humanity in accordance with Godís promise in Genesis 3.
  13. The expression "seed of the woman" points to the true humanity conceived under special conditions.
  14. The hybrid race that began developing before the Flood posed a threat to a pure human gene pool.
  15. Certain fallen angels (aliens) mated with women to their liking and produced a third category, the half men/half angels that are the subject of pagan lore.
  16. The legends of Hercules and the Titans are examples of this lore that prevailed among the postdiluvians.
  17. Pagan mythology is filled with stories of the gods (and goddesses) cohabiting with certain humans and producing demi-gods.
  18. The true demi-gods are the "mighty men" of Gen.6:4.
  19. These men are also known as "men of renown" for their sensational exploits.
  20. During this time, the community of the adjusted became more and more a beleaguered and marginalized minority.
  21. At the time of the Flood God destroyed all land-breathing mammals, which included the demi-gods.
  22. The particular angels who abandoned their celibacy were denied their freedom and confined to "pits", or "chains of gloom", in the underworld of Tartarus.
  23. Peter agrees with the Homeric legend of the subterranean abyss in which rebellious gods and nefarious humans were punished.
  24. The apocryphal books of Enoch and Baruch read: "And some of them descended and mingled with women. And those who did so were tormented in chains".
  25. Those particular angels are still confined by the power of God for their sensational and brazen sin.
  26. There they wait (as do all unbelievers) for a date with future judgment; hence, the words "reserved for judgment".
  27. They will share the Lake of Fire with Satan and all the fallen angels.
  28. Hence, the words "reserved for (future) judgment".
  29. By the way, Peter says the resurrected humanity of Christ appeared before these angels and made a victorious proclamation on the occasion when He relocated all O.T. saints into the third heaven (cf. 1Pet.3:19,20).
  30. These angels, among all the fallen angels, have not fared very well to say the least!
  31. The human race before the Flood looked up to these celebrities and their illustrious offspring.
  32. But God is more than able to abase the affluent, proud, and lawless.
  33. By the way, these are the only demons in hell.

The Corrupt Flood Generation (v.5)

VERSE 5 and did not spare the ancient world (kai. ouvk evfei,sato avrcai,ou ko,smou [conj. + neg. + aor.dep.ind.3.s., pheidomai, spare; cp. v.4, + adj.gen.m.s., avrcai/oj, archaios, ancient, + gen.m.s., kosmos, world]), but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others (avlla. evfu,laxen Nw/e kh,ruka dikaiosu,nhj o;gdoon [conj., alla, but, + aor.act.ind.3.s; fula,ssw, phulasso, protect; "preserved"; cf. vv.4,5 + acc.m.s., kh/rux, kerux, hearld, + gen.f.s., dikaiosune, righteousness, + adj.acc.m.s., o;gdooj, ogdoos, eighth; subst. the eighth one; "with seven others"]), when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly (evpa,xaj kataklusmo.n ko,smw| avsebw/n [, evpa,gw, epago, bring upon; 3X: Acts.5:28; 2Pet.2:1,5 + dat.m.s., kosmos, + adj.gen.m.p., avsebh,j, asebes, ungodly, irreverent; here, as subst.]);


  1. Peterís second example is the Noahic Flood, the narrative of which dovetails with the misdeeds of the "sons of God".
  2. Two features stand out in this unprecedented event.
  3. First, God "did not spare the ancient world" when He surveyed the mushrooming evil (Gen.6:12ff).
  4. On the contrary, God did not hesitate to bring "a flood upon the world of the ungodly".
  5. The second feature Peter draws our attention to is that the cataclysm reveals another aspect of Godís character and dealings with humanity.
  6. The words "He preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, along with seven others" reveal Godís grace and faithfulness.
  7. The expression "Noah...with seven others" is, literally, "Noah the eighth person", and is a common classical idiom.
  8. It, of course, means he was rescued with seven others, i.e., his wife, his three sons, and their wives, as in 1Pet.3:20.
  9. God is for the righteous and vindicates their positive volition no matter how small their numbers are!
  10. Only eight souls survived the antediluvian world.
  11. There is no mention in the O.T. of Noahís evangelistic ministry.
  12. But it was well known in Jewish tradition.
  13. What the O.T. does speak to is his righteous conduct in connection with the description "a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God" (Gen.6:9).
  14. He then must have appeared so different from the wicked, who lived for the flesh.
  15. The point of the Noah illustration to Peterís readers is that they should choose apostolic doctrinal orthodoxy over liberal heresy.

Sexual Perversion of Sodom and Gomorrah (vv.6-10a)

A Lasting Reminder (v.6)

VERSE 6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes (kai. kate,krinen po,leij Sodo,mwn kai. Gomo,rraj Îkatastrofh/|Ð tefrw,saj [conj., kai, + aor.act.ind.3.s., katakri,nw, katakrino, condemn, + acc.f.p., polis, city, + gen.nt.p., Sodom, + conj. + gen.nt.s., Gomorrah, + dat.f.s., katastrofh,, katastrophe, destruction; here, of extinction, +, tefro,w, tephroo, reduce to ashes; 1X]), having made them an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter (teqeikw,j u`po,deigma mello,ntwn avsebe,ÎsÐin [, ti,qhmi, tithemi, put, lay {a foundation}, "having made them", + acc.nt.s., uvpo,deigma, hupodeigma, example, model, protoype, carbon copy; 6X: Jn.13:15; Heb.4:11; 8:5; 9:23; Jam.5:10; 2Pet.2:6 + {objective} nt.p., mello, be about; "to those who would...thereafter", + pres.act.infin. {dependent} infin. with no article; avsebe,w, asebeo, live ungodly]);


  1. Thirdly, we have the spectacle of "the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah".
  2. Four of the five "cities of the valley" along with the surrounding fertile valley (Gen.13:10,12; 19:25,29) were destroyed by a supernatural judgment that involved the raining of "fire and brimstone" (i.e., sulfur) out of the sky reducing the cities to ash (Gen.19:24; cp. Deut.29:23).
  3. The cities had become so morally corrupt in the days of Abraham and Lot that the righteousness of God called for their spectacular and total incineration by "fire and brimstone."
  4. The Bible states that "the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of furnace" (Gen.19:28).
  5. Some speculate that the cities could have been destroyed by volcanic upheaval.
  6. But there is a vast difference between the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah and other sites destroyed by volcanic action.
  7. For example, Pompeii, the city destroyed in 79AD by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius, the ash smothered everything and buried the city.
  8. In recent times, the structures have been dug out from under the ash remaining in a state of remarkable preservation as if life was held in suspension.
  9. But these ashen cities are totally destroyed.
  10. Nothing remains but the "shadows" or shapes of what were once city walls, stone buildings, sphinx-shaped statues, and temples.
  11. The organized pattern of the city streets is still evident.
  12. There is no example in the world of any Ďnaturalí phenomena that displays even remotely the destroyed remains of these cities.
  13. During the 1980s Ron Wyatt (discoverer of the Red Sea crossing site and the real Mt. Sinai in Arabia) discovered the remnants of that "rain."
  14. Balls of almost pure sulfur, not in a crystalline form, as would be expected in its natural state, but in the form of pressed powder.
  15. This is the Biblical brimstone (Heb. gaphrith Gk. theion).
  16. These "death balls" are embedded throughout the ashes.
  17. Surrounding each one is a shell of vitrified ash.
  18. It appears that as these burning balls of brimstone fell from the sky and consumed literally everything.
  19. The brimstone would have had to generate extremely high temperatures at a steady burn rate.
  20. According to the report sulfur has been found at four sites and geologists contacted say there are no other examples of similar naturally occurring sulfur balls anywhere in the world.
  21. The best-preserved site is just below (south of) Masada.
  22. When a chunk of this ash is broken off and crushed, it disintegrates like talcum powder.
  23. How it all happen merits further study, but we are sure of the result- the remains of these ancient cities are exactly as the Bible states, "... condemned the cities destruction by reducing them to ashes" (2Pet.2:6).
  24. At the time of their destruction, these cities/towns were located in one of the most fertile and prosperous river valleys on earth (Gen.13:10).
  25. Life was easy and the prosperity level of the average person was high.
  26. These cities of the plain had experienced a close call when they were invaded and plundered of wealth and people by a coalition from the east (Gen.14).
  27. Apparently, they had reneged on the tribute they were paying to king Chedorlaomer and allies.
  28. Abraham conducted a nighttime raid that freed the people, including his nephew Lot.
  29. This event was warning discipline to the people of these cities, but they did not take it to heart and continued to practice unrestrained homosexuality on a scale unheard of in the region (Gen.13:13; cp. 18:20; 19:1-8).
  30. For the evidence that this civilization was destroyed specifically for the practice of this abnormal sexual perversion, see Gen.19:1-8 and Jude.1:7 which reads: "just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire".
  31. Peterís description of the judgment that dramatically and suddenly slammed that society into a brick wall (one hour of one day, to turn a phrase) begins (in the Greek) with the aorist hapax participle "by reducing them to ashes" (tefro,w).
  32. This verb is used by the Dio Cassius (lxvi) of the destruction of Pompey and Herculaneum in 79AD by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
  33. The next verb, "condemned" (aor.act.ind.3.s., katakrino, condemn), is found in some manuscripts with the noun "destruction" (katastrophe, ruin, destruction).
  34. A translation: "and reducing the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, He condemned them to extinction...".
  35. This total destruction was brought on by God in order to impress on succeeding generations that the vice of homosexuality will be punished.
  36. In the extreme, whole societies are subject to annihilation.
  37. False teaching and resultant corrupt behavior, be it in Lotís day or Peterís day (Pompey) or in our modern age, will not be tolerated beyond a point.
  38. They had convinced themselves that they had outgrown the old fashioned morality, but in so doing they made a fatal mistake.
  39. The ecology of the Dead Sea region remains a constant reminder of what God thinks about this vice.
  40. The Dead Sea being the lowest point on the earth and a place of death (absence of life forms), salt, ash, sulfur and heat constitute "an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter".
  41. Virtually nothing grows here.
  42. The shore of the Dead Sea is utterly desolate.
  43. No fish can live in its waters, as the salt content is 28%.
  44. The ancient Greeks reported poisonous gases rising from its surface.
  45. Until recently the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and three sister cities were known only from the Biblical record, hence critics labeled the story a legend.
  46. Things changed in 1975 when archaeologists excavating an ancient royal palace in Elba, Syria, uncovered 2,000 tablets.
  47. Of these, #1860 mentioned the same five cities in the identical order to that given in Gen.14:8.
  48. Furthermore, the kings named matched those stated in the Bible.
  49. For example, the tablet states that the king of Gomorrah at the time was a man named Birsha- the exact name recorded in Gen.14:2.
  50. The Biblical evidence (Book of Genesis) and the physical evidence matches so that men are without excuse in these last days.
  51. The US will be destroyed in a fiery cataclysm that is comparable to that of Sodom and Gomorrah (see Isa.13:19; Jer.50:40).
  52. We as a civilization with all our advanced research tools have turned away from the evidence as will suffer an equally dramatic end.
  53. The destruction of S&G remains "an example" to all succeeding generations.
  54. America is more culpable than others are as we are a Christian civilization who has been granted much light.
  55. God cannot and will not tolerate the particular vice that brought "fire and brimstone" upon the cities that practiced the abnormal perversion of homosexuality.

Lotís Soul Misery (vv.7,8)

VERSE 7 and if He rescued righteous Lot (kai. evrru,sato di,kaion Lw.t [conj. + aor.dep.ind.3.s., r`u,omai, hruomai, rescue {of bringing someone out of severe and acute danger}, + adj.acc.m.s., dikaios, righteous, + pr.n., Lot]), oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (kataponou,menon u`po. th/j avnastrofh/j evn avselgei,a| tw/n avqe,smwn [, katapone,w, kataponeo, wear out, oppress; 2X: Acts.7:24 + prep.w/loc.f.s., avselgei,a, aselegia, sensuality {espec. as outrageous sexual behavior}; cp. 1Pet.4:3; 2Pet.2:2,7,18; Jude.4; Rom.13:13; Mk.7:22; + prep.w/, avnastrofh, anastrophe, manner of life, conduct; of the 13X it occurs, it occurs 8X in Peterís letter at: 1Pet.1:15,18; 2:12; 3:1,2,16; 2Pet.2:7; 3:11 + adj.gen.m.p., a;qesmoj, athesmos, lawless, unprincipled; 2X: 2Pet.2:7; 3:17])

Lotís Dilemma (v.8)

VERSE 8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man (ga.r ble,mmati kai. avkoh/| o` di,kaioj [conj., gar + dat.nt.s., ble,mma blemma, glance + conj., kai + dat.f.s., avkoh/ akoe, hearing +, dikaios, righteous], while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds) (evgkatoikw/n evn auvtoi/j yuch.n dikai,an evbasa,nizen h`me,ran evx h`me,raj avno,moij e;rgoij [, evgkatoike,w egkatoikeo, live among + prep.w/pro.loc.m.p. autos + acc.f.s. pschue, soul + adj.acc.f.s., dikaios + imperf.act.ind.3.s., basani,zw basanizo, rub upon the touchstone (a Lydian stone used to test the genuineness of stones); torment/cause great pain (of bodily disease); torment (of mental distress) + acc.f.s. hemera, day +prep.w/abl.f.s., hemera + adj.instr.nt.p. a;nomoj anomos, lawless + instr.nt.p., ergon, deed]),


  1. Two doctrines characterize these examples from the past: judgment and deliverance.
  2. Noah and his family were delivered while the entire antediluvian world was destroyed by water.
  3. After making mention of the incineration of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah through a fire judgment, Peter cites the deliverance of "righteous Lot."
  4. In both instances, a way of escape was made so that believers could escape, but they were not forced into it.
  5. Noah and his sons willingly entered the Ark and Lot and his two virgin daughters walked out of Sodom albeit with reluctance.
  6. If Lot was so "oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men" then why was he living in Sodom?
  7. The answer has to do with Lotís area of weakness.
  8. Sodom and Gomorrah were affluent cities and Lot was consumed by the love of money.
  9. Lot was Abrahamís nephew and upon the death of his father (Nahor, Abrahamís father) he came under the protection of Uncle Abraham.
  10. Abraham brought Lot with him to the promised land and shortly thereafter the two were compelled to separate due to a conflict of interests (Gen.13).
  11. Lot chose to dwell with his herds near Sodom and Gomorrah because the land was extremely fertile.
  12. Later he took up residence in Sodom because of the lucrative business environment.
  13. His love for money overshadowed his disgust for the sexual perversity and laxity of the inhabitants of those cities.
  14. Even after Abraham delivered Lot, when the coalition of kings from the east sacked Sodom and Gomorrah, there was no separation from the evil of that place.
  15. He resumed his business activities although he suffered soul misery over "what he saw and heard while living among them" (v.8).
  16. The verb "oppressed" (, katapone,w kataponeo) means to wear down or to exhaust and is used only here in the NT.
  17. This fact is not recorded in the Genesis narrative.
  18. In fact, the Genesis narrative supplies a very unflattering portrait of Lot.
  19. He is stingy in hospitality (Gen.19:3), he offers his daughters to the male mob to protect his potential clients (Gen.19:8); he has no influence over his sons-in-law when he informs them of the impending holocaust (Gen.19:14); he hesitated to leave (Gen.19:16) and he pretends inability to flee to the mountains hoping to live in the least of the cities of the plain (Gen.19:19-22), and he lives for a brief time in Zoar but leaves due to fear.
  20. He is last seen drunk and fornicating with his two virgin daughters in a cave (Gen.19:30-38).
  21. Clearly his deliverance from Sodom was due to blessing by association with Abraham (Gen.18:23-33).
  22. How are we to take Peterís statement that he was "righteous?"
  23. Lot is designated righteous three times in these two verses: "righteous Lot"; "that righteous man"; and "his righteous soul."
  24. The righteousness referred to is experiential as seen in the words of v.8: "felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds."
  25. The answer is partly a matter of comparison with the men of Sodom.
  26. Lot truly was vexed at what he observed and heard "day after day."
  27. He never became callous or indifferent to it, according to the information supplied by Peter.
  28. But also, in the fact that Lot did accept divine intervention on his behalf.
  29. Because of Lotís hatred of this particular brand of evil (homosexuality) and in spite of all his compromises to get along, he was granted deliverance from the holocaust.
  30. His hatred of this form of evil and Abrahamís intercession spared his life (such as it came to be).
  31. Clearly, Lot was a reversionistic believer, but one who retained certain norms and standards.
  32. He was delivered because he was blessed by association and because he did not take an active part in the evil that brought on the wrath of God.
  33. As a believer who detested homosexual vice he was delivered from judgment and from their association.
  34. The Noah and Lot deliverance demonstrate that God differentiates in his dealings between believers and unbelievers, no matter how sub par believers may be.
Believers Remembered, Unbelievers Doomed (v.9)

VERSE 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation (ku,rioj oi=den r`u,esqai euvsebei/j evk peirasmou/ [n.m.s., kurios + pf.act.ind.3.s., oida, know + pres.dep.infin., rvu,omai hruomai, rescue; cp. v.7 + adj.acc.m.p. euvsebh,j eusebes, godly, devout, dedicated + prep.w/gen.m.s., peirasmo,j testing, temptation], and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment [de. threi/n avdi,kouj kolazome,nouj eivj h`me,ran kri,sewj [conj., de + pres.act.infin. tereo, keep + adj.acc.m.p., adikos, unrighteousness +, kolazo, cut off, trim prune; fig. in the NT, punish; 2x: Acts.4:21 + prep.w/acc.f.s., hemera, day + gen.f.s., krisis, judgment]),


  1. After the lengthy build-up (vv.4-8), we are brought to the twofold lesson contained in these outstanding examples from the past as to how divine justice works. "The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation and keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment."
  2. Peter is anxious to highlight how Godís mercy and justice applies to "the godly" in order to stiffen his readers resolution as they face "temptation."
  3. Thus, he rescued Noah and Lot.
  4. The singular "temptation" is in reference to apostasy from God.
  5. It was from this test that Noah and Lot emerged victorious; they stood alone among mockers and unbelievers.
  6. God delivered them both from that which was a pressure to their souls.
  7. Lot was less deserving yet he was shone mercy.
  8. He was delivered from the oppression of sexual perversity although he was weak, reluctant, and otherwise reversionistic!
  9. One thing he was not- approving of or indifferent to homosexuality and its attendant ills.
  10. The Rapture Generation will be delivered out of the hour of testing which will come upon all the earth (Rev.3:10).
  11. Meanwhile, no temptation/testing is too great to be endured by those who are positive to the truth, for God not only regulates it, but gives the grace to face it (1Cor.10:13).
  12. The examples of Noah and Lot are instructive for as they show how God delivers the God-fearing out of tests.
  13. Neither had a immediate deliverance.
  14. Noah had to build and board the ark despite the ridicule of his neighbors.
  15. Lot had to leave Sodom having endured years of misery (albeit self-induced) as he witnessed first-hand the sexual perversity of his neighbors.
  16. Even though Lot chose to live among unbelievers, idolaters, and sexual deviants, he is still credited with having righteous norms and standards, as he did not approve of the evil that had made this place notorious.
  17. For this, he was delivered.
  18. God may allow us to endure years of waiting before He intervenes; He may use us to help ourselves out of the difficulty.
  19. In any case, He knows how to deliver the godly; He can be relied on.
  20. The faithful to whom Peter wrote may well have wondered, ĎWhy does God allow us to be plagued with such venomous heresy?í or ĎWhen will God vindicate His name by judging the wicked?í
  21. This is an age-old dilemma facing the righteous.
  22. Here he contents himself with asserting that the God who knows how to deliver, long though He may seem to delay, knows equally how to punish.
  23. This is clear from the Sodom and flood illustrations which he has just employed.
  24. "The unrighteous" refers to unbelievers.
  25. The language suggests that the deceased unbeliever is now being punished, and is being kept for final judgment later.
  26. The language here is similar to that of v.4 where the angels of the pre-flood apostasy are kept in Tartarous for a judgment sometime in the future.
  27. How is this to be explained?
  28. It is very simply as all who die and go to hell suffer (Lk.16) awaiting their final resurrection at which time they all will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment after the Millennium and just before the New Creation (Jn.5:29; Rev.20:11ff.).
  29. Jesus taught that the unbelieving inhabitants of places like Sodom, Tyre, Sidon, Chorazin, Capurnaum and Bethsaida would appear before God in judgment (Matt.11:21-24).
  30. So "the day of judgment" is a reference to the Last Judgment or Great White Throne Judgment of Rev.20.
  31. That judgment is reserved for unbelievers only.

At the Top of Godís Hit List (v.10a)

VERSE 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh (de. ma,lista tou.j poreuome,nouj ovpi,sw sarko.j [conj., de, and + adv.\superl., most of all, especially + w/, poreuomai, go, proceed; "those who indulge" + prep. (hopiso, after, follow) w/gen.f.s. sarx, flesh; "indulge the flesh"; same construction occurs in Jude.1:7 except Jude adds the adjective heteros or "strange"; here the reference is to sexual sins in general] in its corrupt desires and despise authority [evn evpiqumi,a| miasmou/ kai. kurio,thtoj katafronou/ntaj [prep.w/loc.f.s., epithumia, desire, lust + adj.loc.f.s., miasmo,j miasmos, defilement, contamination, corruption; 1x; "corrupt" + conj., kai, and + gen.f.s., kurio,thj kuriotes, authority, ruler +, katafronh,sw kataphroneso, look down on, despise]).

Their Denunciation (vv.10b-22)

Their Reckless Abandon (v.10b)

Daring, self-willed (Tolmhtai, auvqa,deij [n.m.p., tolmhth,j tolmetes, daring; 1x + adj.n.m.p., auvqa,dhj authades, self-willed; of one who please himself; 2x: Titus.1:7], they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties [ouv tre,mousin blasfhmou/ntej do,xaj [neg. + pres.act.ind.3.p.p., tre,mw tremo, tremble, quiver +, blasphemo, syn. for slander; "revile" + acc.f.p., doza, glory; this form occurs 3x: 1Pet.1:11; 2Pet.2:10; Jude.1:8; here it is translated "angelic majesties"; could refer to any established authority especially the royal chain of command]),


  1. The particular false teachers Peterís prophecy has in view fall into the category of the worst of the worst.
  2. Of the unbelievers of v.9 designated the "unrighteous" (cp. 1Cor.6:1) Peter declares that these are "especially" (adj.\superl., ma,lista malista, above all) or "above all" on Godís hit list.
  3. For one thing their exposure to Christians whom they hope to corrupt has placed them at the top of the list in terms of being culpable.
  4. They have heard the Gospel and have remained unbelieving and corrupt.
  5. They are portrayed in v.10a as sexually perverted and as anti-authority.
  6. The expression describing their sexual perversity is: "those who follow ("indulge") after (prep. opiso, behind, after) flesh (sarx, noun is anarthrous and strongly qualitative) in lust (prep.w/epithumia) for defilement (gen.absolute of miasmos, fig. for moral defilement).
  7. The expression points to their longing for the sordid with respect to the sexual.
  8. This expression is extremely graphic in connotation.
  9. Men ought to shrink from defilement but these types follow sex lust with its attendant defilement.
  10. With such lust "flesh" (ISTA) wants men to tag behind it, and it will give them all the defilement that it craves.
  11. The false teachers who attach themselves to Christians in order to subvert and corrupt their morals and theology are noted for their deep descent into the realm of STA sexual perversion.
  12. The next part of the indictment is their antagonism to authority.
  13. The word "despise" means to look down on or disparage (katafrone,w kataphroneo).
  14. The noun "authority" is kurio,thj (kuriotes) meaning lordship or dominion.
  15. The noun (4x) is used of angelic authorities (Eph.1:21; Col.1:16) as some take the meaning in this verse and in Jude.8.
  16. It most probably refers to authority in general.
  17. These types are opposed to all duly authorized authority with respect to the divine institutions and the RCC.
  18. In vv.10b-22 Peter launches into a denunciation of these libertines who seek to subvert the good morals and faith of the righteous.
  19. This section is poured out in one torrent.
  20. It recalls Christís denunciation of the Pharisees in Matt.23:13-39 (legalistic unbels.).
  21. Peterís is written in the 3rd person.
  22. The tenses vary (he uses the future, present and aorist).
  23. At this early date there were already examples of these kinds of psychopathic personalities present.
  24. His description applies to all throughout the ages from the alpha to the omega eras of the Church who fit this description and modus operandi.
  25. The noun "Daring" (n.m.p., tolmhth,j tolmetes, bold, daring; in the NT only in a bad sense and only here) refers to their reckless behavior.
  26. Theirs is a reckless daring that defies God and man.
  27. The second word auvqa,dhj translated "self-willed" (adj., authades; 2x: Titus.1:7) is used of a individual that is out for his own gratification at all costs.
  28. An example of their reckless behavior is their verbal attack upon BD.
  29. The word "angelic majesties" is the accusative plural of do,xa the noun meaning "glory."
  30. In this form it occurs it occurs 3x: 1Pet.1:11; 2Pet.2:10; Jude.1:8.
  31. In 1Pet.1:11 it refers to the doctrines related to Christís glorification, namely resurrection, ascension, session and coming.
  32. It would seem that these things are especially attacked by the heretics in a reckless manner.
  33. After all these things stand in the way of their pursuit of self-gratification.
  34. Peter is here speaking of perhaps their greatest crime.
  35. Their crime consists in attacks upon the glorified God-Man, namely His current and future glory (or "glories").
  36. These men will when they think the occasion opportune to blaspheme or defame the "glories" of our God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.
  37. These individuals blaspheme with brazen daring and do not even tremble (vb. occurs 3x: Mk.5:33; Lk.8:47; 2Pet.2:10).
  38. Such daring is more common now than ever.
  39. "Glories" could refer to the entire divinely established order of things that they have benefit by but have no regard for!
  40. They attack and ridicule every established authority in the typical vein of libertines.
  41. Such individuals engage in this sorry business with no tremor or fear, such is the hardness of their hearts.
The Contrast (v.11)

VERSE 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power [o[pou a;ggeloi o;ntej mei,zonej ivscu,i? kai. duna,mei [conj., hopou, where; whereas (imparting a causal sense) + n.m.p., aggelos, angel +, eimi; "who are" + loc.f.s., ivscu,j ischus, strength + conj. + loc.f.s., dunamis, power] do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord [ouv fe,rousin bla,sfhmon kri,sin katV auvtw/n para. kuri,ou [neg. + pres.act.ind.3.p. phero, bear, bring + adj.acc.f.s., blasphemos, abusive speech, insulting; "reviling" + acc.f.s., krisis, judgment, decision + prep.w/pro.gen.m.p., autos; "them" + prep.w/gen.m.s., kurios, lord]).


  1. The magnitude of their reckless speech is evident when Peter points out that even the elect "angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment/accusation against them (i.e., false teachers) before (in the presence of; prep is para) the Lord."
  2. The conjunction "whereas" (hopou) is contrasting and causal.
  3. The libertines and their diatribes against all that is pure and true stands in total contrast to the holy angels who possess unmeasured zeal for Godís interests and +R.
  4. These puny characters by contrast to the "might and power" of the angels ought to keep their mouths shut if they do not have anything worthwhile to say, but they proceed headlong to judgment running their mouths and following their lusts.
  5. The angels when pronouncing judgment against them do not resort to insults.
  6. The argument is a fortiori.
  7. The false teachers do not hesitate to bring vituperative accusations against their superiors (angels), whereas the angels exercise discretion when making mention of such men in the presence of the Lord.
  8. The verse is not saying that the angels do not bring up the subject of these notorious sinners, they in fact do, but they temper their speech.
  9. The elect angels are sensitive beings whose indignation is aroused by what they see and hear.
  10. Yet their emotions are under control, knowing that God is in control and that all that oppose Him will suffer shame and loss.
  11. They have learned to be very patient.



  13. Unlike the rebels who spew forth insults against "glories" without tremor or fear, the angels so revere the Lord that at all times in His presence no insulting language passes their lips, even though it would be on target.
  14. It would be a good thing if Christians remembered that any condemnations of others are necessarily uttered "before the Lord."
  15. Consciousness of His presence tames the tongue.
Their Judgment (v.12)

VERSE 12 But these, like unreasoning animals (de, ou-toi w`j a;loga zw/|a [conj., de, but, + pro./demonstr.n.m.p., houtos, + adj.n.nt.p., a;logoj, alogos, not able to reason; 3X: Acts.25:27; Jude.10 + n.nt.p., zoe, of a non-human]), born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed (gegennhme,na fusika. eivj a[lwsin kai. fqora,n [, genna,w, gennao, be born + adj.n.nt.p., fusiko,j, phusikos, natural, by nature, instinctive; "creatures of instinct", + acc.f.s., a]lwsij, halosis, capture, taking {of animals for food}; 1X, + conj. + acc.f.s., fqora,, phthora, destruction, ruin, decay; "killed"]), reviling where they have no knowledge (blasfhmou/ntej evn oi-j avgnoou/sin [, blasphemeo, defame, insult; "reviling", + prep.w/pro./rel.dat.nt.p., hos, + pres.act.ind.3.p., avgnoe,w, agnoeo, be ignorant; "have no knowledge"]), will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed (evn th/| fqora/ auvtw/n kai. fqarh,sontai [prep.w/, phthora, destruction, + pro.gen.m.p., autos; "those creatures", + conj./adjunc., also, + fut.pass.ind.3.p., fqei,rw, phtheiro, destroy]),


  1. Peter now steps up his assault upon the libertines.
  2. These men, so far from possessing any modicum of restraint, live "like unreasoning animals" at the dictates of their instincts.
  3. The adjective "unreasoning" (a;logoj alogos) occurs 3x in the NT: Acts.25:27; 2Pet.2:12; Jude.10.
  4. It is correctly translated here as "unreasoning."
  5. These men, like the beasts of the field, have abandoned their rationality and followed their passions.
  6. They, like their counterparts in the animal kingdom, were "born as creatures of instinct."
  7. This means that they have abandoned rational thought and followed an instinctive approach to living.
  8. What this translates into in the real world is someone who follows their own passions and self-interests without any serious consideration of a possible future where they might come be held accountable by a higher power.
  9. So as animals are to humans so they are to God.
  10. Instinct not rational thought characterizes their approach to the question of the purpose of life.
  11. These types are practical atheists if not theoretical ones.
  12. And so, like their counterparts in the animal kingdom, they will come to an end from which their instinctive approach to living cannot deliver them.
  13. A rational animal that is fed and cared for would soon realize whatís up and try to avert their captors (go on a hunger strike, etc.).
  14. Animals who are threatened go into hiding as living things have a strong in-built survival instinct.
  15. But animals that are treated well are being set up for slaughter.
  16. This is the mentality of libertines and scoffers.
  17. They misinterpret good times and their ability to sin with impunity.
  18. So their end will be like that of animals who are "captured and killed" for food and clothing.
  19. Two nouns follow the preposition eivj translated as infinitives: "captured and killed."
  20. The translation is: "born as creatures of instinct (adj.n.nt.p., fusiko,j phusikos, natural; governed by natural instincts) for capture (a[lwsij halosis, capture) and slaughter (fqora, phthora, destruction, decay; death)."
  21. They live out their lives and perish like other men, at which time they fall permanently into the hands of a living God.
  22. God is free at any time to make their human existence miserable, as He often does with these types.
  23. They are to God what animals are to humans; they are at His disposal.
  24. We can see men all around us, who are otherwise rationale beings, acting only instinctively when it comes to the most important issue of life- the eternal well being of the immortal soul.
  25. This comparison is seen in Ps.49 (vv.12,20).
  26. So men who do not act in a rational and logical manner from an intellectually honest heart when it comes to God are acting "like unreasoning animals."
  27. If men acted rationally and sought the unknown God they would find Him and they would come to a knowledge of the truth and avoid Godís wrath.
  28. So this description is wider in that it applies to multitudes who do not know God; hence Peter adds the narrower description with reference to these heretics: "reviling where they have no knowledge."
  29. The word translated "where" is literally "in reference to the things" (evn oi-j prep.w/ has as its antecedent "the angelic majesties" or better "glories" of v.10.
  30. These men are continually ridiculing and attacking the things of BD to which they have been exposed in their association with Christianity.
  31. Again, these are not just your run of the mill people who are corrupt in theology.
  32. These individuals are especially satanic in that they ridicule and attack all sound doctrine, morality and authority.
  33. They pour abuse on Christian restraint in matters of love, marriage and sex.
  34. The next phrase "reviling (or "blaspheming") where (or "in matters") they have no knowledge" refers to a predisposition to not investigate issues carefully before the attack Christian beliefs and practices.
  35. They pour abuse on things they do not understand or of which they are ignorant.
  36. They are constantly attacking Ďstraw mení or things as they paint them and not as they in fact exist.
  37. They use as their standard of ridicule Christianity that is not after the standard of sound doctrine.
  38. These teachers cast their ridicule at what they have never come to understand.
  39. Their version of things is either something they picked up from other heretics or pure invention.
  40. This observation ("reviling where they have no knowledge") is perhaps a dig at their pretensions to superior gnosis.
  41. These men are supremely guilty of the sin of intellectual dishonesty.
  42. These types tend to be densely ignorant about the things at which they direct their blasphemy.
  43. To assault any true doctrine ("glories") is to be guilty of the sin of blasphemy.
  44. What will be the end of these men?
  45. At the end of this verse and in v.13a Peter speaks to this question.
  46. The false teachers will perish with the animals they imitate.
  47. The Greek here is of interest.
  48. The phrase features the verb fqei,rw (fut.pass.ind.3.p., phtheiro, be corrupt, depraved; be destroyed, perish) and its cognate noun fqora, (w/prep.w/, phthora, decay, corruption; destruction).
  49. Peter is not speaking of their spiritual corruption since he makes a comparison with the animals.
  50. He is speaking of their physical destruction (cp. 1Cor.3:17 where vb. is used of destruction).
  51. In other places the verb is clearly used on the sense of corruption (cf. 1Cor.15:33; 2Cor.7:2; 11:3; Eph.4:22; Rev.19:2).
  52. Of special interest is its usage in Jude 10 which verse does speak to the moral and spiritual corruption of the false teachers (cf. pt. 49 above).
  53. Fqora, is featured by Peter in this letter (3x here & occurs 9x in the NT): 2Pet.1:4; 2:12,19 (the verb also occurs 9x in the NT but only here by Peter).
  54. 2x Peter uses the noun in its usual sense of "corruption" (2Pet.1:4; 2:19) and 1x of the extended meaning "destruction" (2:12).
  55. This is a good example of how words take on meaning according to the context in which they are found.
  56. The translation following the Greek word order is: "in the destruction of these creatures, they will also be destroyed."
  57. Animals are no match for the higher creation homosapien (cp. Gen.1:28).
  58. Animals are used for food and clothing and there isnít anything these unreasoning creatures have been able to do about it.
  59. Is this phrase prophetic?
  60. This category of reversionist will be removed from the earth in the judgments associated with the 2nd Advent.
  61. During those days many animals will perish as well.
  62. This statement seems to being saying more that, as animals die, so do men.
  63. In the meantime they are "captured and killed like unreasoning animals."
  64. In the tribulation they will dealt with on a massive scale.
  65. Verse 13a should go with this verse.
  66. The last phrase "suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong" means that the false teachers will suffer pay-back as the wages of their wrong doing.
  67. Their pay is not at all what they expect.
  68. They will experience the temporal and eternal wrath of the One whom they mocked.
  69. The phrase reads: "suffering damage (, adikeo be wrong, hurt, damaged) as the compensation (acc.f.s., misthos, wages) of wrongdoing (gen.f.s., adikia, wrongdoing)."
  70. Peterís expression is another way of saying that they will be paid for all their efforts.
  71. But the pay is according to the deed, which in this case is divine retribution.
  72. The intent of the libertines is to get away with it.
  73. The desire to bring away the wages of unrighteousness, which will backfire in the end and all they end up with is permanent damage (as seen in the participle "suffering wrong").
  74. This is typical of people who look only to the immediate and short-term gratification but not to the lasting or eternal (cp. Heb.11:24-26).
  75. And so, they share the fate of irrational animals.


VERSE 13 suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong (avdikou,menoi misqo.n avdiki,aj [, avdike,w, adikeo, be in the wrong; do wrong {act}; be harmed by {pass.}, + acc.m.s., misthos, wage, + gen.f.s., adikia, unrighteousness]). They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime (h`gou,menoi h`donh.n th.n trufh,n evn h`me,ra| [, h`ge,omai, hegeomai, consider; "They count", + acc.f.s., hedone, pleasure, +, trufh, truphe, luxurious living, revelling; 2X: Lk.7:25, + prep.w/loc.f.s., hemera, day]). They are stains and blemishes (spi,loi kai. mw/moi [n.m.p., spi,loj, spilos, spot, stain; here, of immoral types who attach themselves to believers, + conj. + n.m.p., mw/loj, molos, blemish]), reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you (evntrufw/ntej evn tai/j avpa,taij auvtw/n suneuwcou,menoi u`mi/n [, evntrufa,w, entruphao, revel, openly indulge in; 1X, + prep.w/, avpa,th, hapate, trickery, deception, + pro.gen.m.p., autos, + pres. dep.part.n.m.p., suneuwce,omai, suneuocheomai, feast together; 2X: Jude.1:12, + dat.p., su]),


  1. Peter accuses the libertines of misbehavior at fellowship meals.
  2. Since the recipients participate in these, they would seem to be some kind of community fellowship meals.
  3. Evidence for this is based on the parallel verse in Jude (v.12).
  4. The words "in your love feasts" (evn taij avga,paij u`mwn) refers to fellowship meals for members of the Christian community within the early church.
  5. We know from First Corinthians that various sins of the flesh had broken out at the fellowship feasts in Corinth in the fifties, and the dangers of this sort of abuse later led to the discontinuance of the Agapae (1Cor.11:20ff).
  6. Again, this interpretation is supported by the parallel passage in Jude (v.12).
  7. The charge against the heretics was that they defiled the daytime Agapae by their licentious behavior.
  8. Daylight debauchery was frowned upon even in degenerate Roman society (cf. 1Thess.5:7), and this accounts for Peterís words in Acts.2:15, rebutting the charge of daylight drunkenness.
  9. The first line could be translated: "They consider it a pleasure reveling in the daytime".
  10. The noun "pleasure" (hvdonh,) comes from the word from which we get hedonistic (5X: Lk.8:14; Ti.3:3; Jam.4:1,3; 2Pet.2:13).
  11. The noun translated "to revel" (trufh,) means luxurious living/reveling, and occurs 2X: Lk.7:25; 2Pet.2:13.
  12. The cognate verb evntrufa,w (enjoy something as a pastime) means "to revel in/carouse in/openly indulge in", and occurs only here in the N.T.
  13. The accusation is one of gross misbehavior at the fellowship meals of the early Christians in which the heretics "pushed the envelope" as far as they dared.
  14. Peter depicts them as "stains and blemishes", bringing reproach upon the Church by non-Christians (cp. v.2).
  15. These men did not revel in food, drink, and gaiety alone; it was reveling "in their deceptions", in putting their libertinistic teaching into practice and thus deceiving true believers.
  16. The words "as they carouse with you" are intended to round out the thought.
  17. This verb (suneuwce,omai) occurs only here and in the parallel verse of Jude.12.
  18. It means to "feast together with".
  19. The gravity of their debauchery is seen in the fact that they took pleasure in seeing Christians fall into sin and accepting it based on their specious arguments.
  20. They dressed up their greed and lust in religious garb, which is all the better to deceive the careless.
  21. But lust Ė naked lust Ė was their driving force.
Their Vices and Victims (v.14)

VERSE 14 having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin (e;contej ovfqalmou.j mestou.j moicali,doj kai. avkatapau,stouj a`marti,aj [, echo, have, + acc.m.p., ophthalmos, eye, + adj.acc.m.p., mesto,j, mestos, full, filled with, + adj.gen.f.s., moicali,j, moichalis, adulterous; here, ever on the outlook for an adulterous woman, + conj., and, + adj.acc.m.p., avkata,paustoj, akatapaustos, unceasing, + abl.f.s., hamartia, sin]), enticing unstable souls (delea,zontej yuca.j avsthri,ktouj [, delea,zw, deleazo, lure, bait, + acc.f.p., pschue, soul, + adj.acc.f.p., avsth,riktoj, asteriktos, not settled, unstable; 2X: 2Pet.3:16]), having a heart trained in greed, accursed children (e;contej kardi,an gegumnasme,nhn pleonexi,aj kata,raj te,kna [, echo, have, + acc.f.s., kardia, heart, +, gumna,zw, gumnazo, train, exercise naked; 4X: 1Tim.4:7; Heb.5:14; 12:11, + gen.f.s., pleonexi,a, pleonezia, greed, covetousness, + gen.f.s., kata,ra, katara, accursed, + n.nt.p., teknon, child]);


  1. Their "eyes are full", says Peter, in a remarkable phrase "of an adulterous woman".
  2. The noun translated "adultery" is the genitive feminine singular moicali,j (adulteress).
  3. The noun adultery is moicei,aj.
  4. The masculine adulterer is moico,j.
  5. So what Peter is saying in this graphic expression is that the libertines "have eyes full of an adulteress woman."
  6. In other words, they look at every female as if she was a loose woman.
  7. They lust after every female they see; they view every woman as a potential adulteress.
  8. Peter makes another observation.
  9. Lascivious thoughts, if dwelt upon, become dominant.
  10. Their "eyes never cease from sin" refers to the depth of their bondage to sex lust.
  11. It becomes impossible for them to look upon a woman without thinking of her as a sexual partner.
  12. "Never cease" (avkata,paustoj) is an adjective (only here) meaning "unceasing".
  13. The words "from sin" are the genitive feminine singular of hamartia.
  14. They are addicted to sex lust.
  15. Sex lust unchecked carries its own penalty.
  16. It leaves men restless, always looking for more.
  17. The solution is to make the adjustments to God in accordance with 1Pet.4:1-3.
  18. The WOG tells us to avoid mental attitude adultery (Mt.5:28).
  19. As we have seen, these types are not content to defile themselves, but they seek to subvert the innocent; hence, the words "enticing unstable souls".
  20. The verb "enticing" (delea,zw) is a metaphor from fishing and recurs in v.18; it means "to catch bait".
  21. Xenophon speaks of men who are "hooked" by gluttony, while Demonsthenes knows men who are "hooked" by idleness and "having it too good".
  22. "Unstable souls" (, avsth,riktouj yuca,j; here and in 3:16) refers to Christians who are easily victimized by false doctrine.
  23. Those who have not been trained in the word of righteousness are especially vulnerable to specious teachings (see Heb.5:13,14; 2Tim.3:16).
  24. Here, the comparatively rare word comes appropriately from Peter, whose own past had been so unstable, and who had been told by Jesus, "when you once have turned again, strengthen (cognate vb., sterizo) your brothers".
  25. Peterís next charge is coolly deliberate.
  26. They are proficient in "greed".
  27. They had, as it were, "trained themselves" (he uses the word from which our word "gymnasium" is derived) in avarice.
  28. Pleonexia (greed/avarice) means unbridled desire for more and more things.
  29. It is used of money or of illicit sex.
  30. These men had schooled themselves in the desire for forbidden things.
  31. No wonder Peter concludes with yet another expressive Hebraism, "an accursed brood".
  32. He means "Godís curse is upon them!".
  33. There is nothing vindictive in this; it is merely descriptive.
  34. These types rest under the curse of God.
  35. They are not only cursed as all unbelievers are (Gal.3:10,13), they are the special targets of Godís wrath, as were the three examples in 2Pet.2:4-6.
  36. They will join these notorious sinners in infamy.
  37. Our modern liberals (in and out of organized Christianity) are the heirs of these first century heretics.
  38. Their goal is to subvert the morals and faith of true believers.
  39. They have succeeded, in part, but are paying an unacceptable price.
  40. They will be fully exposed and condemned for their subversive ways.

Their Culpability and their Pattern (v.15)

VERSE 15 forsaking the right way they have gone astray (katalei,pontej euvqei/an o`do.n evplanh,qhsan [, katalei,pw, kataleipo, forsake, leave behind, + adj.acc.f.s., euvqu,j, euthus, straight; "right", + acc.f.s., hodos, way, + aor.pass.ind.3.p., plana,w, planao, wander]), having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor (evxakolouqh,santej th/| o`dw/| tou/ Balaa.m tou/ Boso,r [, evxakolouqe,w, exakoloutheo, follow after, +, hodos, way, +, Balaam, +, Bosor]), who loved the wages of unrighteousness (o]j hvga,phsen misqo.n avdiki,aj [pro.n.m.s., hos, who, + aor.act.ind.3.s., agapao, love, + acc.m.s., misthos, wage, + gen.f.s., adikia, unrighteousness]),


  1. Peter goes on to explain how the particular false teachers who are the subject of this chapter come to be under the curse of God.
  2. They have deliberately "forsaken the right way" and "have wandered off", or gone astray.
  3. Certainly those who in the first century who insinuated themselves on the religious and social life of Christians were exposed to the righteousness of God.
  4. The "right", or "straight way", (adj. euvqu,j, straight, w/noun, o`do,j, way) is to be compared to "the way of truth" in 2Pet.2:2.
  5. This expression is a common O.T. metaphor for sound wisdom and the life that abides by it (Ps.5:8; Prov.3:6; 9:15; 15:21; Mt.3:3; cp. Ps.107:7).
  6. An illuminating parallel is found in Acts.13:10 where Paul rebukes the magician Elymas, whom he accuses of "not ceasing to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord".
  7. Peter quotes from the LXX of Hosea.14:10 (9).
  8. When men reject the truth, they buy into an alternative.
  9. The false teachers, having been exposed to Biblical Christianity at some level and having rejected it, "go astray".
  10. There are, no doubt, many examples of individuals who have been exposed to the Christian teaching and who have not only rejected the call to faith but who have actually gone on to sabotage the faith of believers.
  11. These are the wolves in sheepís clothing Jesus warned His disciples about (Mt.7:15).
  12. There are notable examples of born-again believers who have apostatized, as well (Acts.20:30).
  13. Peter introduces yet another example from the O.T. record, the example of Balaam, the Gentile prophet.
  14. Why are the false teachers compared to Balaam?
  15. Greed, or covetousness, is the point of comparison.
  16. Balaam "loved the wages of unrighteousness".
  17. For Balaam the wages of unrighteousness was money.
  18. For the false teachers of 2Peter it is sex and money.
  19. They are in it for their own STA gratification.
  20. Balaam was a true prophet of God who went astray because he allowed his STA lust grid to subvert his love for God.
  21. The readings for the name of Balaamís father vary: Bosor (correct) and Beor and Baior (LXX).
  22. It has been suggested that this represents the Galilean mispronunciation of the guttural in the Hebrew name, and as such is a pointer to authorship, for Peterís accent was noticeable (Mt.26:73).
  23. Bosor may be a paranomasia (a play on words) with the Hebrew basar ("flesh"), and as such, a grim allusion to the STA activity that cost Balaam his life and reputation.
Balaamís Rebuke (v.16)

VERSE 16 but he received a rebuke for his own transgression (de. e;scen e;legxin ivdi,aj paranomi,aj [conj, de, but, + aor.act.ind.3.s., echo, have, "he received", + acc.f.s., e;legxin, elegzin, rebuke, + adj.gen.f.s., idios, oneís own, + gen.f.s., paranomi,a, paranomia, transgression]); for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man (u`pozu,gion a;fwnon fqegxa,menon fwnh/ evn avnqrw,pou [n.nt.s., hupozugion, domesticated animal used for carrying a burden; donkey, + adj.n.m.s., a;fwnoj, aphonos, mute, dumb, +, fqe,ggomai, phthengomai, speak clear, articulate; "speaking", + instr..f.s., phone, voice, + prep.w/gen.m.s., anthropos, man]), restrained the madness of the prophet (evkw,lusen th.n parafroni,an tou/ profh,tou [aor.act.ind.3.s., kwlu,w, koluw, hinder, restrain, +, parafroni,a, paraphronia, insanity; 1X, + gen.m.s., prophetes, prophet]).


  1. Balaam was a Gentile prophet of God.
  2. He surfaces in the narrative of Numbers Chapters 22-24.
  3. The historical setting is Israelís encampment in the plains of Moab on the east side of the Jordan.
  4. The Moabite leadership was in a near state of panic at the Israeli presence.
  5. Their fear was unfounded, as Israel had no designs on their territory.
  6. The king of Moab, Balak, sought an alliance with Midian based on fear of Israel (Num.22:4).
  7. He also sought the services of the prophet Balaam, who had a reputation for accuracy throughout the middle east (Num.22:6).
  8. Balaam lived in Mesopotamia (northern; Num.22:5).
  9. Balak, a pagan unbeliever, approached Balaam with money to curse Israel, so that he could defeat Israel militarily (Num.22:7).
  10. Balaamís initial response was "no", and this was based on direct divine revelation (Num.22:8-14).
  11. The delegation from Balak returned home empty-handed.
  12. Balak sent a more distinguished delegation with authority to offer Balaam anything he wanted if he would come and curse Israel (Num.22:15-18).
  13. This time God allows Balaam to go (permissive will), but tells him that he is to speak only what is revealed to him by God (Num.22:19,20).
  14. God had told Balaam earlier not to go (v.12), and this was the directive will.
  15. Here, we see an example of the permissive will of God (Num.22:20; cp. v.22).
  16. God was not pleased with Balaam because He knew what was in his heart.
  17. Balaam was fully engaged with his STA in spite of his grandiose affirmation in Num.22:18.
  18. His statement in Num.22:19 contradicts v.18.
  19. Balaam is one of those people who wants it both ways.
  20. Balaamís departure to Moab was strictly a case of the permissive will of God (Num:22-22).
  21. On the way to do the evil deed and earn his carte blanche fee, the famous incident with his donkey and the Angel of the Lord was designed to reinforce Godís displeasure and to give the prophet another opportunity to "pull in his horns" (i.e., overrule his STA lust grid).
  22. On the journey to Moab, Balaamís donkey suddenly left the road and ran into a field.
  23. The animalís seemingly unprovoked disobedience evoked Balaamís anger and he "struck the donkey" to get her to return to the road (Num.22:22,23).
  24. God enabled the dumb beast to see what was hidden from the prophet and his two servants.
  25. The donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the road with drawn sword (same manifestation as Joshua saw as he entered Canaan).
  26. Naturally, this frightened the animal and she suddenly swerved aside.
  27. Balaamís anger was based on this minor frustration on his way to acquiring "the wages of unrighteousness".
  28. Two more times the Angel of the Lord blocked the path of Balaam and each time Balaam whipped his mount (Num.22:24-27).
  29. Balaamís donkey was privy to information that signaled danger and reacted accordingly.
  30. The animal was without blame, but the same cannot be said for the prophet.
  31. A part of the miracle was the fact that the humans present could not see the "adversary" blocking the way, but the donkey did see the danger ahead.
  32. All Balaam saw was a clear road ahead.
  33. This parallels his spiritual vision, which was impaired by his being ruled by the STA.
  34. Finally, God enabled Balaamís donkey to speak in words intelligible to Balaam (Num.22:28-30).
  35. The donkeyís rebuke is found in the exchange between the two found in Num.22:28-30.
  36. She begins by protesting her three whippings (v.28b).
  37. Balaam responds to her question, without apparent surprise, that he did what he did because she made a fool out of him.
  38. His words in Num.22:29 are ironic in that Balaam has made, for all time, a mockery out of himself due to avarice/greed.
  39. He reveals the degree of his rage, or as Peter calls it, his "madness", when he tells the donkey that she is lucky he didnít have a sword handy or she would be dead.
  40. When a person is so overtaken by some STA lust, they act in extreme fashion when the object of their lust is threatened or delayed.
  41. Balaamís anger was not just the normal feelings of frustration, but the rage associated with any delay with respect to the object of his lust.
  42. In Num.22:30 the donkey restrains Balaamís temporary insanity in accordance with Peterís words in this verse.
  43. Had Balaam been in his right mind, he would have avoided cruelty to his longtime loyal beast of burden.
  44. So he did not exercise self-control.
  45. Peter goes no further with the story of Balaam.
  46. The Angel of the Lord revealed Himself to Balaam (Num.22:31-35) and told him that he would be a dead man if it were not for his donkey.
  47. Balaam was permitted to go on with his journey, but expressly forbidden from cursing Israel.
  48. In Numbers Chapters 23 and 24 is the account of Balaam blessing Israel on three occasions, to the chagrin of Balak.
  49. Balaam was not through, as he found a way to earn a fee.
  50. Balaam advised the Moabites to ensnare the Israelites in sacred prostitution (Num.31:16; cp. 25:1-18).
  51. He knew this would bring divine wrath on the Jews and make them vulnerable to their enemies.
  52. The Midianites were also involved in this episode, and Mosesí last action as a leader was to go to war against them (Num.31).
  53. Balaam was with the Midianite leadership when he was slain by the victorious Israelis (Num.31:8).
  54. He died the SUD, as he would not rein in his lust grid.
  55. Like Balaam, the false teachers are consumed with avarice, and like him, they will receive the wages of unrighteousness.
  56. Like Balaam, they encourage sex vice in others.
  57. The oracular speech of the disobedient donkey is contrasted with the madness/insanity of the (culpably) disobedient prophet.
  58. "Speaking" (, fqe,ggomai) is a word used of important, portentous utterances (Acts.4:18; 2Pet.2:16,18).
  59. The words "rebuke" (e;legxij), "transgression" (paranomi,a), and "madness" (parafroni,a) are found nowhere else in the N.T.
The Utter Impotence of the False Teachers (v.17)

VERSE 17 These are springs without water (Ou-toi, eivsin phgai. a;nudroi [pro./demonstr.n.m.p., houtos; "These", + pres.act.ind.3.p., eimi, + n.f.p., phgh,, pege, spring, + adj.n.f.p, a;nudroj, anudros, without water]), and mists driven by a storm (kai. o`mi,clai evlauno,menai u`po. lai,lapoj [conj. + n.f.p., o`mi,clh, omichle, mist, +, evlau,nw, elauno, impel forward, + prep.w/gen.f.s., lai/lay, lailaps, furious gust of wind]), for whom the black darkness has been reserved (oi-j o` zo,foj tou/ sko,touj teth,rhtai [pro./rel.dat.m.p., hos, +, zophos, gloom; 5X: Heb.12:18; 2Pet.2:4,17; Jude.1:6,13, + w/gen.nt.s., skotos, darkness, + pf.pass.ind.3.s., thre,w, tereo, guard, preserve, reserve]).


  1. After his excursus on Balaam, Peter returns to the attack upon the liberals.
  2. The seducers of Biblical Christianity are described in two striking metaphors in this verse.
  3. They are "springs without water".
  4. This describes the unsatisfactory nature of their propaganda.
  5. People (believers and unbelievers) come to it as to a "spring", naively expecting thirst-quenching refreshment, only to find no drinkable water.
  6. Only the person who is in touch with the pure waters of sound doctrine finds lasting satisfaction.
  7. Heterodoxy (false doctrine) is all very novel, but it is totally unsatisfying.
  8. Liberalism cannot quench the longing for righteousness (Mt.5:6).
  9. They are also "mists driven by a storm."
  10. Aristotle (Meteor.1.34b) tells us that the o`mi,clai (homichlai; 1X) is the haze which heralds dry weather, but is so easily dispersed by a sharp gust of wind.
  11. This metaphor contains two elements.
  12. First, like the preceding metaphor, the proponents of liberalism are a source of bitter disillusionment to the parched traveler or anxious farmer.
  13. Second, this metaphor speaks to the instability of the false teachers and the ephemeral nature of their teachings.
  14. Second-hand bookstores are filled with their philosophical and psychological rubbish.
  15. The latest offering is advertised as providing special insight to the unwary and naive.
  16. Their teachings are unsubstantial and flimsy.
  17. They cause a sensation (theological audacity) when the product of their untaught and depraved minds is paraded before the public.
  18. These types come in many guises, but all fail to deliver that which brings true spirituality to the hapless listeners.
  19. As for the darkness reserved for the liberal heretics, it is akin to the darkness that they cast over humanity.
  20. The darkness reserved for them is a much thicker and eternal one.
  21. This verse supports the interpretation that the primary subjects of this prophecy are unbelievers.
  22. The phrase here is, literally, "the gloom of darkness" (o` zo,foj tou/ sko,touj).
  23. The parallel expression in Jude.13 is "for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever".
  24. The statement here also parallels the one found in 2Pet.2:4, where the same noun for eternal darkness is applied to the angels of Gen.6 (cp. Jude.6).
  25. So a special darkness is "reserved" (pf.pass.ind.3.p.s., tereo) for unbelievers.
  26. Negative volition to the gospel spends eternity in darkness, since men love darkness and not the light of truth (Jn.3:19).
  27. It is not for lack of light that these individuals end up in hell.
  28. They of all people are especially culpable, having had close association with Christian teachings.
  29. The liberalism of the nineteenth century was a reaction to the widespread Christian world-view of western civilization.
  30. Darwinism was spawned during that century.
  31. If evolution is true, then absolutes fly out the window.
  32. With God out of the picture, men are free to formulate their own mores.
  33. The structure of this verse is poetic and grandiose.
  34. It is interesting to note how many Homeric and tragic words like zophos ("darkness"), phthengomai ("to utter"), homichlai ("mists") passed into common use in koine Greek and, indeed, have appeared in modern Greek.
The Impact on the Untrained (v.18)

VERSE 18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity (ga.r fqeggo,menoi u`pe,rogka mataio,thtoj [conj. +, fqe,ggomai, phthengomai, speak clearly, articulate; 3X: Acts.4:18; 2Pet.2:16,18, + adj.acc.nt.p., u`pe,rogka, huperogka, excessive size, overgrown; hence, of speech, bombastic, pompous; 1X, cp. Jude.1:16, + gen.f.s., mataio,thj, mataiotes, emptiness, nonsense; "vanity"]) they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality (delea,zousin evn evpiqumi,aij sarko.j avselgei,aij [pres.act.ind.3.p., delea,zw, deleazo, lure, entice; 2X : cf. v.14, + prep.w.instr.f.s., epithumai, desire, lust, + gen.f.s., sarkos, flesh, + instr.f.p., avse,lgeia, aslegeia, sensuality]), those who barely escape from the ones who live in error (tou.j avpofeu,gontaj ovli,gwj tou.j avnastrefome,nouj evn pla,nh| [, avpofeu,gw, apopheugo, escape; 3X: 2Pet.1:4; 2:18; 2:20, + adv., oligos, scarcely, just barely, + w/, avnastre,fw, anastrepho, behave; live, conduct oneself; cp. 1Pet.1:17; "live", + prep.w/loc.f.s., plane, error]),


  1. In plain language, their propaganda consists of mouthing big, bombastic words (adj.acc.nt.p., u`pe,rogkoj, huperogkos, of excessive size, overgrown; of speech, it means bombastic; occurring here and in the parallel, Jude.16) in their discourses (that is the nuance of the vb. fqe,ggomai, phthengomai, translated "speaking out"; 3X: Acts.4:18; 2Pet.2:16,18)
  2. But their words, for all the pretense, amount to nothing of significance (mataio,thtoj, mataiotes is a descriptive genitive; it means emptiness/nonsense).
  3. Hence, the translation "vanity".
  4. "Vanity" is anything that will not stand the test of time (or eternity).
  5. "Vanity" is a word in the Bible that depicts all things as fleeting and ephemeral (Eccl.1:2,14; 3:19; 12:8).
  6. Even heaven and earth (as we know it) will pass away, but the Word of our God abides forever.
  7. Ostentatious verbosity is their weapon to ensnare the unwary, and "sensuality" is their bait.
  8. By appealing to the lust gird of the STA, with particular emphasis on sex lust, "they entice" their victims.
  9. It is used in that fashion in Jam.1:14.
  10. The verb "entice" (pres.act.ind.3.p., delea,zw, deleazo) means to bait a trap or hook.
  11. Again, speech is the hook and the promise of sexual liberation is the bait.
  12. The words "fleshly lusts", or "lusts of the flesh", stand in apposition to "sensuality" (instr.f.p., aselgeia).
  13. The latter defines the former (i.e., it is sexual vice that is one, if not the primary, subject of their grandiose sophistry).
  14. This (sexual liberation) is exactly what many modern liberals advocate.
  15. Their presentation is sometimes couched in high-sounding academic jargon with the usual statistical appeal.
  16. Others simply ridicule the "puritan ethic" in a frontal assault.
  17. The practitioners of sexual liberation come in all shapes and sizes (Hugh Hefner/Dr. Ruth/ Madonna, etc., et. al., ad nauseam).
  18. The young and hormone-driven are especially susceptible.
  19. But Peter draws our attention to a particular category that is especially vulnerable.
  20. They are described as "those who barely escape from the ones who live in error".
  21. The phrase "the ones who live in error" refers to unbelievers, or in Peterís day, pagans (cp. Eph.2:3, the vb. avnastre,fw, anastrepho, live).
  22. "Those who barely escape" is the present active participle from avpofeu,gw (apopheugo), which means to escape, and it is associated with the adverb ovli,gwj (holigos), meaning "just barely".
  23. This points to either new converts or believers who have minimal familiarity with the WOG.
  24. The gross effect of the false teachers was to corrupt new converts, and we know what Jesus said about causing such ones to stumble.
  25. The new or untrained converts are the unstable of vs. 14 ("enticing unstable souls").
  26. Again, those referred to at the end of the verse are pagans/unbelievers and not, as often suggested, the false teachers.
  27. For it is the latter that are doing the corrupting; they are not the culture which the adjusted have recently left.
  28. The Valentinians, according to Irenaeus, were adept at presenting the young believers with high-sounding talk, which acted as a cover for the basest of obscenity.
  29. Nor has the tendency to dress up vice as virtue died in succeeding generations.
  30. All sorts of vice is sanctioned in the name of deity.
  31. Certain Gnostic teachers sanctioned sexual vice in a sort of spirit over matter.
  32. They contended that all that mattered was the salvation of the immortal soul which was secured through the knowledge (gnosis) that they imparted, and it mattered little what a person did with the body, as it was temporal.
  33. Others taught that the deeply spiritual should express their religion sexually, which was what paganism taught.
  34. Paul faced similar teaching about the body in 1Cor.6, and he countered it by asserting that the body is indeed important to God, for it is the temple of God the HS, and those who defile the temple through vice will have their temple destroyed (SUD).
  35. This consideration must always set boundaries to the Christianís exercise of his liberty in Christ (see v.19).


VERSE 19 promising them freedom (evpaggello,menoi auvtoi/j evleuqeri,an [, evpagge,llomai, epangellomai, promise, + pro.dat.m.p., autos, + acc.f.s, evleuqeri,a, eleutheria, freedom]) while they themselves are slaves of corruption (auvtoi. dou/loi u`pa,rcontej th/j fqora/j [pro.n.m.p., autos, + n.m.p., doulos, slave, +, u`pa,rcw, huparcho, be at oneís disposal; "are slaves", +, phthora, corruption]); for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved (ga,r w-| tij h[tthtai tou,tw| dedou,lwtai [conj., gar, + pro./rel.dat.m.s., hos; "by what", + pro./indef.n.m.s., tis, "a man", + pf.dep.ind.3.s., h`tta,omai, hettaomai, be put to the worse; hence, defeated; "overcome"; 2X: 2Pet.2:19,20, + pro./demonstr.dat.m.s., houtos, + pf.pass.ind.3.s., doulo,w, douloo, be enslaved {pass.}]).


  1. The psychological aspect of this verse is profound.
  2. The false teachers "promise...freedom" - the very thing they have not got!
  3. In the quest for self-expression, they have fallen into bondage to the ISTA.
  4. To people (in this case, born-again believers) who, through faith in Christ, have begun to taste the paradox of freedom from the phthora (the corruption of the pre-salvation experience through voluntary bondage to Christ), the heretics propose a new paradox: freedom from the rules imposed by their new Master - only to plunge them back into the bondage in which they themselves lived.
  5. The heretics would have us to go back to the very things that are supposed to be in large measure in the rear view mirror of our Ph1 adjustment (cp. 1Pet.4:3; Eph.2:2,3).
  6. We as believers are no longer to live like unbelievers - for the lusts of the flesh.
  7. The vaunted liberty (so-called) of the liberals constitutes license, and generates a new kind of bondage - bondage to the lusts of the flesh.
  8. On the other hand, bondage to the "perfect law of liberty" (Jam.1:25), which is reviled by the liberals, leads in fact to a liberation/emancipation that transcends anything the heretics could imagine ("the truth shall set you free").
  9. Peter has already declared, in 2Pet.1:3,4, that true liberty (escape from the relentless grip of pthora, corruption), comes through the epignosis (true or full knowledge) of Jesus Christ (BD).
  10. Theological liberals champion grace and love over law, but this leads only to license (cf. Jude.4).
  11. The two spheres (grace and law) are not combatants, but correlatives.
  12. Law (Godís perfect +R contained in moral precepts) is the hedge encompassing Godís garden of grace.
  13. Scripture suggests that there is a corrupted articulation of grace, in such verses as Col.1:6 and 1Pet.5:12.
  14. Notice the subtlety of the two present participles in this verse.
  15. They keep on chattering about freedom while all the while they keep on being slaves to STA lust.
  16. Jesus told the Jews, who prided themselves on their liberty, that they were actually slaves to their sinful natures (Jn.8:44).
  17. Personal sin of any kind places us in a state of slavery (Jn.8:34).
  18. The second half of the verse contains an axiomatic statement applicable to all.
  19. It involves a warning against lapsing into the kind of STA activity that is advocated by the heretics.
  20. The axiom applies to both the false teachers and their victims, mentioned in v.18.
  21. Their victims include gullible, unwary believers.
  22. The affirmation states a moral truism applicable to all mankind.
  23. Any STA vice that enslaves the "real you" (the soul) makes you its slave.
  24. The resulting bondage produces loss, death, and misery.
  25. Rebound and a determination to resist temptation is the way out of this swamp.

VERSE 20 For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world (ga.r eiv avpofugo,ntej ta. mia,smata tou/ ko,smou [conj. + part./condit., ei, +, avpofeu,gw, apopheugo, escape; 3X: 2Pet.1:4; 2:18,20 +, mi,asma, miasma, defilement, pollution; 1X, +, kosmos]) by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (evn evpignw,sei tou/ kuri,ou Îh`mw/nÐ kai. swth/roj VIhsou/ Cristou/ [prep. w/instr.m.s., epignosis, +, kurious, + conj. + gen.m.s., soter, + gen.m.s., Iesous Christos]), they are again entangled in them and are overcome (tou,toij de. pa,lin evmplake,ntej h`ttw/ntai [pro./demon.dat.nt.p., houtos, + conj., de, + adv., palin, again, +, evmple,kw, empleko, entangle; 2X: 2Tim.2:4, + pres.dep.ind.3.s., h`tta,omai, hettaomai; be the worse for; hence, be defeated, conquered; 2X: 2Pet.2:19,20; "are overcome"]), the last state has become worse for them than the first (ta. e;scata ge,gonen cei,rona auvtoi/j tw/n prw,twn [, eschatos, last, + pf.act.ind.3.s., ginomai, become, + adj./compar.n.nt.p., cei,rwn, cheiron, worse, + pro.dat.m.p., autos; "them", +, protos, first]).


  1. These final three verses refer to the victims of the heretics.
  2. Specifically, the reference is to unwary believers who are caught up in the liberal propaganda.
  3. This is a carry over from vs.18, where the soft targets of the propaganda are described as "those who barely escape (born again believers) from the ones who live in error (unbelievers)."
  4. However, the majority of interpreters hold that these verses are in reference to the false teachers.
  5. This position is problematic, as it requires either viewing the false teachers as believers, which contradicts the reference to their final judgment in v.17 ("for whom the black darkness has been reserved"), or interpreting the phrase, "after they have escaped the defilements of the world" (v.20) as something less than actual conversion.
  6. The subject(s) of the first class condition ("For if...has become...") is the anarthrous participle "after they have escaped" (, avpofeu,gw, apopheugo), which is generally understood to refer to believers in v.18 (as in the other two occurrences in the N.T., and all in 2Pet.1:4 and 2:18).
  7. If 2Pet.1:4 (all agree) and 2:18 (most) refer to Ph1 deliverance via forgiveness and positional sanctification, then it seems arbitrary to make the reference here to an empty profession of faith (as in the Ryrie footnote) or temporary moral reformation apart from actual conversion.
  8. In general, these verses violate the profile of the false teachers reflected in vv.1-19.
  9. "Escaped", here and in 2Pet.1:4 and 2:18, refers to passing from the realm of spiritual death and defilement to spiritual life and cleansing.
  10. The noun "defilements" (ta. mia,smata) occurs only here and refers to the contamination associated with unchecked STA activity in an unsaved state.
  11. The positive unsaved experience constant defilement from the source of their environment - "the world".
  12. This defilement is parallel to "corruption" in 2Pet.1:4, which has the connotation of judgment.
  13. Here also, the corruption is said to be that which is "in the world through lust".
  14. In 2Pet.2:18 the escape is said to be "from (the fate) of the ones living in error".
  15. At salvation, all pre-salvation sins are forgiven and the absolute tyranny of the ISTA is interrupted.
  16. Here the escape is made possible "by the epignosis of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ".
  17. Epignosis refers to real and complete knowledge here and throughout the N.T.
  18. In 2Peter this noun occurs also at vv.1:2,3,8.
  19. These verses use the term of spiritual information that enables believers to inherit blessing and be productive.
  20. The escape is made possible by information inherent in the gospel and basic doctrine.
  21. The good news of salvation and basic doctrine enables believers to break the grip of unrelenting STA lusts with the accompanying defilement.
  22. The defilement refers to moral filth, as well as error in belief (false cosmogony, religion, etc).
  23. Epignosis lifts the individual out of this sewer of satanic deception and danger.
  24. When epignosis doctrine is rejected or distorted by alien teachings, as in the instance of liberalism, believers are "again entangled".
  25. The aorist participle "entangled" (evmple,kw) is a fishing term occurring only here in the N.T.
  26. The adverb "again" looks backward to the pre-salvation condition.
  27. "They" is represented as the demonstrative pronoun (dat.nt.p.) ou-toj (houtos), meaning "these very ones".
  28. The Greek also has the conjunction de,,, which means "now", to indicate a further development.
  29. The literal rendering is: "now these having been entangled again are overcome...".
  30. "And are overcome" is the aorist indicative (3pl.) of h`tta,omai (hettaomai) and means, literally, "to be made worse off"; hence, "to be overcome".
  31. Believers who apostatize are spiritually defeated (willing POWs) through entanglement with the vice that is in the world through lust.
  32. This verb also occurs in v.19 in connection with the axiom, "for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved" (2X in the N.T: 2Pet.2:19,20).
  33. This verse is without doubt dealing with reversionism.
  34. A believer who has had some exposure to BD ends up living like an unbeliever caught up in false teaching and living according to the sinful trend of Adam.
  35. Peter refers to this condition as "the last state" (ta. e;scata).
  36. The "last state" is easy enough to identify - it is reversionism.
  37. In this case, reversionism that is full-blown, accompanied with the embracing of false doctrine with attendant STA lusts.
  38. This state, he asserts, "has become worse than the first state".
  39. The "first state" can only be the pre-salvation life.
  40. How is the last state (believer in reversionism) worse than the first (unbeliever)?
  41. In both states the individual is enslaved to the STA with its lusts, but being a believer in Jesus Christ is infinitely superior to the alternative.
  42. So how are such types worse off?
  43. The answer is: when they are unsaved, yet positive, their chances of finding the truth are guaranteed, but when they are brainwashed by liberal propaganda, their chances of recovery are minimal.
  44. The casualties of this chapter are believers who abandoned orthodoxy for heterodoxy.
  45. We are not simply dealing with believers who got caught up in sensational sins of the flesh.
  46. Recovery from carnality, even gross carnality, is common enough, but recovery where there is a volitional repudiation of the fundamentals is minimal, if not nil.
  47. This is in the same vein as the no-second-chance category of Hebrews six.
  48. Apostasy, where there is intellectual repudiation of the faith on the part of a believer, is worse only in the limited sense that there is little or no chance that they will recover.
  49. Peterís observation is to be taken within narrow parameters.

Almost Better Off (v.21)

VERSE 21 For it would be better for them (ga.r h=n krei/tton auvtoi/j [conj. + imperf.act.ind.3.s., eimi; "it would be", + adj./compar.n.nt.s., krei,ttwn, kreitton, better, + pro.dat.n.p., autos, "them"]) not to have known the way of righteousness (mh. evpegnwke,nai th.n o`do.n th/j dikaiosu,nhj [neg. + pf.act.infin., evpiginw,skw, epignosko, know, +, hodos, way, +, dikaiosune, righteousness]), than having known it (h' evpignou/sin [conj, e, than, +, epiginosko, know]), to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them (u`postre,yai evk th/j a`gi,aj evntolh/j paradoqei,shj auvtoi/j [aor.act.infin., uvpostre,yw, hupostrepho, turn away, + prep.w/ w/adj.gen.f.s., hagios, holy, + gen.f.s., evntolh,, entole, commandment, +, paradi,dwmi, paradidomi, hand down, + pro.dat.m.p., autos; "them"]).


  1. The statement in v.21 is even more remarkable than the one in v.20.
  2. The key is to be found in the use of the imperfect tense (act.ind.) of the verb eimi, translated "it would be".
  3. The imperfect tense in the Greek usually indicates linear action in past time.
  4. If that were the case here, the phrase would read, "Not to have known the way of righteousness was better."
  5. The obvious question would be, but what about now?
  6. The temporal emphasis is remote here and some other aspect is emphasized.
  7. It is generally recognized that the imperfect tense can be used in other ways, including a nuance that would require the subjunctive in other tenses.
  8. The imperfect is deficient here, as it only occurs with the indicative.
  9. A.T. Robertson discusses the "potential" use of the tense and illustrates it this way: "An example is found in Rom.9:3, where Paul almost expresses a moral wrong. He holds himself back from the abyss by the tense."
  10. The grammarian Moule uses a different designation, but follows the same reasoning.
  11. He says, "Desiderative chiefly used in expressing a wish. It seems to soften a remark, and make it more vague or more difficult or polite: as we might say ĎI could almost do so-and-so.í Cf. euchomen gar anathema einai Rom.9:3, I could almost pray to be accursed - the Imperfect softening the shock of the daring statement or expressing awe at the terrible thought."
  12. If this instance of the imperfect is understood as "potential", or "desiderative," the idea would be, "It would almost be better for them...".
  13. In point of fact, it is not better to have never believed, than to have believed and apostatized.
  14. Peterís expression is designed to draw attention to the awful consequences of becoming like the unbelievers who despise the distinctives of a Bible-based faith.
  15. Intellectual repudiation carries with it the severest of penalties in terms of any prospect of Ph2 adjustment to God.
  16. The words "the way of righteousness" are synonymous with the "the way of truth" in 2Pet.1:2.
  17. Both expressions refer to the realm of Bible doctrine, including the Person and Work of Christ.
  18. The heretics of this chapter are unbelievers who deny the reality of Christ (2Pet.2:1).
  19. "To turn away" refers to reversionism and a kind of reversionism that is the most deadly in terms of any future repentance/recovery.
  20. It is the same type of reversionism found in Hebrews chapter six (where more mature believers are in view).
  21. In this chapter, "unstable" or immature believers are in view (cf. vv.14,18).
  22. Wherever there is a wholesale repudiation of orthodoxy, there is little or no chance that the individual will make a full recovery.
  23. So Peter is inspired to warn believers of the devastating nature of this category of reversionism.
  24. The next difficulty presented by this verse is the identification of what Peter labels "the holy commandment".
  25. This exact expression occurs nowhere else in the N.T.
  26. Now we will see what it (the holy commandment) is not.
  27. Among those who regard the final verses (20-22) of this chapter as referring to believers, the phrases "the way of righteousness" and "the holy commandment" is, for them, simply a reference to moral depravity apart from actual apostasy.
  28. In other words, reversionism of a lascivious nature is what Peter is going to extremes to warn believers against.
  29. Is there any evidence that carnality involving immorality and dissipation is any more deadly than, say, legalistic reversionism?
  30. According to what we observe in Scripture, the former is not viewed as holding its victims more so than some other brand of reversionism (a legalism or monetary grid).
  31. The Bible presents a variety of examples of those who fell into lasciviousness and dissipation and who came out of it (Corinthians, prodigal son, etc.).
  32. Many a prodigal does not repudiate intellectually the faith of his salvation.
  33. His understanding grows dim and is fogged, but he doesnít necessarily embrace a belief system that assaults Christian belief.
  34. We have seen in our own experience those who have recovered from gross immorality (it is not uncommon).
  35. So how is their "before" better than their "after"?
  36. During the time they are "out there", they have in their souls a remembrance of the things which can snatch them out of the fire (again, as the younger son did in the story).
  37. To leave the way of experiential holiness and return to the former (pre-salvation) path of carnality, while risky, is not even in the same league with the scenario of this chapter.
  38. David didnít repudiate the realm of doctrine in "Operation Bathsheba".
  39. The typical fundy read on this is that a believer swamped by carnality is much more miserable than he/she was as an unbeliever doing the same things.
  40. This may only be the case where the believer is constantly assaulted from his/her conscience with the doctrine of SG3 (loss of the crown, which isnít an issue for the untrained or immature).
  41. Back to the question as to the identity of the "holy commandment".
  42. There are many imperatives/commandments prescribed for believers living in the CA and they are all "holy".
  43. The salvation adjustment involves a holy commandment.
  44. The "holy commandment" is found in 1Tim.6:13,14 (cp. 1Jn3:23, which sums up the Christian experience in terms of Ph1 and Ph2).
  45. It is mentioned in passing in 2Pet.3:2.
  46. It has to do with intake and application of BD until the end of Ph2.
  47. Peter summarizes Christianity as "the sacred commandment".
  48. The verb "handed down" refers to both the oral (face-to-face teaching) and written (canon of Scripture) heritage of those who have heard and believed.
  49. This expression is paralleled in Jude.3 as "the faith once for all delivered to the saints".
  50. And as such, it refers to Christian doctrine, with all its moral implications, which have been handed down to us via apostolic authority.

VERSE 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb (sumbe,bhken auvtoi/j to. th/j avlhqou/j paroimi,aj [pf.act.ind.3.s., sumbai,nw, sumbaino, happen; dramatic perfect, + pro.dat.m.p., autos; "them", +, "it", +, avlhqh,j, alethes, true, + gen.f.s., paroimi,a, paroimia, proverb]), "A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," (Ku,wn evpistre,yaj evpi. to. i;dion evxe,rama [n.m.s., ku,wn, kuon, dog, +, evpistre,fw, epistrepho, turn back, + prep.w/, i[dioj, idios, oneís own, + acc.nt.s., evxe,rama, ezerama, vomit; 1X]) and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire (kai, _-uj lousame,nh eivj kulismo.n borbo,rou [conj., and, + n.f.s., hus, sow, +, lou,w, louo, wash, + prep.w./acc.m.s., kulismo,j, kulismos, a rolling; wallowing; 1X, + gen.m.s., bo,rboroj, borboros, slime, mire, mud; muck; 1X])."


  1. Peter concludes this prophetic chapter with two proverbs which depict the status quo of believers who apostatize.
  2. Their punishment is that they are permanently given over to that which their volition has chosen.
  3. These two similes are particularly apt considering the animal comparisons seen in this chapter.
  4. Here, the comparison is to believers who, in reversionism, take on certain repugnant habits of certain unclean animals.
  5. Peter calls these expressions proverbial.
  6. He probably took them from some popular collection.
  7. The first appears to be Biblical (Prov.26:11), the second is not.
  8. The second appears in the Syrian Akihar story; it follows with a proverb.
  9. "My son, you have been to me like the swine that had been to the bath, and when it saw a muddy ditch, went down and washed in it, and cried to its companions, ĎCome and batheí".
  10. A dog will vomit up that which makes him sick, but later will be found sniffing the very thing that had made him sick.
  11. This disgusting habit depicts the believer who repudiates the grossness of the former error and turns back to a repackaged version, i.e., liberalism.
  12. The pig who has been bathed represents Ph1 cleansing from sins, only to go back and wallow in the muck of doctrine of demons and sin.
  13. Peter has spent considerable effort to inform and warn believers concerning lust masquerading as religion.
  14. Modern liberalism is often dressed in religious clothing, but it is nothing better than ancient paganism revisited.


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