The Second Letter from Peter

Chapter 2

Peter foretells them of false teachers, showing the impiety and punishment both of them and their followers, 1-6; from which the godly shall be delivered, as Lot was out of Sodom, 7-9; and more fully describes the manners of those profane and blasphemous seducers, whereby they may be the better known and avoided, 10-22.

1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you who will privately bring in condemnable heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And through covetousness they will with feigned words exploit you, whose judgment from long ago does not linger and their condemnation does not slumber.

4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved to judgment, 5 And did not spare the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing the flood upon the world of the ungodly, 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example to those who afterward should live ungodly lives, 7 And delivered just Lot, grieved with the habitual lewdness of the wicked 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, grieved his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds), 9 Then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust for the day of judgment to be punished, 10 But chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise government. They are presumptuous and self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of glorious [ones]. 11 Whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they do not understand. They shall utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to riot in the day-time. They are spots and blemishes, reveling in their own deceivings while they feast with you, 14 Having eyes full of adultery that cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls. They have a heart exercised with covetous practices. They are cursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity—the mute donkey speaking with man's voice hindered the madness of the prophet.

17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those who had quite escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption. For by whom a man is overcome, by the same he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, "The dog has turned to his own vomit again," and, "The sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."

Commentary

Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Peter, Chapter 2

Notes

[v.5] - "but saved Noah" - Reference, Genesis 7:23.

[v.6] - "turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes" - Reference, Genesis 19:24-25.

[v.7] - "And delivered just Lot" - Reference, Genesis 19:15-22.

[v.10] - "glorious [ones]" - Text in square brackets added for implied meaning. The Greek word used here literally means, "glories." The full meaning is unclear. Some have it refer to civil authorities, some to angelic authorities, and some to both civil and angelic authorities. From Matthew Poole's Commentary: "Rulers and magistrates, whom God has made glorious, or on whom he has put the honor of being above others, and made them his own lieutenants and vicegerents upon earth." From the Pulpit Commentary: "These daring, self-willed men despise all lordship, all glories, whether the glory of Christ ("the excellent glory," 2nd Peter 1:17), or the glory of the angels, or the glory of holiness, or the glory of earthly sovereignty." From John Calvin's Commentary: "This is the first mark by which he brands them, that they are impure men, given up to wickedness. Other marks follow, that they despised government, and feared not to calumniate and reproach men whom God had favored with honorable stations in life. But these words refer to the same thing; for after having said that they held government in contempt, he immediately points out the fountain of this evil, that they were presumptuous, or audacious, and self-willed, or refractory; and lastly, that he might more fully exhibit their pride, he says that they did not fear nor tremble when they treated dignities with contempt. For it is a monstrous arrogance to regard as nothing the glory which shines forth in dignities appointed by God. But there is no doubt but that in these words he refers to the imperial and magisterial power; for though there is no lawful station in life which is not worthy of respect, yet we know that the magisterial office excels every other, because in governing mankind God himself is represented. Then truly glorious is that power in which God himself appears."

[v.15-16] - Reference, Numbers, ch. 22.

[v.22] - Quoting Proverbs 26:11. Here Peter quotes two proverbs. Only the first of the two is a proverb from Solomon and contained within the rest of the canon of the Scriptures. The second, even though it is not within the Proverbs, holds on its own as a good and wise saying. Given Peter's authority as Apostle of Christ and penman of canonized Scriptures, this second proverb has been made a part of the canonized Scriptures and therefore, suitable for theological teachings.

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