2:1 But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. 1 These false teachers 2 will 3 infiltrate your midst 4 with destructive heresies, 5 even to the point of 6 denying the Master who bought them. As a result, they will bring 7 swift destruction on themselves.
1 sn There will be false teachers among you. Peter uses the same verb, γίνομαι (ginomai), in 2 Pet 2:1 as he had used in 1:20 to describe the process of inspiration. He may well be contrasting, by way of a catchword, the two kinds of prophets.
2 tn Grk “who”; verse 1 is one sentence in Greek, the second half constituting a relative clause.
3 sn By the use of the future tense (will infiltrate), Peter is boldly prophesying the role that false teachers will have before these Gentile believers. It was necessary for him to establish both his own credentials and to anchor his audience’s faith in the written Word before he could get to this point, for these false teachers will question both.
4 tn Grk “will bring in,” often with the connotation of secretiveness; “your midst” is implied.
5 tn Or “destructive opinions,” “destructive viewpoints.” The genitive ἀπωλείας (apwleia") could be taken either attributively (“destructive”) or as a genitive of destination (“leading to destruction”). Although the preferable interpretation is a genitive of destination, especially because of the elaboration given at the end of the verse (“bringing swift destruction on themselves”), translating it attributively is less cumbersome in English. Either way, the net result is the same.
6 tn Grk “even.” The καί (kai) is ascensive, suggesting that the worst heresy is mentioned in the words that follow.
7 tn Grk “bringing.” The present participle ἐπάγοντες (epagonte") indicates the result of the preceding clause.
8 tn The Greek is one long conditional sentence, from v. 4 to v. 10a. 2Pet 2:4-8 constitute the protasis; vv. 9 and 10a, the apodosis. In order to show this connection more clearly, a resumptive summary protasis – “if so,” or “if God did these things” – is needed in English translation.
9 tn Grk “from trial,” or possibly “from temptation” (though this second meaning for πειρασμός (peirasmo") does not fit the context in which Noah and Lot are seen as in the midst of trials, not temptation).
10 tn The adverbial participle κολαζομένους (kolazomenou") can refer either to contemporaneous time or subsequent time. At stake is the meaning of the following prepositional phrase (at the day of judgment or until the day of judgment). If the participle is contemporaneous, the idea is “to keep the ungodly in a state of punishment until the day of judgment.” If subsequent, the meaning is “to keep the ungodly to be punished at the day of judgment.” Many commentators/translations opt for the first view, assuming that the present participle cannot be used of subsequent time. However, the present participle is the normal one used for result, and is often used of purpose (cf., e.g., for present participles suggesting result, Mark 9:7; Luke 4:15; John 5:18; Eph 2:15; 2 Pet 2:1, mentioned above; for present participles indicating purpose, note Luke 10:25; John 12:33; Acts 3:26; 2 Pet 2:10 [as even most translations render it]). Further, the context supports this: 2:1-10 forms something of an inclusio, in which the final end of the false teachers is mentioned specifically in v. 1, then as a general principle in v. 9. The point of v. 3 – that the punishment of the false teachers is certain, even though the sentence has not yet been carried out, is underscored by a participle of purpose in v. 9.