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2 Peter 2:1-10

Context
The False Teachers’ Ungodly Lifestyle

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. 2:2 And many will follow their debauched lifestyles. 8  Because of these false teachers, 9  the way of truth will be slandered. 10  2:3 And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their 11  condemnation pronounced long ago 12  is not sitting idly by; 13  their 14  destruction is not asleep.

2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, 15  but threw them into hell 16  and locked them up 17  in chains 18  in utter darkness, 19  to be kept until the judgment, 2:5 and if he did not spare the ancient world, but did protect Noah, a herald of righteousness, along with seven others, 20  when God 21  brought a flood on an ungodly world, 22  2:6 and if he turned to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when he condemned them to destruction, 23  having appointed 24  them to serve as an example 25  to future generations of the ungodly, 26  2:7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man in anguish over the debauched lifestyle of lawless 27  men, 28  2:8 (for while he lived among them day after day, that righteous man was tormented in his righteous soul 29  by the lawless deeds he saw and heard 30 ) 2:9 – if so, 31  then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials, 32  and to reserve the unrighteous for punishment 33  at the day of judgment, 2:10 especially those who indulge their fleshly desires 34  and who despise authority.

Brazen and insolent, 35  they are not afraid to insult 36  the glorious ones, 37 

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 “Debauched lifestyles” is literally “licentiousnesses,” “sensualities,” “debaucheries.”

9 tn Grk “because of whom,” introducing a subordinate clause to the first part of the verse.

10 tn Or “blasphemed,” “reviled,” “treated with contempt.”

11 tn Grk “to whom,” introducing a subordinate relative clause.

12 tn Grk “the ancient judgment.”

13 tn Grk “is not idle.”

14 tn Greek has “and their.” As introducing a synonymous parallel, it is superfluous in English.

15 tn The participle ἁμαρτησάντων (Jamarthsantwn) could either be attributive (“who sinned”) or adverbial (“when they sinned”). The relation to the judgment of the false teachers in v. 3 suggests that the objects of God’s judgment are not in question, but the time frame for the execution of justice is. If the participle is taken temporally, the point of comparison is not as acute. The objection that the illustrations following (the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah) are viewed temporally does not mitigate this translation, for in both instances only the time of executing judgment is in view. Further, in both instances the OT notes that God withheld punishment for a long time.

16 tn Grk “casting them into Tartarus” or “holding them captive in Tartarus.” This verb, ταρταρόω (tartarow), occurs only here in the NT, but its meaning is clearly established in both Hellenistic and Jewish literature. “Tartarus [was] thought of by the Greeks as a subterranean place lower than Hades where divine punishment was meted out, and so regarded in Israelite apocalyptic as well” (BDAG 991 s.v.). Grammatically, it has been translated as an indicative because it is an attendant circumstance participle.

17 tn Grk “handed them over.”

18 tc The reading σειραῖς (seirai", “chains”) is found in Ì72 P Ψ 33 1739 Ï vg sy, while σιροῖς (sirois [or σειροῖς, seirois], “pits”) is found in א A B C 81 pc. The evidence is thus fairly evenly divided. Internally, the reading adopted here (σειραῖς) is a rarer term, perhaps prompting some scribes to replace it with the more common word. However, this more common term is not a synonym and hence does not follow the normal pattern of scribes. As well, the use of the genitive ζόφου (zofou) in “chains of darkness” is a bit awkward (a rare genitive of place), perhaps prompting some scribes to change the imagery to “pits of darkness” (in which case ζόφου is an attributive genitive). A further point that complicates the issue is the relationship of 2 Peter to Jude. Jude’s parallel (v. 6) has δεσμοῖς (desmois, “chains”). Apart from the issue of whether 2 Peter used Jude or Jude used 2 Peter, this parallel suggests one of two possibilities: either (1) since these two books obviously have a literary relationship, σειραῖς is original, or (2) early scribes, recognizing that these two books shared their material, changed σειροῖς to σειραῖς to conform the wording, at least conceptually, to Jude 6. On balance, σειραῖς looks to be original because scribes were not prone to harmonize extensively between books other than the Gospels (although 2 Peter and Jude do display some of this harmonizing). Further, such harmonization is often, if not usually, verbally exact, but δεσμοῖς is not a variant here.

19 tn The genitive ζόφου (zofou) is taken as a genitive of place. See previous note for discussion.

20 tn “Along with seven others” is implied in the cryptic, “the eighth, Noah.” A more literal translation thus would be, “he did protect Noah [as] the eighth…”

21 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been repeated here for clarity, although this is somewhat redundant with the beginning of v. 4.

22 tn Grk “a world of the ungodly.”

23 tc Several important witnesses omit καταστροφῇ (katastrofh, “destruction”; such as Ì72* B C* 1241 1739 1881 pc), but this is probably best explained as an accidental omission due to homoioarcton (the word following is κατέκρινεν [katekrinen, “he condemned”]).

tn Or “ruin,” or “extinction.” The first part of this verse more literally reads “And [if] he condemned to annihilation the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, by turning them to ashes.”

sn The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is detailed in Gen 18:1619:29.

24 tn The perfect participle τεθεικώς (teqeikw") suggests an antecedent act. More idiomatically, the idea seems to be, “because he had already appointed them to serve as an example.”

25 tn “To serve as” is not in Greek but is implied in the object-complement construction.

26 tn Grk “an example of the things coming to the ungodly,” or perhaps “an example to the ungodly of coming [ages].”

27 tn Or “unprincipled.”

28 tn This verse more literally reads “And [if] he rescued righteous Lot, who was deeply distressed by the lifestyle of the lawless in [their] debauchery.”

29 tn Grk “that righteous man tormented his righteous soul.”

30 tn Grk “by lawless deeds, in seeing and hearing [them].”

31 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.

32 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).

33 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.

34 tn Grk “those who go after the flesh in [its] lust.”

35 tn There is no “and” in Greek; it is supplied for the sake of English convention.

36 tn The translation takes βλασφημοῦντες (blasfhmounte") as an adverbial participle of purpose, as most translations do. However, it is also possible to see this temporally (thus, “they do not tremble when they blaspheme”).

37 tn Δόξας (doxas) almost certainly refers to angelic beings rather than mere human authorities, though it is difficult to tell whether good or bad angels are in view. Verse 11 seems to suggest that wicked angels is what the author intends.



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