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2 Peter 2:1-3

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 Peter 2:15-19

Context
2:15 By forsaking the right path they have gone astray, because they followed the way of Balaam son of Bosor, 15  who loved the wages of unrighteousness, 16  2:16 yet was rebuked 17  for his own transgression (a dumb donkey, 18  speaking with a human voice, 19  restrained the prophet’s madness). 20 

2:17 These men 21  are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm, for whom the utter depths of darkness 22  have been reserved. 2:18 For by speaking high-sounding but empty words 23  they are able to entice, 24  with fleshly desires and with debauchery, 25  people 26  who have just escaped 27  from those who reside in error. 28  2:19 Although these false teachers promise 29  such people 30  freedom, they themselves are enslaved to 31  immorality. 32  For whatever a person succumbs to, to that he is enslaved. 33 

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 Although many modern translations (e.g., NASB, TEV, NIV, CEV, NLT) read “Beor” here, this is due to harmonization with the OT rather than following a variant textual reading. The Greek text of NA27 reads “Bosor,” an otherwise unattested form of the name of Balaam’s father.

16 tn “Wages of unrighteousness” in Greek is the same expression found in v. 13, “wages for harmful ways.” The repetition makes the link between the false teachers and Balaam more concrete.

17 tn Grk “but he had a rebuke.”

18 tn The Greek word ἄφωνος (afwno") means “mute, silent” or “incapable of speech.” For reasons of English style the word “dumb” was used in the translation. Despite the potential for misunderstanding (since “dumb” can refer to a lack of intellectual capability) more dynamic glosses were judged to be inelegant.

19 tn Grk “a voice of a (man/person).”

20 sn Balaam’s activities are detailed in Num 22—24 (see also Num 31:8, 16).

21 tn Although some translations have simply “these” or “these people,” since in v. 14 they are described as having eyes “full of an adulteress,” men are in view.

22 tn Grk “utter darkness of darkness.” Verse 4 speaks of wicked angels presently in “chains of utter darkness,” while the final fate of the false teachers is a darker place still.

23 tn Grk “high-sounding words of futility.”

24 tn Grk “they entice.”

25 tn Grk “with the lusts of the flesh, with debauchery.”

26 tn Grk “those.”

27 tn Or “those who are barely escaping.”

28 tn Or “deceit.”

29 tn Verse 19 is a subordinate clause in Greek. The masculine nominative participle “promising” (ἐπαγγελλόμενοι, epangellomenoi) refers back to the subject of vv. 17-18. At the same time, it functions subordinately to the following participle, ὑπάρχοντες (Juparconte", “while being”).

30 tn Grk “them.”

31 tn Grk “slaves of.” See the note on the word “slave” in 1:1.

32 tn Or “corruption,” “depravity.” Verse 19 constitutes a subordinate clause to v. 18 in Greek. The main verbal components of these two verses are: “uttering…they entice…promising…being (enslaved).” The main verb is (they) entice. The three participles are adverbial and seem to indicate an instrumental relation (by uttering), a concessive relation (although promising), and a temporal relation (while being [enslaved]). For the sake of English usage, in the translation of the text this is broken down into two sentences.

33 tn Grk “for by what someone is overcome, to this he is enslaved.”



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