2 Peter 2:1-3Context
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 2:14-17Context
2:14 Their eyes, 15 full of adultery, 16 never stop sinning; 17 they entice 18 unstable people. 19 They have trained their hearts for greed, these cursed children! 20 2:15 By forsaking the right path they have gone astray, because they followed the way of Balaam son of Bosor, 21 who loved the wages of unrighteousness, 22 2:16 yet was rebuked 23 for his own transgression (a dumb donkey, 24 speaking with a human voice, 25 restrained the prophet’s madness). 26
2:17 These men 27 are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm, for whom the utter depths of darkness 28 have been reserved.
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 Grk “having eyes.” See note on “men” at the beginning of v. 12.
16 tn Grk “full of an adulteress.”
17 tn Grk “and unceasing from sin.” Some translate this “insatiable for sin,” but such a translation is based on a textual variant with inadequate support.
18 tn Grk “enticing.” See note on “men” at the beginning of v. 12.
19 tn “People” is literally “souls.” The term ψυχή (yuch) can refer to one’s soul, one’s life, or oneself.
20 tn Grk “having hearts trained in greediness, children of cursing.” The participles continue the general description of the false teachers, without strong grammatical connection. The genitive κατάρας (kataras, “of cursing”) is taken attributively here.
21 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.
22 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.
23 tn Grk “but he had a rebuke.”
24 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.
25 tn Grk “a voice of a (man/person).”
26 sn Balaam’s activities are detailed in Num 22—24 (see also Num 31:8, 16).
27 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.
28 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.