2 Peter 2:20
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(20) For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world.—Applying the general statement of the preceding verse to the case of these false teachers. In the Shepherd of Hermas (I. Vis. IV. iii. 2.) “the black there is the world in which we dwell, and the fire-and-blood-colour (indicates) that this world must perish through blood and fire; but the golden part are ye who have escaped this world.” Another possible reminiscence of our Epistle. (See above on 2Peter 2:1; 2Peter 3:13; 2Peter 3:15; and below, 2Peter 3:5.)

Through the knowledge.—Better, in knowledge the preposition “in” pointing to that in which the escape consists. (See on 2Peter 2:18, and comp. Luke 1:77.) The knowledge is of the same mature and complete kind as that spoken of in 2Peter 1:2-3; 2Peter 1:8 (where see Notes), showing that these men were well-instructed Christians.

Entangled therein, and overcome.—Or, entangled and overcome thereby, which, from the latter part of 2Peter 2:19, seems to be the more probable construction.

The latter end is worse with them than the beginning.—Most certainly this should be made to correspond with Matthew 12:45, of which it is almost an exact reproduction—their last state is worse than the first. The only difference is that the word for “is” in Matthew 12:45 means literally “becomes,” and here “has become.” (Comp. the Shepherd, Sim. IX. xvii. 5.)

2 Peter 2:20-22. For if after they — The persons here spoken of as deluded; have escaped the pollutions of the world — The sins which pollute those who know not God; through the knowledge of Christ — That is, through faith in him, 2 Peter 1:3; they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end — Their last state; is worse than the beginning — More inexcusable, and exposing them to a greater condemnation. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness — As set forth in the gospel; than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment, &c. — The doctrine of Christ, which enjoins nothing but what is holy. It would have been better, because their sin would have been less, and their punishment lighter. See the margin. But it has happened unto them according to the true proverb — The ancients used to sum up their wisest and most useful observations in short, nervous, and impressive proverbs, which were more easily understood, and better remembered, than long, laboured discourses. The dog, the sow — Unclean creatures: such are all men in the sight of God before they receive his grace, and after they have made shipwreck of the faith. These proverbs teach us the absolute necessity of constant watchfulness and prayer, self- denial and mortification, in order to our persevering in the way of righteousness after we have entered upon it. And, as some think, they teach also that many, if not most of those who relapse into their former habits of sin, had contented themselves with a mere external reformation, and had stopped short of a thorough change of nature, or being made new creatures in Christ Jesus. It may be worth observing, that the former of these proverbs is found Proverbs 26:11, and the latter is said to have been a common proverb among the ancients: see Sir 26:24-26. Horace has a plain reference to both of them, lib. 1. Sir 26:26, where he is speaking of the travels of Ulysses, and says, “If he had been conquered by the charms of Circe, he had lived like an impure dog, or a sow that is fond of the mire.” Surely these proverbs will not be thought coarse or unpolite in St. Peter, when some of the most elegant writers of antiquity have made use of, or referred to them.

2:17-22 The word of truth is the water of life, which refreshes the souls that receive it; but deceivers spread and promote error, and are set forth as empty, because there is no truth in them. As clouds hinder the light of the sun, so do these darken counsel by words wherein there is no truth. Seeing that these men increase darkness in this world, it is very just that the mist ofdarkness should be their portion in the next. In the midst of their talk of liberty, these men are the vilest slaves; their own lusts gain a complete victory over them, and they are actually in bondage. When men are entangled, they are easily overcome; therefore Christians should keep close to the word of God, and watch against all who seek to bewilder them. A state of apostacy is worse than a state of ignorance. To bring an evil report upon the good way of God, and a false charge against the way of truth, must expose to the heaviest condemnation. How dreadful is the state here described! Yet though such a case is deplorable, it is not utterly hopeless; the leper may be made clean, and even the dead may be raised. Is thy backsliding a grief to thee? Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world - This does not necessarily mean that they had been true Christians, and had fallen from grace. People may outwardly reform, and escape from the open corruptions which prevail around them, or which they had themselves practiced, and still have no true grace at heart.

Through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesses Christ - Neither does This imply that they were true Christians, or that they had ever had any saving knowledge of the Redeemer. There is a knowledge of the doctrines and duties of religion which may lead sinners to abandon their outward vices, which has no connection with saving grace. They may profess religion, and may Know enough of religion to understand that it requires them to abandon their vicious habits, and still never be true Christians.

They are again entangled therein and overcome - The word rendered "entangled," (ἐμπλέκω emplekō,) from which is derived our word "implicate," means to braid in, to interweave; then to involve in, to entangle. It means here that they become implicated in those vices like an animal that is entangled in a net.

The latter end is worse with them than the beginning - This is usually the case. Apostates become worse than they were before their professed conversion. "Reformed" drunkards, if they go back to their "cups" again, become more abandoned than ever. Thus, it is with those who have been addicted to any habits of vice, and who profess to become religious, and then fall away. The "reasons" for this may be:

(1) that they are willing now to show to others that they are no longer under the restraints by which they had professedly bound themselves;

(2) that God gives them up to indulgence with fewer restraints than formerly; and,

(3) their old companions in sin may be at special pains to court their society, and to lead them into temptation, in order to obtain a triumph over virtue and religion.

20. after they—the seducers "themselves" have escaped (2Pe 2:19; see on [2634]Heb 6:4-6).

pollutions—which bring "corruption" (2Pe 2:19).

through—Greek, "in."

knowledge—Greek, "full and accurate knowledge."

the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ—solemnly expressing in full the great and gracious One from whom they fall.

latter end is worse … than the beginning—Peter remembers Christ's words. "Worse" stands opposed to "better" (2Pe 2:21).

The pollutions of the world; those more gross wickednesses in which most of the world still lieth, 1Jo 5:19.

Through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; such a knowledge of Christ as brings with it an outward reformation of life, though it do not purify the heart. For that the apostle doth not here speak of those that were rooted in Christ by a saving and heart purifying faith, appears by 2 Peter 2:14, where he calls them

unstable souls.

They are again entangled therein, and overcome; return to their old sins, yield up themselves to them, and continue in them.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world,.... The sins of it, the governing vices of it, which the men of the world are addicted to, and immersed in; for the whole world lies in wickedness, and which are of a defiling nature: the phrase is Rabbinical; it is said (q),

"he that studies not in the law in this world, but is defiled , "with the pollutions of the world", what is written of him? and they took him, and cast him without:''

these, men may escape, abstain from, and outwardly reform, with respect unto, and yet be destitute of the grace of God; so that this can be no instance of the final and total apostasy of real saints; for the house may be swept and garnished with an external reformation; persons may be outwardly righteous before men, have a form of godliness and a name to live, and yet be dead in trespasses and sins; all which they may have

through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, read, our Lord, and the latter leave out, "and Saviour"; by which "knowledge" is meant, not a spiritual experimental knowledge of Christ, for that is eternal life, the beginning, pledge, and earnest of it; but a notional knowledge of Christ, or a profession of knowledge of him, for it may be rendered "acknowledgment"; or rather the Gospel of Christ, which, being only notionally received, may have such an effect on men, as outwardly to reform their lives, at least in some instances, and for a while, in whose hearts it has no place. Now if, after all this knowledge and reformation,

they are again entangled therein; in the pollutions of the world, in worldly lusts, which are as gins, pits and snares:

and overcome; by them, so as to be laden with them, and led away, and entirely governed and influenced by them:

the latter end, or state,

is worse with them than the beginning; see Matthew 12:45. Their beginning, or first estate, was that in which they were born, a state of darkness, ignorance, and sin, and in which they were brought up, and was either the state of Judaism, or of Gentilism; their next estate was an outward deliverance and escape from the error of the one, or of the other, and an embracing and professing the truth of the Christian religion, joined with a becoming external conversation; and this their last estate was an apostasy from the truth of the Gospel they had professed, a reception of error and heresy, and a relapse into sin and immorality, which made their case worse than it was at first; for, generally, such persons are more extravagant in sinning; are like raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; and are seldom, or ever, recovered; and by their light, knowledge, and profession, their punishment will be more aggravated, and become intolerable.

(q) Zohar in Gen. fol. 104. 3. Vid. Bechinot Olam, p. 178.

{9} For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

(9) It is better to have never known the way of righteousness, than to turn back from it to the old filthiness: and men that do so, are compared to dogs and swine.

2 Peter 2:20 gives an explanation (γάρ, equal to: namely) of the statement contained in 2 Peter 2:19, that those there described are the δοῦλοι τῆς φθορᾶς, after that the general remark: δεδούλωται has been applied to them. Almost all interpreters hold that in this verse the same persons are the subjects as in 2 Peter 2:19; so that the ἀποφυγόντες refers to those with the description of whom the author has throughout the whole chapter been engaged. Bengel, Fronmüller, Hofmann are of a different opinion. They assume that ἀποφυγόντες refers to those who are led astray, and that the latter accordingly, and not the seducers, are to be regarded as the subject of the clause. In favour of this view may be urged the term ἀποφυγόντες, which seems to refer back to the ἀποφευγόντας in 2 Peter 2:18. But, on the one hand, it is certainly unnatural to consider those to be the subjects here who are the objects in 2 Peter 2:18, especially as 2 Peter 2:19 has the same subject as 2 Peter 2:18; and, on the other, it would be more than surprising if the apostle did not, from here onwards, continue the description of those of whom the whole chapter speaks, but should, all of a sudden, treat of entirely different persons,—and this without in any way hinting at the transition from the one to the other; in addition to this, there is the circumstance that ἡττῶνται corresponds much too directly with ἥττηται.

εἰ γάρ] The reality, as frequently, expressed hypothetically. Without any reason, Grotius would read: “οἱ γάρ” instead of εἰ γάρ.

ἀποφυγόντες] The participle is not to be resolved by “although,” but by “after that.”

τὰ μιάσματα τοῦ κόσμου] τὰ μιάσματα, a form occurring only here; 2 Peter 2:10 : μιασμός.

τοῦ κόσμου, here in an ethical sense, as composed of those who walk (2 Peter 2:18) ἐν πλάνῃ, or, with Wiesinger: “as the dominion over which sin rules,” “the defilements which belong to the world.” Without sufficient reason, Hofmann takes τὰ μιάσματα τ. κ. in a personal sense, and thinks that it means, in the first instance, “those individuals who are the abomination and blemishes of the non-Christian world, and that τούτοις δέ refers to the Christians whom Peter designates as the σπίλοι κ. μῶμοι of the church.” But nothing in the context hints at this, and it is arbitrary to understand by τούτοις other μιάσματα than those designated by that word itself.

ἐν ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ κυρίουΧριστοῦ] i.e. by their having come to the knowledge of Christ.

τούτοις (i.e. μιάσμασι) δὲ πάλιν ἐμπλακέντες ἡττῶνται] ἐμπλακέντες is valde emphaticum; ἐμπλέκεσθαι enim dicuntur, qui tricis et laqueis implicantur (Gerhard). The particle δέ places in antithesis either the two participles: ἀποφυγόντες and πάλιν ἐμπλακέντες, or the first participle and the finite verb ἡττῶνται; the former construction is to be preferred as the more correct.

γέγονεν αὐτοῖςτῶν πρώτων] The same words are to be found in Matthew 12:45; Luke 11:26;[81] τὰ πρῶτα: the former condition, in which they were before their conversion; τὰ ἔσχατα: their subsequent condition, into which they have come after their falling away, i.e. the condition of complete slavery to the φθορά, from which there is no hope of redemption: with the thought, cf. Hebrews 10:26-27.

[81] There is a similar passage in Past. Herm. iii. 9: quidam tamen ex iis maculaverunt se, et projecti sunt de genere justorum et iterum redierunt ad statum pristinum, atque etiam deteriores quam prius evaserunt.

2 Peter 2:20-22. The consequences of falling away. “The case of their victims is a serious one. They have escaped from the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and are once more entangled and worsted by these. Their last state becomes worse than the first. It were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than in spite of such knowledge, to depart from the holy commandment committed to them. They illustrate the truth of the proverb: ‘the dog that turned back to his own vomit, and the sow that went to bathe to wallowing in the mud’.”

20. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world] The word “escaped” had been used above (2 Peter 2:18) of the followers. Here, as the context shews, in the repetition of the word “overcome” from the preceding verse, it is used of the teachers themselves. They also had once fled from the pollutions of heathen life and heathen worship into which they had now fallen back.

through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ] The word for “knowledge” in the Greek is the compound form (ἐπίγνωσις) which is always used by St Paul (e.g. Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 3:10; 1 Timothy 2:4), and had been used by St Peter (chap. 2 Peter 1:2-3; 2 Peter 1:8), of the highest form of knowledge which is spiritual as well as speculative. The false teachers had not been all along hypocrites and pretenders. They had once in the fullest sense of the words “known Christ” as their Lord and Saviour. There is, perhaps, no single passage in the whole extent of New Testament teaching more crucial than this in its bearing on the Calvinistic dogma of the indefectibility of grace. The fullest clearness of spiritual vision had not protected these heresiarchs from the temptations of their sensuous nature.

they are again entangled therein, and overcome] The verb “entangled” is used also by St Paul (2 Timothy 2:4). It describes vividly the manner of the fall of those of whom the Apostle speaks. They had not at first contemplated the ultimate results of their teaching. It was their boast of freedom which led them within the tangled snares of the corruption in which they were now inextricably involved.

the latter end is worse with them than the beginning] Literally, the last state has become worse than the first. The last words are so distinctly a citation from our Lord’s teaching in Matthew 12:45, that we are compelled to think of St Peter as finding in the history of the false teachers that which answered to the parable of the unclean spirit who was cast out of his house and returned to it with seven other spirits more wicked than himself.

2 Peter 2:20. Ἀποφυγόντες, after they have escaped) This is spoken of those who are enticed, as in 2 Peter 2:18. And these are entangled in the calamity of those who ensnare them: they are overcome.—μιάσματα, pollutions) bringing corruption.—τούτοις) to these, the impure.—δὲ, but) This particle marks the antithesis between two participles.—χείρονα, worse) Antithetical to better, 2 Peter 2:21.

Verse 20. - For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world; literally, for if, having escaped (ἀποφυγόντες). Is St. Peter in this verse still speaking of the false teachers, or of those whom they had enticed (verse 18)? Bengel, Fronmuller, and others take the latter view, thinking that the ἀποφυγόντες ("those having escaped") of this verse must be the same with the ἀποφεύγοντας or ἀποφυγόντας ("those who are escaping," or "those having escaped") of verse 18. But it is far more natural to understand St, Peter as continuing his description of the false teachers. The conjunction "for" connects the clause closely with that immediately preceding, and suggests that St. Peter is explaining the term "bondservants or slaves" applied to the false teachers in verse 19; the repetition of the word "overcome" also seems to imply that the subjects of yore. 20 and 19 are the same. The word for" pollutions" (μιάσματα) occurs only here. In 'Hermas' (Vis., 4:3, 2) there occurs what may be a reminiscence of this verse: "Ye who have escaped this world." Through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Several of the most ancient manuscripts read, "our Lord and Saviour." The word rendered "knowledge" is ἐπίγνωσις, full knowledge (comp. 2 Peter 1:2, 3, 8; also Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 3:10; 1 Timothy 2:4; Romans 1:28; Romans 3:20). The preposition is ἐν. The full, personal knowledge of the Saviour is the sphere in which the Christian lives; while he abides in that knowledge grace and peace are multiplied unto him, and he is enabled to escape the pollutions of the world. The apostle warns us here that some of those who once enjoyed the blessedness of that sacred knowledge have been entangled in sin and have fallen from grace. They are again entangled therein, and overcome. The first clause is participial; the connection seems to be, "If, having escaped... but being again entangled they are overcome." The word "entangled" (ἐμπλακέντες) suggests the figure of fishes entangled in the meshes of a net, and seems to point back to the δελεάζουσιν ("entice") of verses 18 and 14; they entice others, but they are entangled themselves (comp. 2 Timothy 2:4), and become captives and slaves to the pollutions of the world from which they had once escaped. The latter end is worse with them than the beginning; rather, as in the Revised Version, the last state is become worse with them than the first. This is a distinct quotation of our Lord's words in Matthew 12:45 and Luke 11:26. The evil spirit had been cast out from these men; for a time they had lived in the full knowledge of Christ; but now the evil spirit had returned, and had brought with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself. This spontaneous adoption of our Lord's words without marks of quotation is not like the work of a forger. 2 Peter 2:20Pollutions (μιάσματα)

Only here in New Testament. Compare 2 Peter 2:10. The word is transcribed in miasma.

Entangled (ἐμπλακέντες)

Only here and 2 Timothy 2:4. The same metaphor occurs in Aeschylus ("Prometheus"): "For not on a sudden or in ignorance will ye be entangled (ἐμπλεχθήσεσθε) by your folly in an impervious net of Ate (destruction)."

2 Peter 2:20 Interlinear
2 Peter 2:20 Parallel Texts

2 Peter 2:20 NIV
2 Peter 2:20 NLT
2 Peter 2:20 ESV
2 Peter 2:20 NASB
2 Peter 2:20 KJV

2 Peter 2:20 Bible Apps
2 Peter 2:20 Parallel
2 Peter 2:20 Biblia Paralela
2 Peter 2:20 Chinese Bible
2 Peter 2:20 French Bible
2 Peter 2:20 German Bible

Bible Hub

2 Peter 2:19
Top of Page
Top of Page