2 Peter 2:1-22
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you…
Archdeacon Farrar here finds "the burning lava of the apostle's indignation." The chapter is indeed in a style that well suits its theme. It is strong, not to say rough and rugged; wild, not to say weird and ghastly. It might be interesting to deal with the many metaphors he here employs, but probably an analysis of the whole chapter will better convey its teaching.
I. THE DOCTRINES OF FALSE TEACHERS. They are not definitely denoted, but one word probably indicates them all: "heresies" (verse 1) - self chosen doctrines, developing into endless varieties.
1. Self-indulgence of intellect.
2. Self-indulgence of passion. They are similar to the corresponding sins with which Paul and Jude deal in their Epistles.
II. THE CONDUCT OF FALSE TEACHERS. More is said here, much more, of their conduct than of their error. Their conduct is described:
1. In its relation to their teaching. That conduct is
(1) cunning (verse 1);
(2) treacherous (verse 3);
(3) daringly insolent (verse 11);
(4) coveteous (verses 14-16);
(5) deluding (verse 19), promising liberty: O Liberty, what crimes have been wrought in thy name!
2. In its relation to their own life. it is
(1) bitterly disappointing (verse 17);
(2) enslaved and enslaving (verse 19);
(3) degraded and yet ever degrading (verse 22).
III. THE PUNISHMENT OF FALSE TEACHERS.
1. It is sure (verse 3). Lingereth not, is not idle, slumbereth not; justice is sleepless.
2. It is in harmony with God's past dealings. The apostle cites other ages and other worlds. Their punishment is in harmony with God's dealings
(1) with angels;
(2) with the ancient world - Noah, Sodom, Gomorrah.
IV. THE CHIEF SIN OF FALSE TEACHERS. Its central evil is "denying even the Master that bought them."
1. In itself most guilty. Peter's memory burnt that lesson into him.
2. Leads to terrible woe (verses 1-21). "The man who turns his back on well-known ways of righteousness, and leads others from those ways, is of all men in the most pitiable and terrible condition. - U.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
WEB: But false prophets also arose among the people, as false teachers will also be among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction.