2 Peter 2:1-16 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. Of what does Peter warn the church in 2 Peter 2:1a (printed below?)

But there also were false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will subtly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them—bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)

The apostle Peter reminds us that false prophets arose among the Old Testament people of Israel (note, for example, Jeremiah 23:25-32). Peter warns that just as there arose false prophets in Old Testament Israel, so, too, “there shall be false teachers among you” (the New Testament era church)—cp. the apostle Paul’s warning recorded in Acts 20:29-31a.

2. How does Peter describe the false teachers that infiltrated the Christian church? See 2 Peter 2:1b (printed above under question #1)

Peter describes these teachers as bringing into the church “destructive heresies.” We must understand the fact that doctrine is important: doctrine supplies a basis for our conduct and dictates what conduct is acceptable and pleasing to God. True biblical doctrine roots you into Christ and lays the foundation for a godly Christian life; contrariwise, false doctrine separates you from Christ and leads to ultimate and eternal ruin.

3. According to Peter, what will be one result of these false teachers coming into the church? See 2 Peter 2:2 (printed below)

Many will follow their licentious conduct, because of whom the way of truth will be maligned. (2 Peter 2:2)

Peter indicates that “many will follow the licentious conduct” of these false teachers, thereby causing the Way of Truth to be maligned. When the life of godliness is forsaken by those who claim to belong to the Lord and to know Him as their God, their sinful lifestyle causes the Lord’s name to be blasphemed. Note, for example, Romans 2:23-24, a passage in which the apostle Paul rebukes the Jews for the inconsistency of their lives and points out the consequence of such a life.

4. What does Peter warn will happen to such teachers? See 2 Peter 2:1c (printed above under question #1)

Peter warns that such teachers bring upon themselves—and their followers—”swift destruction.” This will prove to be the case because they are corrupting and perverting the truth of God. These heretical teachers were turning the gospel of grace into a license to sin—Peter describes them as being followers (disciples) of “the flesh with its corrupting passion,” rather than being followers (disciples) of Christ.

5. What evidence does Peter submit to show that God will, indeed, take righteous vengeance against these teachers? See 2 Peter 2:4-6 (printed below)

If God did not spare angels when they sinned, but consigned them to hell, putting them in dark pits where they are being kept for the day of judgment; (5) and if God did not spare the ancient world (although he did protect Noah, a preacher of righteousness, along with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly); (6) and if God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by reducing them to ashes, making them an example of what is going to happen to those who live ungodly lives (2 Peter 2:4-6)

Peter warns that God will take vengeance against wrongdoing, as He repeatedly demonstrated in the past. God did not spare the angels when they sinned (verse 4;) this is apparently a reference to the angels who joined Satan in his rebellion against the Lord. God did not spare the ancient world when it had become utterly corrupt in His sight; He visited it with the devastating flood in the days of Noah (verse 5). God did not spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when their iniquity reached the depths of degradation (verse 6).