2 Peter 2:1-2,14-22 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. Who are the people that are especially susceptible to being seduced by false teachers? See 2 Peter 2:14 (printed below)

With eyes full of adultery and an insatiable appetite for sin, they seduce unstable souls. Having a heart that has been trained by greed, they are accursed children. (2 Peter 2:14)

Peter informs us that the primary victims of these spiritual con men are “unstable souls.” Those people who are spiritually gullible—believing and accepting any teaching without exercising discernment, those who lack a standard to serve as a spiritual compass and anchor, those who allow themselves to be allured by spiritually novelties, they are the people who are especially vulnerable to the influence of false teachers.

2. How does Peter describe these false teachers who have infiltrated the church? See 2 Peter 2:17 (printed below)

These men are wells without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. (2 Peter 2:17)

Peter reveals the tragedy of following spiritual con men instead of following Christ. Such teachers prove to be “wells without water.” That is to say, they cannot fulfill their promises to provide spiritual fulfillment via the life of lawlessness and wantonness; they cannot lead you into a spiritual paradise, but only into a spiritual wasteland. Such teachers prove to be “mists driven by a storm;” they have no true substance. There is nothing solid or substantial about their teaching; on the contrary, they and their teaching will be swept away by the judgment of God.

3. What kind of claims were being made by these false teachers? See 2 Peter 2:18a (printed below)

Making great claims that are worthless, by the sensual passions of the flesh they seduce those who are just escaping from those who live in error. (2 Peter 2:18)

Peter asserts that these heretical teachers make “great claims that are worthless;” or, they utter “swollen (inflated) words of vanity (emptiness).” By employing an impressive vocabulary, they discourse on strange and mysterious subjects; they flaunt their alleged credentials and supposed knowledge. It all sounds very impressive, but in fact it is all nothing but empty spiritual nonsense.

4. How does Peter describe the people who are seduced by these heretical teachers (see verse 18b printed above under question #3) and what promise was made to these people (see verse 19 printed below?)

They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity; for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. (2 Peter 2:19)

The goal of these teachers is to entice and entrap those who are just escaping from the old sinful lifestyle by promising them freedom. These spiritual con men intercept people who are just coming out of the ungodly lifestyle of the world—a lifestyle that features all kinds of wantonness, including fornication, promiscuity, homosexuality, drunkenness—and they lead them right back into the moral corruption and bondage they were just leaving behind. They do so by preaching “freedom.” They no doubt maintained that the Christian is free from the penalty of the law (Christ died for our sins to satisfy the righteous demands of the divine law); but they then proceeded to misinterpret the purpose of salvation by maintaining that the Christian is now free to indulge the old nature with its sinful desires. Such teaching is a deceitful and damnable perversion of true Christian freedom (Romans 6:19-22).

5. What does Peter warn is reserved for these teachers? See 2 Peter 2:17c (printed below)

These men are wells without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. (2 Peter 2:17)

What is reserved for such men is “the black darkness.” In other words, the judgment of being cast away from the blessing of God and given over the righteous curse of God consisting in His divine rejection (cp. Matthew 7:21-23).