(Tap footnote to read it. Old Testament quotations are underlined. "Love" with a caret ("^love") is agapé.1"agapé" The Greek words ἀγάπη (agapé, noun), and ἀγαπάω (agapaó; verb) are typically translated "love". However, unlike our English word "love" – which primarily speaks of affection and feelings – agapé centers on choice and behavior. It’s the "love" based on will, choice, behavior, and action; not feelings. (Feelings-based love is the Greek word φιλέω (phileó), which properly means "brotherly love/affection".) Thus, you could hate someone passionately and still treat him with "agapé". Agapé "love" is best understood as the pursuit of what is most beneficial to someone or something, regardless of the cost to yourself or the type of response received from the person or thing. It can also indicate a preference for someone or something over other things. )
A warning about False Teachers
- But there were also false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you who secretly introduce destructive heresies or sects,1“heresies or sects” is one word in Greek, and it can mean either depending on the context. In the New Testament it most often means “sects”, as in a subdivision of a particular group, and this verse is the only place it’s usually translated “heresies”. even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves.
- And many will follow after their wanton debauchery, through whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
- And in covetousness, they will exploit you with deceitfully crafted words; men whose judgement from long ago isn’t idle, and their destruction doesn’t sleep.
- For if God didn’t spare angels who sinned, but having cast them into Tartarus.2“having cast them into Tartarus” is one word in Greek, with that exact meaning. Tartarus belongs to Greek mythology, and was originally the place where the Titans were imprisoned. This is significant because this passage relates to fallen angels, who like the Titans fought against the gods of Greek mythology and were thrown into Tartarus for their crimes. If Peter was writing this letter to a Greek audience, the allusion would’ve been unmistakable. He handed them over in chains of black darkness while keeping them for judgement;
- and if He didn’t spare the ancient world but preserved a Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others when He brought the flood on the ungodly world;
- and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction; (*establishing an example of what’s coming upon the ungodly by having reduced them to ashes)
- and if He rescued righteous Lot, who was being worn down by the wantonly debauched conduct of lawless men;
- (For while dwelling among them day by day, that righteous man’s soul was being tortured by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds.)
- then the Lord *knows how to rescue the devout from temptation, and how to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgement,
- and especially the men who walk after defiled cravings and scorn divine authority. Foolishly bold, self-gratifying; they don’t tremble when blaspheming glory,
- where even angels – being of greater strength and power – don’t bring a blasphemous judgement against them3Note: See Jude 1:9 for context before the Lord.
- But like unreasoning animals, these men – *born as creatures of instinct for capture and ruinous corruption – are blaspheming what they don’t know, and will be ruinously corrupted by their ruinous corruption,
- suffering injustice as a wage of doing injustice; considering self-indulgent extravagance in the day as pleasure; reveling in the blots and blemishes of their deceptions while feasting with you;
- having eyes full of sex with other men’s wives4“sex with other men’s wives” is one word in Greek. It literally means “an adulteress”, but can be used as an adjective as it is here. It should be noted that the Greek word (and Hebrew too) is more limited in scope than our English word adultery. In English, “adultery” means illicit sex between a married person – man or woman – and someone who isn’t their spouse. In Greek (and Hebrew also), it meant “a man having sex with another man’s wife”. A married man having sex with an unmarried woman was called fornication. and incessant sin; enticing unstable souls; having strenuously trained their heart in covetousness; cursed children.
- Having abandoned the straight way, they wander astray; having followed after the way of Balaam the son of Beor who ^loved the wages of unrighteousness.
- (But he had a rebuke for his own deliberate defiance through a mute donkey, and having spoken in a man’s voice, it restrained the prophet’s madness.)
- These men are springs without water and mists being driven by a hurricane; men for whom the black darkness has been reserved.
- For while speaking arrogant vanity, through fleshly cravings and wanton debauchery they entice the men who barely escape from the men who walk in deviant error.
- Promising them freedom while being slaves of ruinous corruption themselves. For by what someone has been overcome, by that he has been enslaved.
- For if after having escaped the pollutions of the world through full knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Anointed, but then they *are overcome, (having been entangled in these pollutions again) the last state *is worse than the first.
- For it’s better for them not to have fully known the way of righteousness than having fully known it, to have turned from the holy commandment which was delivered to them.
- It has happened to them like the true proverb: “A dog returned to its own vomit, and after washing a sow returned to her muddy wallow.”
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