1/12/19 – 2 Peter 2:1-3


2 Peter 2:1But 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.


false prophetspseudoprophetes (one who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies; a false prophet)

from pseudes (lying; deceitful; false) and prophetes (prophet)


false teacherspseudodidaskalos (false teacher) Its only use in the NT.


privilypareisago (to introduce or bring in secretly or craftily; stealthily; by stealth)


damnable – or destructive; of the destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell.


heresieshairesis (the act of taking; capture, Eg storming a city; choosing; choice; a body of men following their own chosen doctrines; dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims) Can be seen as forcing their own false doctrines upon the group to which they claim to belong; literally storming their church with heresies!


Lorddespotes (a master; Lord; Master)


destruction – same word used for “damnable” in this verse.


But (that is, not only were there true prophets among the people – 2 Peter 1:19-21), but there were also false prophets among the people. The true prophets of 2 Peter 1:19-21 would have referred to Israel, God’s covenanted people, to whom the gospel had been offered first. There had been good shepherds of Israel, but there had also been false shepherds who did not feed the flock properly.

Hosea 4:6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Also note the false shepherds and the Good Shepherd of Zechariah 11. Therefore “the people” here would have applied to Israel and the Jews. And likewise, just as there were false prophets (who spoke not the truth of God) among the Jews, there are also going to be false teachers who do not speak God’s truth in the church to whom Peter is writing, clearly the Gentile Christians who have obtained like precious faith with us. (2 Peter 1:1)


And, just as the false shepherds of the OT taught their lies as the truth of God (as did the pharisees in Matthew 15:9), these false teachers would also cleverly disguise their heresies under the guise of the “real truth”. They would bring these heresies in stealthily; that is, they would not proclaim the truth concerning their teachings but would hide their real objectives, using deception to disguise their real agenda: to destroy God’s people through lack of knowledge. To this end they will try to look like they are teaching truth while actually teaching lies. They may use the same terminology yet mean something different. They may take biblical truth out of context such that it appears to be correct, as long as the people do not keep in mind (keep remembering) what they have been taught (as Peter said in Ch.1:8-12), and as long as the people do not test all things for themselves. They may use vague statements that cannot be easily opposed. They may target particular people who might be more susceptible to false teaching. But one thing is certain: they will strive to be acceptable, trusted by the people they are trying to destroy!


They would bring in damnable heresies which, instead of edifying or building up the church, would lead to people to damnation (in hell). The people, while thinking that they were getting truthful teaching, would nevertheless be heading surely toward destruction. These false teachers would work hard at trying to appear as one of God’s people, while in fact they were the enemy.

2 Corinthians 11:13-1513For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.


These false teachers may be described as tares (children of the wicked one) among the wheat (children of God), as per the parable in Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43. A good tare will look like a good Christian, act and speak like a good Christian, yet is acting against the good of the Christian. A good tare may only be identified by his fruit.


These false teachers are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. (2 Peter 2:17-19)


These false teachers have, along with all mankind, been atoned for at the cross of Christ. They have been bought. Their sins have been paid for, but they refuse to accept the gift of salvation that has been offered to all (including them). They have rejected their allocated salvation (see 1 Peter 1:1) They come into the church but in spite of appearing to seek (or accept) God and His salvation, they secretly do all they can to destroy the true gospel of salvation. They appear to teach the biblical gospel that saves to the uttermost, yet what they really teach are sophisticated myths, cunningly devised to deceive (2 Peter 1:16). Peter says similar again in Vs 3 below: “feigned words” or carefully sculpted statements, words that are very carefully chosen, in order to deceive. Such people can appear to be telling the truth while actually telling blatant lies.


They know all the right things to say, but never actually use them correctly, and many others, being deceived, will become followers of their false teachings (see Vs 2 below). These false teachers act as if they have accepted the salvation of Christ, yet secretly they deny all that it stands for. Thus, while appearing to be teachers of the true gospel, they are really denying the gospel of salvation of Christ. They are tares, not wheat! This verse states as fact that they have been bought back from satan by Christ’s blood; and all along they act as if this is true, yet they actually secretly deny (by their “damnable heresies”) the authority of the one who purchased them. But, they are still sinners for whom Christ died; denying His authority cannot deny His purchase.

1 Peter 1:18-1918Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:


and bring upon themselves swift destruction – The judgment of God will be swift and certain; this doesn’t necessarily refer to how soon such judgment will come, but that it will be swift when it comes. These false teachers are destroying people within the church and God will not hold back punishment when it comes (see Vs 3 below).


This is an important passage when it comes to determining the meaning of 2 Peter 2. All kinds of doctrinal standpoints interpret this according to their requirements. Different people interpret this verse in different ways, including (a) the false teachers were Christians who have thrown away their salvation for the joys of the world, and seek others to join them, (b) the false teachers are not and never have been Christians, (c) the false teachers seek to drag Christians back into the world from which they escaped (see Ch.2:18), or (d) those enticed by the false teachers are those who attend church but have never been saved, and so on.


For example, calvinists are unable to accept that false teachers can be purchased by the sacrifice on the cross, for if they were purchased, then calvinists would have to include false teachers among the elect of God. And they would have to either accept that these elect false teachers were guaranteed a place in heaven, or else that regenerated elect could also become “un-regenerated” non-elect; yet both options here are unacceptable to calvinist doctrine. Therefore, calvinists are backed into a corner with this verse. They are forced by their doctrines to demonstrate that these false teachers are not and never were bought by Christ and therefore cannot be among the elect (and also that those enticed by these false teachers cannot ever have been bought by Christ so therefore are likewise among the calvinist non-elect). (It makes you wonder why non-elect teachers would seek to destroy the non-elect in the church, doesn’t it! Especially if, according to calvinist doctrine, neither group can ever be elect! This is the height of illogical absurdity!) Thus being bought by Christ in 2 Peter 2:1 can never be permitted by calvinism to mean that their sins were actually paid for on the cross. Calvinists therefore are forced to limit their options for interpretation to acceptable options that teach that “purchased” cannot mean “literally purchased” but just that they claim that they were purchased. This verse is a clear example of how calvinists limit interpretation options according to their calvinist doctrines. They are forced to re-word the verse to support their limited options!


MacArthur even admits to this limitation. In the following, he admits that it is possible to view this as a “universal provision for the redemption of sinners, even though they refuse it and are damned.” That is, he admits that this verse could be interpreted as a full atonement for the whole world without exception and that the elect are limited by their free will option to accept or refuse. (This is the biblically consistent interpretation, after all.) But this interpretation supports an election conditional upon the foreknowledge of God, and calvinism refuses to accept that God may use His foreknowledge to determine His election. So, because this option is not acceptable to calvinism, MacArthur is forced to teach something which isn’t really clear at all: that “purchased” cannot mean “literally purchased”. In this way, calvinism actually limits options for interpretation, and in doing so, denies its followers the right to think for themselves, and thus denies the scriptural command to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21). That is, you may only test all things as long as it is kept in agreement with the doctrines of calvinism. You may never choose an interpretation that Calvin has denied your use of.


MacArthur says: These false teachers can be recognized because they characteristically say no to whom?  To the Master who bought them. ……..

….. Some people have wondered why he added "who bought them." It's because a master, a despotēs, of a house bought the slaves and the slaves owed him allegiance as their sovereign.  They bore his name, they were associated with his estate, but they refused to submit to his authority.  That's the analogy.  This describes those who claim to believe in Christ.  They affirm the atonement; they affirm that He bought them with His death.  They affirm that they belong to Him.  The word "bought" is agorazō, simply means to buy, to purchase.

There are two ways to understand this, apart from the analogy.  The analogy simply says "unthinkably, unimaginably, having been bought by a master they refuse to submit to his authority."  In the spiritual dimension you would ask the question: In what sense did Christ buy these false teachers?  Two ways to view it.  First of all, you can view it as universal provision for the redemption of sinners, even though they refuse it and are damned. 

But I think there is a second sense in which we have to understand this, that they have made an earthly identification with Christ's redemption so that they claim Him as the one who bought them and they claim Him as their Redeemer, testifying that He indeed has bought them and their word then is taken at face value.  No matter what they say, though they say they are Christ's, they refuse to say yes to His sovereign lordship and thus they are false teachers. (A Portrait of False Teachers)


Even though MacArthur clearly admits that these false teachers could have actually been bought by Christ on the cross, he dismisses this by saying: But I think there is a second sense in which we have to understand this … He gives no defence at all for his dismissal of his first option (of a universal redemption) anywhere in this document, other than to emphasise that (he thinks) the false teachers are merely only affirming that they have been bought, not that they have been actually bought. But there is absolutely nothing in the verse or context that can demonstrate MacArthur’s teachings here other than an opinion (he thinks) that this is what it has to mean according to calvinist “truth”! It is an example of how calvinist lies can pollute the truth of the Bible.


However, in this verse it is not the false teachers who are “affirming” their “bought” status. It is God! We have to get away from MacArthur’s efforts to mislead by suggestion and see that the words “the Lord that bought them” is the statement of the Holy Spirit through Peter’s writings (see the previous verse 2 Peter 1:21). If God should say that they were even denying “the Lord that bought them” (and this is clearly the case here in His word), then MacArthur really has to show how it is possible that God Himself might be deceived by a mere claim to have been bought without actually having been bought. These false teachers are denying the authority of the Lord Himself, not that He bought them! If God says it, believe it!


In that same document, MacArthur says: When you are identifying a false teacher sometimes you can't tell by their theology, you have to look past that to their morality.  And you are not asking what they affirm, for they may affirm that Christ has bought them. But that assumes that the Holy Spirit “can't tell by their theology” what they really are!  And that has to point to a huge deficiency in MacArthur’s explanation here: his apparent assumption that the Holy Spirit may be deceived concerning the bought status of these false teachers. However, if God’s word says that the Lord bought them, then to interpret otherwise is to call God a liar, or less than omniscient! The Holy Spirit says that they were even denying “the Lord that bought them” and I am certain the Holy Spirit is quite able to tell by their theology just what they are! God’s word says that it was the Lord who bought them. Are we to understand that God is merely permitting these false teachers to claim that they had been bought by Christ? Then why doesn’t God’s word say so?


Another point here is that MacArthur has used the analogy of a slave being bought by his master. The slave, after being bought by his master, then refuses to serve him. The analogy does not question in any way whether or not the slave was actually bought by his master; it can only demonstrate that the slave would not acknowledge the authority of the master who actually bought him. Once again, this can only demonstrate that the false teachers were certainly bought by the Lord. Denying authority cannot demonstrate that the slave wasn’t bought!


2 Peter 2:2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.


manypolus (many; much; large) Sometimes written as pollos. This word can mean the total number, all, as in Calvin’s Commentary on Matthew 20:28: The word many (pollon) is not put definitely for a fixed number, but for a large number; for he contrasts himself with all others. [667] And in this sense it is used in Romans 5:15, where Paul does not speak of any part of men, but embraces the whole human race.

Also note Calvin’s teaching on Matthew 26:28: Which is shed for many. By the word many he means not a part of the world only, but the whole human race; for he contrasts many with one; as if he had said, that he will not be the Redeemer of one man only, but will die in order to deliver many from the condemnation of the curse. It must at the same time be observed, however, that by the words for you, as related by Luke -- Christ directly addresses the disciples, and exhorts every believer to apply to his own advantage the shedding of blood Therefore, when we approach to the holy table, let us not only remember in general that the world has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, but let every one consider for himself that his own sins have been expiated. ["Que la purgation de ses pechez a est? faite;" -- "that satisfaction has been made for his own sins."]

Pulpit commentary on Matthew 26:28: Even Calvin says, "Non partem mundi tantum designat, sed totum humanum genus." (“not a part of the world only, but the whole human race”)

However, in this passage today “many” clearly (by the context) refers to a large number but not necessarily all!


followexakoloutheo (tread in one’s steps; imitate one’s ways of acting; follow one’s authority; comply with; yield to) Used only 3 times in the NT, all in 2 Peter (1:16; 2:2; 2:15) It does seem to indicate that 2 Peter relates strongly to the act of following, imitating or yielding to certain false beliefs.


pernicious ways – same word used for “damnable” and “destruction” in Vs 1 above, and again in Vs 3 below it is translated “damnation”. In 2 Peter 3:7 it is translated “perdition” and again “destruction” in 2 Peter 3:16. Peter uses it 5 times in 2 Peter out of 20 in NT altogether. Therefore it is also a key word in this book.

It is used in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 – “the son of perdition”.


shall be evil spoken ofblasphemeo (blaspheme; speak evil of; revile) Also used in 2 Peter 2:10 & 2:12speak evil of”.

In Vs 2 here, literally “shall be blasphemed”. Thus, the truth shall be blasphemed.


And many (here it doesn’t necessarily mean “all”) will follow (imitate, yield to) their destruction; such following of false teachings will effectively blaspheme the truth of God’s word.


2 Peter 2:3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not (will not be delayed), and their damnation slumbereth not.


covetousness – a greedy desire to have more.


feignedplastos (moulded; formed, as from clay, wax or stone; feigned) Carefully sculpted statements, words that are very carefully chosen, in order to deceive. Their words are craftily or cunningly formed in order to deceive for the purposes of gaining more than they already have (through a greedy desire to have more). Note the “cunningly devised fables” (or sophisticated myths) of 2 Peter 1:16.

Its only use in the NT is here.


make merchandiseemporeuomai (buy and sell; go trading; to traffic or trade; import for sale; to deal in; to use a person or thing for gain)

Thus, for the sake of their greedy desires to have more, they carefully shape their teachings in order to deceive you, making you no more than mere merchandise to be traded for their benefit. Sounds like car salesmen, real estate people, or,…calvinists! Remember we are talking about false teachers, and calvinists are false teachers, plus they do use considerable sophisticated deception and carefully-formed statements (verbal gymnastics) in order to deceive with their fables (myths, lies).


judgmentskrima (a decree; judgment; condemnation of wrong; the sentence of a judge; the punishment given by a judge; the sentence; a matter to be judicially decided; lawsuit; a case in court) Probably a root word for “crime” although most etymologies say that “crime” derives from Latin “crimin” (charge or crime).


lingereth not – is not delayed; will not be delayed


their damnation slumbereth not – their destruction (in hell) has not been neglected, will not be neglected; it has not been placed on the back-burner for lack of interest. It might seem like nothing is being done about these false teachers, but, says God, they will be dealt with, without delay, and swiftly, too, according to Vs 1 above.


It is clear that while calvinists are not necessarily unsaved (many may be totally-deceived yet genuine Christians), those who teach the heresies of calvinism might not be saved, especially those who are aware in some way that what they teach is not entirely defendable from the Bible alone. Some, however, may be so deluded that they actually believe that the Bible teaches calvinism, and tell others so. However, such people usually teach it in a very open way, not trying to say merely that which they consider to be acceptable. The fact is that these people are so naïve that they don’t seem to realise the contradictions and inconsistencies with what they say. (Although if they declare the free will gospel to be a heresy, then they have put their beliefs on the line. If free will is biblical truth, then to teach free will to be a doctrine of devils is to teach heresy, which would make them heretics.) To a Bible-believing Christian, though, they are likely to come across as fools.


But the moment a calvinist starts teaching by deliberately using techniques designed to mislead in any way, he is sending a clear message: that he is trying to avoid those parts that he knows are not defendable (especially when talking to those who may know their Bibles well). These techniques include verbal gymnastics, not telling the whole truth, using isolated verses to teach something that is not consistent with the rest of the Bible, using words that could mean differently to biblical meanings, not admitting that he is calvinist when he is, presenting a truth and then adding a lie to that truth, making an extreme effort to defend a belief without it being under attack it in the first place, using verbal garbage to cover-up or confuse the topic, using ambiguous statements that can be interpreted two or more ways, dismissing obvious biblical doctrines with little or no biblical support presented, accusing others of insufficient understanding of calvinism, not listening to the biblical defence of one’s beliefs, changing the topic to something that they can defend better, in fact, anything that looks like it’s trying to mislead in any way. Such are false teachers, and, according to today’s passage, they will face swift judgment without delay, and they will be condemned to hell for their efforts!


Very few calvinists are concerned for your soul. Their main desire is to win the debate, because they see themselves as always right, so therefore, if you disagree, you are always wrong. Truth takes second place to victory in their scheme of things. The way to answer them, then, is to be biblical, defend the faith, not just win the debate. Whether or not you win the debate is not important. What is important is that you present the biblically-correct doctrine. If they reject it, then it is their problem, not yours. You do not have to win the debate, but you must be biblical. Calvinists are rarely biblical, for they want to win, not lose, even if it costs in terms of the truth. And they pay a heavy price with the truth because of their overwhelming necessity to never lose at any cost. When they must choose between the truth and winning, they will choose winning every time. It’s all about control, and those who control always win. If they lose the debate, they lose control of you. It’s control, not truth, that matters to the calvinist. But to the Christian, it’s only the truth that can set people free, not control.

John 8:32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.


To the 2 Peter page


To the New Testament page


To the Old Testament page


To Messages and Teachings page


To Sermons & Messages page


To Calvinist Heresies page


To Posts / Blog / News page


List of all my posts on this site


Hoppers Crossing Christian Church homepage