2:1 false teachers. Even during the time that God’s holy prophets were transmitting the Old Testament Scriptures, Satan had sent false prophets among the people, to deceive and confuse them (e.g., Deuteronomy 18:20-22; 13:1-5). The same proved true in New Testament times, as false prophets arose to counteract the teachings of those with God’s true gift of prophecy (e.g., Matthew 7:15; Acts 13:6; II Corinthians 11:13). As the New Testament neared completion, this true gift of prophecy began to vanish away (I Corinthians 13:8), being superseded by the permanent gift of teaching God’s revealed Word (Romans 12:6-7; I Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). But Satan continues to send false teachers (II Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:10,11) and even occasional false teachers who claim to be prophets (e.g., I John 4:1; Revelation 2:20; Mark 13:22). Peter here describes many of their teachings and attitudes, warning against them. This warning is very appropriate today, for false teaching in the name of Jesus is rampant today as never before, ranging from subtle heresies to flagrant denial of His divine/human nature.
2:1 damnable. The Greek word for “damnable” is apoleia. It is translated also as “destruction” (II Peter 2:1); “pernicious ways” (II Peter 2:2); “damnation” (II Peter 2:3); “perdition” (II Peter 3:7) and “destruction” (II Peter 3:16). Its basic meaning is “ruin.”
2:1 bought them. The Lord’s redemption price (I Corinthians 6:20), which He paid in His own blood, was sufficient to purchase salvation for all who are lost, even those who deny Him and His redemption. If they choose to remain enslaved to sin and Satan, however, He will allow them to bring upon themselves the ruin they deserve.
2:2 pernicious ways. Especially in the last days, many will follow such false teachers (see also II Timothy 4:3). Today false cults, liberal churches, occult movements, and false doctrines of every sort are proliferating rapidly all over the world, all speaking in the name of “Jesus” or “the Christ” (but never of “our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”).
2:2 evil spoken of. Literally, this means, “blaspheming the way of truth.” In this chapter, as well as other Scriptures, such false teachers are fully described. Some of their characteristics are as follows. They: (1) deny the doctrine of redemption by the blood of Christ (II Peter 2:1); (2) deny the lordship of Christ (II Peter 2:10—in this verse “government” is the same word as “lordship;” this denial is also evident in II Peter 2:1); (3) twist the Scriptures to their own beliefs (II Peter 1:19-21; 3:16); (4) bring in their false teachings subtly (II Peter 2:1—note “privily;” and II Peter 2:3—note “feigned” words, or literally “plastic” words); (5) speak evil or sarcastically of true Biblical doctrine (II Peter 2:2,12); (6) ridicule divinely approved “dignities”—that is “glories” (Greek doxa), possibly God’s holy angels and other representatives of His power (II Peter 2:10-11); (7) covet money and prestige (II Peter 2:3,14-15); (8) are eloquent crowd-pleasers (II Peter 2:18); (9) are deceitful (II Peter 2:13); (10) are lustful and seductive, promoting carnality (II Peter 2:10,14); (11) are thoroughgoing evolutionary uniformitarians (II Peter 3:4); and (12) deny Christ’s bodily second coming (II Peter 3:3-4).