FOR SPEAKING OUT ARROGANT
(swollen, excessive sized) WORDS OF VANITY: huperogka gar mataiotetos phtheggomenoi (PMPMPN): (Ps
52:1-3; 73:8,9; Da 4:30; 11:36; Acts 8:9; 2Th 2:4; Jude 1:15,16; Rev
13:5,6 Rev 13:11)
to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all
their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all
the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
These men continually
are "uttering loud boasts of folly" (RSV), using "big,
empty words" (NEB), which amount to "high-sounding
nonsense" (Phillips) and "are in their character futile"
As in the propagation of all heresy, human speech is the weapon that
false teachers aim at their targets. These teachers are
eloquent promoters of their doctrines. They know how to impress
people with their vocabulary using “inflated words that say nothing”
Do not be impressed with religious
oratory. Paul the greatest theologian (other than Jesus) preached
to express and not to impress. He knew the difference between
communication and manipulation.
Speaking out (5350)
(phtheggomai) sound a tone, speak with focus upon verbal sound
rather than upon content. The
indicates this is the continual practice - they live to speak this way.
This should allow us to detect them in our midst!
Hiebert says "it was used chiefly of loud talk. These false teachers substituted
"fervid enthusiasm for moral sanity." (ref)
Peter used in above to describe Balaam's donkey speaking in the
voice of a man (one has to wonder whether Peter intended any parallel?
The dumb donkey speaking truth, the false teachers speaking lies &
error!) (2Pe 2:16-note).
is "especially used of a
portentous prophetic utterance."
(5246)(huperogkos from hupo = above + ogkos
= swelling) literally refers to that which has great swelling or is
conveys the idea of something larger than it has any right to be.
"They impress people with their vocabularies and oratory, but what they
say is just so much hot air.” (Wiersbe)
So Peter is describing boastful, pompous, haughty, tumid, grand,
inflated, bombastic words
the goal of such pretentious
palaver (misleading, beguiling speech) meant to impress and entice. High
sounding words make a great cover for false teaching. The
means unnaturally swollen and when applied to the pontification of these
deceivers it describes big, ponderous words, this ostentatious verbosity
being their "weapon" to ensnare the unwary and licentiousness the bait
on their hook. Jude has a similar description...
These are grumblers,
finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak
arrogantly (huperogkos), flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.
John Calvin has an interesting
description of these false teachers (you
may have to read it slowly because of his old English but it's worth
He means that they dazzled the eyes
of the simple by high-flown stuff of words, that they might not perceive
their deceit...He then says that they used an inflated kind of words and
speech, that they might fill the unwary with admiration. And then this
grandiloquence, which the ample lungs of the soul send forth, was very
suitable to cover their shifts and trumperies (from a French word
meaning to cheat then to deceive and thus meaning useless or worthless).
There was formerly a craft of this kind in Valentinus, and in those like
him, as we learn from the books of
Irenaeus. They made words unheard of
before, by the empty sound of which, the unlearned being smitten, they
were ensnared by their reveries...they talk most confidently of the
Spirit and of spiritual things, as though they roared out from above the
clouds, and fascinate many by their tricks and wiles...The state of the
case is this, that when the difference between good and evil is removed,
everything becomes lawful; and men, loosed from all subjection to laws,
obey their own lusts...they make anything they please lawful; for as the
lusts of men are headstrong and craving, as soon as liberty is offered,
they lay hold on it with great avidity; but soon afterwards the
strangling hook within is perceived...Let us be reminded of what we
ought especially to beware of, after having been once enlightened, that
is, lest Satan entice us under the pretense of liberty, so as to give
ourselves up to lasciviousness to gratify the lusts of the flesh. But
they are safe from this danger who seriously attend to the study of
MacDonald - This is an accurate description of
the words of many liberal preachers and false cultists. They are
accomplished orators, holding audiences spellbound by their grandiose
rhetoric. Their erudite vocabulary attracts undiscerning people. What
their sermons lack in content, they make up for in a dogmatic, forceful
presentation. But when they have finished they have said nothing. As an
example of this sort of sterile sermon, here is a quotation from a
well-known theologian of our day: It is not a relationship of either
parity or disparity, but of similarity. This is what we think and this
is what we express as the true knowledge of God, although in faith we
still know and remember that everything that we know as “similarity” is
not identical with the similarity meant here. Yet we also know and
remember, and again in faith, that the similarity meant here is pleased
to reflect itself in what we know as similarity and call by this name,
so that in our thinking and speaking similarity becomes similar to the
similarity posited in the true revelation of God (to which it is, in
itself, not similar) and we do not think and speak falsely but rightly
when we describe the relationship as one of similarity."
empty <> derived from maten = to no purpose or in vain)
means that which is unprofitable, worthless and devoid of truth and
which therefore lack the ability to produce any spiritual benefit.
Thayer says mataiotes is a "purely
Biblical and ecclesiastical word" which describes "what is devoid of
truth and appropriateness". It defines the inability to reach a goal or
achieve a purpose.
Mataiotes describes the state of
being without use or value, emptiness, futility, purposelessness,
transitoriness. It has the quality of being empty, fruitless,
nonproductive, useless. Mataiotes speaks of want of attainment
with the idea of aimlessness or of leading to no object or end.
It wasn't that their words lacked
any content at all, but just that they lacked truth and so were
fruitless, ineffective, ineffectual and unproductive. Their words as
grandiloquent and bombastic as they sounded, were analogous to the
"springs without water" -- they produced nothing of eternal value or
spiritual significance. Don't be deceived - these false teachers are
masters of deceit and have the uncanny ability to clothe futile,
meaningless thought with pseudo-intellectual and speciously spiritual
verbiage. Such high-sounding words by which they sought to impress and
deceive people were actually worthless, being no different from the
sound a donkey makes!
Wuest adds that
mataiotes is "used especially of moral insincerity.
The verbose speech of these false teachers was futile in that it did not
fulfill that for which speech was intended, to convey accurate and true
information. All it did was to allure like bait the hearers so that they
would become followers of the false teachers."
teachers deceive the weak with high sounding words that masquerade as
scholarship or profound spiritual insight, and even as direct revelation
from God. They may contradict the plain historic teachings of Scripture
which in some cases they are not able to explain properly because of
their lack of adequate training and divine wisdom (cf 1Cor 2:14). In
reality, they say nothing genuinely scholarly, or spiritual, or divine.
This over swollen profitless words don't result in
but to the contrary result in bondage for their listeners,
because in their deception, they bait people to live sensually in the
name of God instead of living wholly, Holy lives set apart from the
world and unto the pleasure and glory of God. The World lives sensually
and is enslaved to the lusts of the flesh & the eyes. True believers
have been freed from enslavement to that evil monster called "lust" (2Pe
& should live as children of light, in the freedom that Christ Alone
provides (Gal 5:1)
(continually) ENTICE BY FLESHLY DESIRES BY SENSUALITY: deleazousin
(3PPAI) en epithumiais sarkos aselgeiais:
Now Peter unveils the pernicious
activity of these false teachers.
Entice (1185)(deleazo from delear = to bait, entrap) means to trap by using
bait, and so to ensnare, lure or beguile. These men are like fishermen
baiting the hook. Remember that the "enticement" always
has a bait. The
indicates that they live to entice others and draw them into their
And so these false teachers Peter
describes would dangle the "baited lure" in
front of their unsteady victims causing them to look away from the Lord
Jesus and His Word. By their sensual propaganda, they ensnare (2Pe 2:14-note)
and it may be that they take for their targets new converts to
Christianity from paganism. Seduction, rather than the winsomeness of
truth, is their ploy. They offer people a kind of religion that they can
embrace and still hold on to their fleshly desires and sensuality.
Death to self and pursuit of holiness are certainly not their major
teachings! (e.g. Mk 8:34, et al, 2Cor 7:1-note
Beware of any teacher who mixes culture and Christianity without drawing
clear lines regarding moral and ethical behavior! Anyone who omits
teaching self-denial (Torrey's Topic
and loyalty to God (Mk 12:30-31)
as more important than personal pleasure may be appealing to the sinful
Judge teachers by checking their substance and observing their
moral behavior. A salvation that is future only, that allows people to
indulge every sinful desire and passion here on earth without
punishment, can be enticing.
from epí = indicating motion upon
or towards or intensifying the meaning of + thumós =
passion).(8/38 NT uses by Peter - see
means a strong desire or passion directed toward an object and so refers
to lusting or craving, even a kind of out-of-control craving. Desires can be for something good but in the present context are
for that which is forbidden and sinful and describes depraved cravings &
inner vile unrestrained longings emanating from our fallen nature, here
referred to as our "fleshly" nature, which are
self-centered and opposed to the will of God.
are those impelling urges
screaming for self gratification and which destroy the inner man by
corrupting, and thus brings into a worse state.
(sarx) can refer to the human body of flesh and blood but
clearly that is not the meaning in the present context.
John Piper has an excellent
"working definition" on the flesh as "the old ego that is self-reliant and
does not delight to yield to any authority or depend on any mercy. It
craves the sensation of self-generated power and loves the praise of
men...in its conservative form it produces legalism -- keeping rules by
its own power for its own glory...we see that the flesh also (in
its more liberal form) produces grossly immoral attitudes and acts
(as defined in Gal 5:19-21 -see notes
5:21)...The flesh is the proud and unsubmissive root of depravity in every
human heart which exalts itself subtly through proud, self-reliant
morality, or flaunts itself blatantly through self-assertive,
authority-despising immorality." (Read the full sermon
Walk by the Spirit)
That's the "animal" that these
false teachers are appealing to via the bait of sensuality.
However don't think of “the lusts of the flesh” only in terms of sexual
sins, for the flesh has other appetites. Read the list given in
Gal 5:19-21 and you will see the many
different kinds of “bait” the apostates have available for baiting their
from aselges =
licentious <> a = negates next word + selges = continent)
originally referred to any excess or lack of restraint and came to be
associated primarily with unbridled desire and sexual excess. The lurid
picture conveyed by this word is that of uninhibited sexual indulgence
without shame and without concern for what others think or how they are
affected (or infected). Thayer’s note on this word as it is used in this
passage is as follows: ”wanton. acts or manners, as filthy words,
indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females.”
Aselgeia is a
plural noun denoting various kinds of sexual excesses. This suggests
that the heretical teachers clearly were implying that once the soul is
saved, what is done in the body is of no importance. These men proclaim
a message that appeals to one's eyes and ears.
adds an apt description of these men and their methods
By application and industry men
attain a skillfulness and dexterity in promoting error. They are as
artful and as successful as the fisher, who makes angling his daily
employment. The business of these men is to draw disciples after them,
and in their methods and management there are some things worth
observing, how they suit their bait to those they desire to catch.
Erroneous teachers have a peculiar advantage to win men over to them,
because they have sensual pleasure to take them with; whereas the
ministers of Christ put men upon self-denial, and the mortifying of
those lusts that others gratify and please: (Col 3:5-note)
wonder not therefore that truth prevails no more, or that errors spread
BARELY ESCAPE FROM THE ONES WHO LIVE IN ERROR: tous oligos apopheugontas
(PAPMPA) tous en plane anastrephomenous (PPPMPA): (2Pe 2:14)
The pompous propaganda and sensual license promoted by the false
teachers appeals to people who are just learning the gospel and weighing
its claim on their lives.
Barely (3641) (oligos) very recently, in a small
degree, slightly, a little.
Escaped (668) (apopheugo
from apo = separation, departure + pheugo =
run away, seek safety by flight) means to escape completely or flee away
from. The present tense pictures this escape as a process and in the
participle form is better translated "barely escaping". Most
commentaries do not interpret these individuals as truly saved and fact
that they are constantly (see present tense below) living in error as
their lifestyle strongly supports this interpretation.
Live (390) (anastrepho from aná = again, back +
strépho = turn) in the passive voice (as here) conveys a
reflexive sense of turning back and forth in a place and so meaning to
live or stay somewhere. Figuratively anastrepho refers to
one's moral conduct or behavior. The present tense
signifies they are continually conducting their life in the sphere of "error".
(plane) means straying from the path of truth or wandering out of the right way
and thus living in error, delusion, deceit, deception to which one is
subject. Plane is used only 10x in the NT but each use is
instructive and I would suggest studying these uses in context by
clicking on the links (Mt 27:64; Ro 1:27; Eph 4:14; 1Th 2:3; 2Th 2:11;
Jas 5:20; 2Pet 2:18; 3:17; 1Jn 4:6; Jude 1:11).
Josephus uses plane in the
following exhortation --
It is also a duty to show the roads to those who do not know them, and
not to esteem it a matter for sport, when we hinder others’ advantages,
by setting them in a wrong
(plane = error).
These false teachers had a duty to show
the "right roads to those who do not know them" but instead were
"setting them in a
Peter ends his letter warning the
genuine believers to
be on (their) guard so that (they) are not carried away by the ERROR of
unprincipled men and fall from (their) own steadfastness. (2Pe 3:17-note)
The picture here is of people who
have been given some information about God and His salvation and are
interested in learning more, but they have not yet accepted Christ as
Savior. They have been associating with a crowd of people who,
literally, order their whole lives around error--that is, willingly
reject God and want nothing to do with living under His domain.
Wiersbe - the apostate minister will try to
avoid “putting people on a guilt trip.” He will tell his listeners how
good they are, how much God loves them and needs them and how easy it is
to get into the family of God. In fact, he may tell them they are
already in God’s family and just need to start living like it! The
apostate avoids talking about repentance, because egotistical men do not
want to repent.
What is the antidote for the
poison of these sinister deceivers?
Matthew Henry has some good advice - Be therefore always upon your guard,
maintain a godly jealousy of yourselves, search the scriptures, pray for
the Spirit to instruct and establish you in the truth, walk humbly with
God, and watch against every thing that may provoke him to give you up
to a reprobate mind, that you may not be taken with the fair and
specious pretences of these false teachers, who promise liberty to all
who will hearken to them, not true Christian liberty for the service of
God, but a licentiousness in sin, to follow the devices and desires of
their own hearts