2 Peter 2:17-22: Five More Characteristics of False Teaching

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2 Peter 2:17-22: Five More Characteristics of False Teaching

November 5, 2023


Ezekiel 16Job 5John 8:21-302 Peter 2:17-22

2 Peter 2:17-22:

Peter is writing his second letter to warn Christians about the dangers of false teaching. Here in this section he gives us five more characteristics of these false teachings. 

First, they promise but do not deliver, verse 17. They are “springs without water.” They seem to offer so much – like a sparkling spring – but actually they deliver nothing – there is no water. They have no spiritual benefit or refreshment, in fact, though they promise so much. 

Second, what follows from them is disturbance, verse 17. They are “mists driven by a storm.” In their wake come along disturbance and difficulty and trauma, like a storm.  

Third, their destiny is destruction, verse 17. “Blackest darkness is reserved for them.” This is no game. This matters – and the destiny of false teachers is hell.  

Fourth, their tactic is to appeal to basic human passions, verses 18-19. They appeal to the “lustful desires of the flesh.” The reason why people follow false teachers is because they claim to allow them to practice sensual lust without condemnation or compromise. They promise them so-called “freedom” but in fact only bind others over to the same slavery that they themselves experience, being “slaves of depravity.”  

Fifth, their situation is far worse now they have claimed to have known Jesus, verses 20-22. They have made some sort of profession of faith; they appear to know “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” but soon they become entangled again in the corruption of the world. To have tasted true spiritual things but in the end to turn your back on them is worse than never having been exposed to the gospel at all. They are like a dog returning to its vomit.  


Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.


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