2 Peter

1 2 3

2 Peter 2 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on 2 Peter 2 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 But 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.

(2:1-3) "Damnable heresies"
The basic message of Christianity is "believe or be damned" and from this flows intolerance toward all non-Christians. But, as these verses show, Christian intolerance is often directed toward believers as well. Each group of Christians accuses the others of being "false teachers" of "damnable heresies" who will soon be damned to hell.
It is not the basic message of Christianity to proclaim that “believe or be damned.” The author of the SAB would not be able to point to a single Bible verse or confession. The basic message of Christianity is good news. It is not that you will be damned if you don't believe, regardless of what you believe; you are already damned, because of your sins. There is a judge over heaven and earth who will demand payment for the evil you have done. But such payment for sins is available, that is the good news.
The author of the SAB also mentions that Christian groups denounce each other. As anyone can call themselves Christian, that doesn't mean a lot. To be able to call yourself Christian would at minimum imply that you take the entire Word of God as true. The groups who do that, do seldom denounce each other, and certainly not in terms of “damnable heresies.” There is a lot more unity between Christians who have the Bible as the foundation of their belief and lifes than the author of the SAB gives credit for.

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

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

4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

"The angels that sinned"
Are the "angels that sinned" the "sons of God" that had sex with human females to produce a race of giants? (See Gen.6:4)
Is the devil free to roam?
The author of the SAB dives into the deep end with some speculation. No, angels did not have sex with humans, for starters because they don't have a body.
His next question is if the devil is free to roam. As 1 Pet. 5:8 says the devil walks this earth, seeking who he may devour. So how can this verse say that he is in hell, and into chains of darkness?
From many verses in the Bible it is clear that the devil can do no more than God allows him to do, see Luke 8:31. It is also clear that the final judgement still awaits the devils, see this verse: they are reserved to the day of judgement. Up to that time it appears, as John Gil says, that for certain reasons, and at certain times, they are suffered to come forth, and rove about in this earth, and in the air. The meaning of the chains of darkness is that evil is their intent and sin is what they seek. They do not seek good, but are chained by their lust to do harm.

5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

(2:4-5) "God ... spared not the old world, but saved Noah." Young Earth Creationists use this verse to show that the New Testament authors believed in the flood story. The Gospel -- Evidence for Creaion
And the creationists who do so are right. Everyone who calls themselves old earth creationists, rejects the Bible, and rejects the flood.

6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

"Noah ... a preacher of righteousness."
God drowned everyone on earth except for Noah [the first drunken "preacher of righteousness" (see Gen.9:20)] and his family.
Has there ever been a righteous man?
The author of the SAB cannot stop himself to smear Noah. He was not drunk when preaching, and there is only one instance in the Bible where he became drunk, but it is quite unclear he was aware of the effects of wine as before that portion in Scripture we do not read about wine or alcohol.

7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

(2:7-9) "Just Lot ... that righteous man"
Lot (who in Gen.19:8 offers his two virgin daughters to a crowd of angel rapers and later (19:30-38) impregnates them) was a "just" and "righteous man."
Has the ever been a just person?
Has there ever been a righteous person?
Was Lot a righteous man?
On the meaning of righteous person, see Matthew 1:19.
The questions the author of the SAB poses about Lot's behaviour display an utter unwillingness to understand the Ancient Near East disposition with regards to hospitality.

9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

(2:9-10) God knows how to punish those that "despise government."
We first need to consider who these people are who despise government. We find this in verse 1: false teachers. They are in the church and mislead the people. So this is not a political statement as the author of the SAB might have interpreted it. And as John Gill interprets it:

[they despite government] of parents, to whom these proud boasters and blasphemers are generally disobedient; and of masters, pretending it to be contrary to their Christian liberty; and of magistrates on the same account, and as being a restraint upon their lusts; which is to despise the ordinance of God, his representatives, and to introduce anarchy and confusion, and to open a door to all manner of sin; and also the government of Christ, as head of the church, and King of Zion, whom they will not have to reign over them, and therefore reject his laws, and submit not to his ordinances; and likewise the government of the world itself by God ...; denying his omniscience and his providence, giving out that he neither sees, observes, and takes notice of what is done in the world; nor does he himself do either good or evil, or concern himself about what is done by men.

11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the daytime. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;

14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

"The dumb ass speaking with man's voice"
The author of 2 Peter actually believes the story in Numbers (22:28-30) about the talking ass.
Indeed, Peter believed this story, because it was found in God's reliable Word.

17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

18 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.

19 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.

20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

"it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness."
Is it possible to fall from grace?
The author of the SAB reads “known the way of righteousness” as “they were righteous people.” But there is of course a difference between knowing the way, and walking in it.

22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

"The dog is turned to his own vomit."
One could only wish the bar for foul language was this low.