Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, , at sacred-texts.com
2 Peter 2:1
Introducing a contrast with those who spake by the Holy Ghost (Pe2 1:21).
There were (ἐγένοντο)
Rev., better, there arose.
There shall be
Note that Peter speaks of them as future, and Jude (Jde 1:4) as present.
False teachers (ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι)
Only here in New Testament.
Of that kind or class which, etc.
Privily shall bring in (παρεισάξουσιν)
Only here in New Testament. The kindred adjective occurs Gal 2:4, "false brethren privily brought in" (παρεισάκτους). The metaphor is of spies or traitors introducing themselves into an enemy's camp. Compare Jde 1:4, crept in unawares. The verb means, literally, to bring (ἄγειν) into (εἰς) by the side of (παρά).
Damnable heresies (αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας)
Lit., heresies of destruction. Rev., destructive heresies. Heresy is a transcript of αἵρεσις, the primary meaning of which is choice; so that a heresy is, strictly, the choice of an opinion contrary to that usually received; thence transferred to the body of those who profess such opinions, and therefore a sect. So Rev., in margin, sects of perdition. Commonly in this sense in the New Testament (Act 5:17; Act 15:5; Act 28:22), though the Rev. has an odd variety in its marginal renderings. See Act 24:14; Co1 11:19; Gal 5:20. The rendering heretical doctrines seems to agree better with the context; false teachers bringing in sects is awkward.
A significant word from Peter.
The Lord (δεσπότην)
In most cases in the New Testament the word is rendered master, the Rev. changing lord to master in every case but two - Luk 2:29; Act 4:24; and in both instances putting master in margin, and reserving lord for the rendering of κύριος. In three of these instances the word is used in direct address to God; and it may be asked why the Rev. changes Lord to Master in the text of Rev 6:10, and retains Lord in Luk 2:29; Act 4:24. In five out of the ten occurrences of the word in the New Testament it means master of the household. Originally, it indicates absolute, unrestricted authority, so that the Greeks refused the title to any but the gods. In the New Testament δεσπότης and κύριος are used interchangeably of God, and of masters of servants.
Used by Peter only. See on Pe2 1:14.
2 Peter 2:2
See on Pe2 1:16.
Pernicious ways (ἀπωλείαις)
The true reading is ἀσελγείαις, lascivious doings. So Rev. See on Pe1 4:3. The use of the plural is rare. Compare Jde 1:4.
2 Peter 2:3
Through covetousness (ἐν πλεοεξίᾳ)
Lit., in covetousness; denoting the element or sphere in which the evil is wrought.
Only here in New Testament. From πλάσσω, to mould, as in clay or wax. The idea is, therefore, of words moulded at will to suit their vain imaginations.
Make merchandise (ἐμπορεύσονται)
Only here and Jam 4:13. Compare Jde 1:16, for the sake of advantage; their glory being in having a multitude of followers.
Rev., sentence. So, commonly, in New Testament; the process or act of judging being expressed by κρίσις.
Of a long time (ἔκπαλαι)
Rev., better, from of old, bringing out thus more sharply the force of ἐκ. Only here and Pe2 3:5. Construe with lingereth.
Only here in New Testament. Compare on the kindred adjective idle, Pe2 1:8. There is a graphic picture in the sentence. The judgment is not idle. It is "represented as a living thing, awake and expectant. Long ago that judgment started on its destroying path, and the fate of sinning angels, and the deluge, and the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah were but incidental illustrations of its power; nor has it ever since lingered....It advances still, strong and vigilant as when first it sprang from the bosom of God, and will not fail to reach the mark to which it was pointed from of old" (Salmond and Lillie).
More literally, Rev., destruction. The word occurs three times in Pe2 2:1.
See on Mat 25:5, the only other passage where it occurs.
2 Peter 2:4
No article. Angels. So Rev. Compare Jde 1:6.
Cast them down to hell (ταρταρώσας)
Only here in New Testament. From Τάρταρος, Tartarus. It is strange to find Peter using this Pagan term, which represents the Greek hell, though treated here not as equivalent to Gehenna, but as the place of detention until the judgment.
Chains of darkness (σειραῖς ζόφου)
Σειρά is a cord or band, sometimes of metal. Compare Septuagint, Proverbs 5:22; Wisd. of Sol. 17:2, 18. The best texts, however, substitute σιροῖς or σειροῖς, pits or caverns. Σιρός originally is a place for storing corn. Rev., pits of darkness.
Of darkness (ζόφου)
Peculiar to Peter and Jude. Originally of the gloom of the nether world, So Homer:
"These halls are full
Of shadows hastening down to Erebus
Amid the gloom (ὑπὸ ζόφον)."
Odyssey, xx., 355.
When Ulysses meets his mother in the shades, she says to him:
"How didst thou come, my child, a living man,
Into this place of darkness? (ὑπὸ ζόφον)."
Odyssey, xi., 155.
Compare Jde 1:13. So Milton:
"Here their prison ordained
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of heaven
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole."
Paradise Lost, i., 71-74.
"That air forever black."
Inferno, iii., 829.
"Upon the verge I found me
Of the abysmal valley dolorous
That gathers thunder of infinite ululations.
Obscure, profound it was, and nebulous,
So that by fixing on its depths my sight
Nothing whatever I discerned therein."
Inferno, iv., 7, 12.
"I came unto a place mute of all light."
Inferno, v., 28.
To be reserved (τηρουμένους)
Lit., being reserved. See on Pe1 1:4, "reserved in heaven."
2 Peter 2:5
Rev., preserved. See on Pe1 1:4, and compare "the Lord shut him in" (Gen 7:16).
Noah the eighth person
So the A. V., literally. Rev. is more perspicuous however: Noah with seven others. Compare Pe1 3:20.
A preacher (κήρυκα)
Lit., a herald. Compare the kindred verb κηρύσσω, to preach, everywhere in New Testament. The word herald is beautifully suggestive, at many points, of the office of a gospel minister. In the Homeric age the herald partook of the character of an ambassador. He summoned the assembly and kept order in it, and had charge of arrangements at sacrifices and festivals. The office of the heralds was sacred, and their persons inviolable; hence they were employed to bear messages between enemies. The symbol of their office was the herald's staff, or caduceus, borne by Mercury, the herald-god. This was originally an olive-branch with fillets, which were afterward formed into snakes, according to the legend that Mercury found two snakes fighting and separated them with his wand, from which circumstance they were used as an emblem of peace. Plato ("Laws," xii., 941) thus speaks of the fidelity entailed by the office: "If any herald or ambassador carry a false message to any other city, or bring back a false message from the city to which he is sent, or be proved to have brought back, whether from friends or enemies, in his capacity of herald or ambassador, what they have never said - let him be indicted for having offended, contrary to the law, in the sacred office and appointment of Hermes and Zeus, and let there be a penalty fixed which he shall suffer or pay if he be convicted." In later times, their position as messengers between nations at war was emphasized. In Herodotus (i., 21), the word herald is used as synonymous with apostle. "Alyattes sent a herald (κήρυκα) to Miletus in hopes of concluding a truce, etc. The herald (ἀπόστολος) went on his way to Miletus." A priestly house at Athens bore the name of κήρυκες, heralds.
Bringing in (ἐπάξας)
The verb may be said to be used by Peter only. Besides this passage and Pe2 2:1, it occurs only at Act 5:28, where Luke probably received the account from Peter as the principal actor: "ye intend to bring upon us (ἐπαγαγεῖν) this man's blood."
2 Peter 2:6
Turning into ashes (τεφρώσας)
Only here in New Testament.
Having made them an example (ὑπόδειγμα τεθεικώς)
Compare Pe1 2:21. The word for example is condemned as unclassical by the Attic grammarians, and παράδειγμα is substituted, which means, properly, a sculptor's or a painter's model, or an architect's plan.
2 Peter 2:7
Occurring three times in Pe2 2:7, Pe2 2:8.
Only here and Act 7:24. Κατά gives the force of worn down. So Rev., sore distressed.
With the filthy conversation of the wicked (ὑπὸ τῆς τῶν ἀθέσμων ἐν ἀσελγείᾳ ἀναστροφῆς).
Lit., by the behavior of the lawless in wantonness. Rev., the lascivious life of the wicked. Life or behavior (ἀναστροφῆς). See on Pe1 1:15. Wicked (ἀθέσμων), lit., lawless. Only here and Pe2 3:17. Wantonness (ἀσελγείᾀ), see on Mar 7:22.
2 Peter 2:8
Only here in New Testament. Dwelling, and therefore suffering continually, from day to day.
In seeing (βλέμματι)
Only here in New Testament. Usually of the look of a man from without, through which the vexation comes to the soul. "Vexed his righteous soul."
See on Mat 4:24, torments. The original sense is to test by touchstone or by torture. See on toiling, Mar 6:48. Rev. gives tormented, in margin.
Rev., lawless. Only here in New Testament with things. In all other cases it is applied to persons.
2 Peter 2:9
Used by Peter only. Compare Act 10:2, Act 10:7. The reading at Act 22:12, is εὐλαβής, devout. See on Pe2 1:3.
See on Pe1 1:6.
To reserve (τηρεῖν)
See on Pe1 1:4. Rev., keep, is not an improvement.
To be punished (κολαζομένους)
Only here and Act 4:21, where the narrative probably came from Peter. The participle here is, lit., being punished, and therefore the A. V. is wrong. Rev., rightly, under punishment. Compare Mat 25:46.
2 Peter 2:10
Go after the flesh
Compare Jde 1:7.
Of uncleanness (μιασμοῦ)
Only here in New Testament. See on defilements, Pe2 2:20. Compare Jde 1:8.
Rev., dominion. Compare Jde 1:8
Only here in New Testament Lit., darers. Rev., daring.
Only here and Tit 1:7. From αὐτός, self, and ἥδομαι, to delight in. Therefore a self-loving spirit.
They tremble (τρέμουσιν)
Compare Mar 5:33. An uncommon word in the New Testament. Luk 8:47; Act 9:6.
Lit., glories. Compare Jde 1:8. Probably angelic powers: note the reference to the angels immediately following, as in Jde 1:9 to Michael. They defy the spiritual powers though knowing their might.
2 Peter 2:11
Power and might (ἰσχύΐ καὶ δυνάμει)
Rev., might and power. The radical idea of ἰσχύς, might, is that of indwelling strength, especially as embodied: might which inheres in physical powers organized and working under individual direction, as an army' which appears in the resistance of physical organisms, as the earth, against which one dashes himself in vain: which dwells in persons or things, and gives them influence or value: which resides in laws or punishments to make them irresistible. This sense comes out clearly in the New Testament in the use of the word and of its cognates. Thus, "Love the Lord thy God with all thy strength" (Mar 12:30): "according to the working of his mighty power" (Eph 1:19). So the kindred adjective ἰχσυρός. "A strong man" (Mat 12:29): a mighty famine (Luk 15:14): his letters are powerful (Co2 10:10): a strong consolation (Heb 6:18): a mighty angel (Rev 18:21). Also the verb ἱσχύω. "It is good for nothing" (Mat 5:13): "shall not be able" (Luk 13:24): "I can do all things" (Phi 4:13): "availeth much" (Jam 5:16).
Δύναμις is rather ability, faculty: not necessarily manifest, as ἰσχύς: power residing in one by nature. Thus ability (Mat 25:15): virtue (Mar 5:30): power (Luk 24:29; Act 1:8; Co1 2:4): "strength of sin" (Co1 15:56). So of moral vigor. "Strengthened with might in the inner man" (Eph 3:16): "with all might (Col 1:11). It is, however, mostly power in action, as in the frequent use of δυνάμεις for miracles, mighty works, they being exhibitions of divine virtue. Thus "power unto salvation" (Rom 1:16): the kingdom coming in power" (Mar 9:1): God himself called power - "the right hand of the power" (Mat 26:64), and so in classical Greek used to denote the magistrates or authorities. Also of the angelic powers (Eph 1:21; Rom 8:38; Pe1 3:22). Generally, then, it may be said that while both words include the idea of manifestation or of power in action, ἰσχύς emphasizes the outward, physical manifestations, and δύναμις the inward, spiritual or moral virtue. Plato ("Protagoras," 350) draws the distinction thus: "I should not have admitted that the able (δυνατοὺς) are strong (ἰσχυροὺς), though I have admitted that the strong are able. For there is a difference between ability (δύναμιν) and strength (ἰσχύν). The former is given by knowledge as well as by madness or rage; but strength comes from nature and a healthy state of the body. Aristotle ("Rhet.," i., 5) says "strength (ἰσχὺς) is the power of moving another as one wills; and that other is to be moved either by drawing or pushing or carrying or pressing or compressing; so that the strong (ὁ ἰσχυρὸς) is strong for all or for some of these things."
Compare Jde 1:9; Zac 3:1, Zac 3:9.
2 Peter 2:12
As natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed
This massing of epithets is characteristic of Peter. Natural (φυσικὰ), Rev., mere animals, should be construed with made, or as Rev., born (γεγεννημένα). Brute (ἄλογα), lit., unreasoning or irrational. Rev., without reason. Compare Act 25:27. Beasts (ζῶα). Lit., living creatures, from ζάω, to live. More general and inclusive than beasts, since it denotes strictly all creatures that live, including man. Plato even applies it to God himself. Hence Rev., properly, creatures. To be taken and destroyed (εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθοράν). Lit., for capture and destruction. Destruction twice in this verse, and with a cognate verb. Render the whole, as Rev., But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed.
Speak evil (βλασφημοῦντες)
Participle. Rev., rightly, railing. Compare Pe2 2:10, Pe2 2:11.
And shall utterly perish in their own corruption (ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν καὶ φθαρήσονται)
There is a play upon the words, which the Rev. reproduces by rendering, "shall in their destroying surely be destroyed." The and, which in the A. V. connects this and the preceding sentence, is rather to be taken with shall be destroyed, as emphasizing it, and should be rendered, as Rev., surely, or as others, even or also. Compare on the whole verse Jde 1:10.
2 Peter 2:13
And shall receive (κομιούμενοι)
Lit., being about or destined to receive. See on Pe1 1:9, and compare Pe1 5:4. Some good texts read ἀδικούμενοι, suffering wrong. So Rev., suffering wrong as the hire of wrong-doing.
Reward of unrighteousness (μισθὸν ἀδικίας)
Μισθὸς is hire, and so is rendered in Rev. Compare Mat 20:8; Luk 10:7; Joh 4:36. It also has in classical Greek the general sense of reward, and so very often in the New Testament, in passages where hire or wages would be inappropriate. Thus Mat 5:12; Mat 6:1; Mat 10:41. Hire would seem to be better here, because of the reference to Balaam in Pe2 2:15, where the word occurs again and requires that rendering. The phrase μισθός ἀδικίας, reward of wages of iniquity, occurs only here and in Peter's speech concerning Judas (Act 1:18), where the Rev. retains the rendering of the A. V., reward of iniquity. It would have been better to render wages of iniquity in both places. Iniquity and unrighteousness are used in English almost synonymously; though etymologically, iniquity emphasizes the idea of injustice (inaequus), while unrighteousness (non-rightness) is more general, implying all deviation from right, whether involving another's interests or not. This distinction is not, however, observed in the Rev., where the rendering of ἄδικία, and of the kindred adjective ἄδικος, varies unaccountably, if not capriciously, between unrighteous and unjust.
As they that count it pleasure to riot (ἡδονὴν ἡγούμενοι τρυφήν)
The as of the A. V. is needless. The discourse proceeds from Pe2 2:13 by a series of participles, as far as following (Pe2 2:15). Literally the passage runs, counting riot a pleasure.
Meaning rather daintiness, delicacy, luxuriousness. Even the Rev. revel is almost too strong. Compare Luk 7:25, the only other passage where the word occurs, and where the Rev. retains the A. V., live delicately. So, also, Rev. substitutes, in Jam 5:5, lived delicately for lived in pleasure.
In the daytime
Compare Peter's words Act 2:15; also, Th1 5:7.
Only here and Eph 5:27. Compare the kindred participle spotted (Jde 1:23), and defileth (Jam 3:6).
Only here in New Testament. The negatives of the two terms spots and blemishes occur at Pe1 1:19.
Sporting themselves (ἐντρυφῶντες)
From τρυφή, luxuriousness. See on riot. Rev., revelling.
With their own deceivings (ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὑτῶν)
The Rev., however, follows another reading, which occurs in the parallel passage Jde 1:12 : ἀγάπαις, love-feasts, the public banquets instituted by the early Christians, and connected with the celebration of the Lord's Supper. Rev. renders revelling in their love-feasts, though the American Committee insist on deceivings. On the abuses at these feasts, see Co1 11:20-22. For αὑτῶν, their own, the best texts read αὐτῶν, their.
While they feast with you (συνευωχούμενοι)
The word originally conveys the idea of sumptuous feasting, and is appropriate in view of the fact to which Peter alludes, that these sensualists converted the love-feast into a revel. Compare Paul's words, Co1 11:21, "one is hungry and another drunken." This seems to favor the reading ἀγάπαις. The word occurs only here and Jde 1:12.
2 Peter 2:14
Another illustration of Peter's emphasis on sight. It is the instrument of evil no less than of good. Compare Mat 5:28.
Lit., an adulteress, but used as an adjective Mat 12:39; Mat 16:4.
That cannot cease (ἀκαταπαύστους)
Only here, in New Testament. Compare hath ceased (Pe1 4:1).
Only here, Pe2 2:18, and Jam 1:14. From δέλεαρ, a bait. An appropriate word from Peter the fisherman. Rev., enticing.
A compound of the word at Pe1 5:10, stablish. See note there, and see on Pe2 1:12.
An heart they have exercised (καρδίαν γεγυμνασμένην ἔχοντες)
The A. V. is awkward. Better, Rev., having a heart exercised. Exercised is the word used for gymnastic training, from which gymnastic is derived.
With covetous practices
The A. V. follows the old reading, πλεονεξίαις. The best texts read πλεονεξίας, covetousness. Rev., therefore, rightly, in covetousness.
Cursed children (κατάρας τέκνα)
Lit., children of cursing; and so Rev. See on Mar 3:17, and Pe1 1:14.
2 Peter 2:15
Lit., straight, which is the radical meaning of right.
Are gone astray (ἐπλανήθησαν)
See on Mar 12:24.
See on Pe2 1:16; and Pe2 2:2. Compare Jde 1:11.
Note the frequent occurrence of the word way in the story of Balaam (Numbers 22), and Peter's use of the same phrase, as here, the right ways of the Lord, in Act 13:10.
Rev. gives Beor, the Old Testament form of the name.
Wages of unrighteousness
See on Pe2 2:13.
2 Peter 2:16
Was rebuked (ἔλεγξιν ἔσχεν)
Lit., had a rebuke. The word for rebuke only here in New Testament.
For his iniquity (ἰδίας παρανομίας)
Rev., his own transgression. His own, see on Pe2 1:3. Transgression, from παρά., contrary to, and νόμος, law. Only here in New Testament. Compare the kindred verb παρανομέω, also occurring but once, Act 23:3, where see note on contrary to the law.
The dumb ass
Inserting an article not in the text, and omitted by Rev.
Lit., beast of burden. An animal subjected to the yoke. From ὑπό, beneath, and ζυγόν, a yoke. See on Mat 21:5.
The verb is found in Peter only, here and Pe2 2:18, and in Act 4:18, a Petrine narrative. It is well chosen, however. The verb denotes the utterance of a sound or voice, not only by man, but by any animal having lungs. Hence, not only of men's articulate cries, such as a battle-shout, but of the neigh of the horse, the scream of the eagle, the croak of the raven. It is also applied to sounds made by inanimate things, such as thunder, a trumpet, a lyre, the ring of an earthen vessel, showing whether it is cracked or not. Schmidt ("Synonymik") says that it does not indicate any physical capability on the part of the man, but describes the sound only from the hearer's stand-point. In view of this general sense of the verb, the propriety is apparent of the defining phrase, with man's voice.
Rather, hindered, or, as Rev., stayed Compare Act 8:36; Rom 1:13, Rev.
Only here in New Testament. But compare the kindred verb παραφρονέω (Co2 11:23), in the phrase, "I speak as a fool." From παρά, beside, and φρήν, the mind; and so equivalent to the phrase, beside one's self.
2 Peter 2:17
Better, as Rev., springs; yet the Rev. has retained well at Joh 4:14, where the change would have given more vividness to Christ's metaphor, which is that of an ever upleaping, living fountain.
As so often in the East, where the verdure excites the traveller's hope of water. Compare Jer 2:13, and the contrast presented in Isa 58:11; Pro 10:11; Pro 13:14.
The A. V. has followed the Tex. Rec., νεφέλαι, as in Jde 1:12. The correct reading is ὁμίχλαι, mists, found only here in New Testament. So Rev.
With a tempest (ὑπὸ λαίλαπος)
Rev., by a storm. The word occurs only twice elsewhere - Mar 4:37; Luk 7:23 - in the parallel accounts of the storm on the lake, which Jesus calmed by his word. There on the lake Peter was at home, as well as with the Lord on that occasion; and the peculiar word describing a whirlwind - one of those sudden storms so frequent on that lake (see note on the word, Mar 4:37) - would be the first to occur to him. Compare Paul's similar figure, Eph 4:14.
See on Pe2 2:4, and compare Jde 1:13.
Of darkness (τοῦ σκότους)
Lit., the darkness, denoting a well-understood doom.
Is reserved (τετήρηται)
Lit., hath been reserved, as Rev. See on Pe1 1:4; and Pe2 2:4.
The best texts omit.
2 Peter 2:18
When they speak (φθεγγόμενοι)
Rev., better, uttering. See on Pe2 2:16.
Great swelling (ὑπέρογκα)
Only here and Jde 1:16. The word means of excessive bulk. It accords well with the peculiar word uttering, since it denotes a kind of speech full of high-sounding verbosity without substance. Φθεγγόμενοι, uttering, is significantly applied alike to Balaam's beast and to these empty declaimers.
See Pe2 2:14.
Were clean escaped
The A. V. follows the Tex. Rec., ὄντως ἀποφυγόντας; ὄντως meaning really, actually, as Luk 24:34; and the participle being the aorist, and so meaning were escaped. But the best texts all read ὀλίγως, in a little degree, or just, or scarcely; and ἀποφεύγοντας, the present participle, are escaping; and denoting those who are in the early stage of their escape from error, and are not safe from it and confirmed in the truth. Hence, Rev., correctly, who are just escaping. Ὀλίγως, only here.
2 Peter 2:19
Is overcome (ἥττηται)
Lit., is worsted; from ἥσσων, inferior. Only here, Pe2 2:20, and Co2 12:13.
Brought into bondage (δεδούλωται)
Enslaved. Compare Rom 6:16.
2 Peter 2:20
Only here in New Testament. Compare Pe2 2:10. The word is transcribed in miasma.
Only here and Ti2 2:4. The same metaphor occurs in Aeschylus ("Prometheus"): "For not on a sudden or in ignorance will ye be entangled (ἐμπλεχθήσεσθε) by your folly in an impervious net of Ate (destruction)."
2 Peter 2:22
According to the true proverb (τὸ τῆς ἀληθοῦς παροιμίας)
Lit., that of the true proverb, or the matter of the proverb. For a similar construction see Mat 21:21, that of the fig-tree; Mat 8:33, the things of those possessed. On proverb see notes on Mat 13:3.
Only here in New Testament.
Only here in New Testament.
Only here in New Testament. This use of dogs and swine together recalls Mat 7:6.