Better to have never known righteousness (2 Pet 2:21)

“It would have been better

For them

Never to have known

The ways of righteousness


After knowing it,

To turn back

From the holy commandments

That were passed on

To them.”

κρεῖττον γὰρ ἦν αὐτοῖς μὴ ἐπεγνωκέναι τὴν ὁδὸν τῆς δικαιοσύνης, ἢ ἐπιγνοῦσιν ὑποστρέψαι ἐκ τῆς παραδοθείσης αὐτοῖς ἁγίας ἐντολῆς.

This author said, “It would have been better (κρεῖττον γὰρ ἦν) for them (αὐτοῖς) never to have known (μὴ ἐπεγνωκέναι) the ways of righteousness (τὴν ὁδὸν τῆς δικαιοσύνης) than, after knowing it (ἢ ἐπιγνοῦσιν), to turn back from (ὑποστρέψαι) the holy commandments (ἁγίας ἐντολῆς) that were passed on (ἐκ τῆς παραδοθείσης) to them (αὐτοῖς).”  This author continued with the problem of those who had become followers of Jesus Christ and then turned back to their original pagan evil ways.  He said that it would have been better for those who abandoned Christianity not to have known the ways of righteousness in the first place.  They were turning their backs on the holy commandments of God.  They knew the ways of Jesus Christ that had been passed on them.  Yet they abandoned them, despite knowing about them.  They would have been better off if they knew nothing about Jesus Christ.  What do you think about those who have abandoned Christianity?

They are worse off now (2 Pet 2:20)

“If after they have escaped

The pollution

Of the world

Through the knowledge

Of our Lord

And Savior

Jesus Christ,

They are again entangled

And overpowered

By them.

Their last state

Has become worse

For them

Than the first.”

εἰ γὰρ ἀποφυγόντες τὰ μιάσματα τοῦ κόσμου ἐν ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, τούτοις δὲ πάλιν ἐμπλακέντες ἡττῶνται, γέγονεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ἔσχατα χείρονα τῶν πρώτων.

This author said, “If after (εἰ γὰρ) they have escaped (ἀποφυγόντες) the pollution (τὰ μιάσματα) of the world (τοῦ κόσμου) through the knowledge (ἐν ἐπιγνώσει) of our Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου) and Savior (καὶ Σωτῆρος) Jesus Christ (Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ), they are again (δὲ πάλιν) entangled (ἐμπλακέντες) and overpowered (ἡττῶνται) in them (τούτοις).  Their last state (τὰ ἔσχατα) has become (γέγονεν) worse (χείρονα) for them (αὐτοῖς) than the first (τῶν πρώτων).”  Among the canonical Greek New Testament writings, this is the only time that this word appears in 2 Peter, the word ἀποφυγόντες, that means to flee from or escape, and the word μιάσματα, that means a stain, defilement, or pollution.  Now this author turned to those evil unrighteous ones who had actually followed Jesus Christ but then returned to their old evil ways.  They had escaped from the many stains and defilements of this polluted world through the knowledge that they got from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  However, they were again entangled and overpowered by the evil wicked ones.  They returned to their evil sensual ways.  The conclusion was that they were now worse off than when they first joined this Christian community.  Are you worse off today than you were ten years ago?

Slaves of corruption (2 Pet 2:19)

“They promise them


But they themselves

Are slaves

Of corruption.

People become slaves

To whatever masters them.”

ἐλευθερίαν αὐτοῖς ἐπαγγελλόμενοι, αὐτοὶ δοῦλοι ὑπάρχοντες τῆς φθορᾶς· ᾧ γάρ τις ἥττηται, τούτῳ δεδούλωται.

This author said, “They promise (ἐπαγγελλόμενοι) them (αὐτοῖς) freedom (ἐλευθερίαν), but they themselves are slaves (αὐτοὶ δοῦλοι ὑπάρχοντες) of corruption (τῆς φθορᾶς).  People become slaves (δεδούλωται) to whatever masters them (ᾧ γάρ τις ἥττηται, τούτῳ).”  This author continued with his description of the evil unrighteous people.  They promised a so-called freedom, when they themselves were held in the slavery of a destructive corruption.  People become or make themselves slaves to those things that control or master their lives.  The false illusion of freedom is really a slavery to one’s own passions.  Are you a slave to your own sensual passions?

Bombastic nonsense (2 Pet 2:18)

“They speak

Bombastic nonsense.

With sensual desires

Of the flesh,

They entice people

Who have just escaped

From those who live

In error.”

ὑπέρογκα γὰρ ματαιότητος φθεγγόμενοι δελεάζουσιν ἐν ἐπιθυμίαις σαρκὸς ἀσελγείαις τοὺς ὀλίγως ἀποφεύγοντας τοὺς ἐν πλάνῃ ἀναστρεφομένους,

This author said, “They speak (φθεγγόμενοι) bombastic nonsense (ὑπέρογκα γὰρ ματαιότητος).  With sensual (ἀσελγείαις) desires (ἐν ἐπιθυμίαις) of the flesh (σαρκὸς), they entice (δελεάζουσιν) people who have just (τοὺς ὀλίγως) escaped (ἀποφεύγοντας) from those who live in error (τοὺς ἐν πλάνῃ ἀναστρεφομένους).”  Among the canonical Greek New Testament writings, this is the only time that this word appears in 2 Peter, the word ἀποφεύγοντας, that means to flee from or escape.  This author continued with his description of the unrighteous evil ones.  They spoke bombastic nonsense or from arrogant vanity.  They were filled with sensual fleshy passions.  Thus, they enticed those people who had just left behind a life of error.  They were trying to pull them back into their sensual lifestyle pattern.  Do you speak bombastic nonsense?

The deepest darkness (2 Pet 2:17)

“They are like

Waterless springs

And mists

Driven by a storm.

For them,

The deepest darkness

Has been reserved.”

οὗτοί εἰσιν πηγαὶ ἄνυδροι καὶ ὁμίχλαι ὑπὸ λαίλαπος ἐλαυνόμεναι, οἷς ὁ ζόφος τοῦ σκότους τετήρηται

This author said, “They are (οὗτοί εἰσιν) like waterless springs (πηγαὶ ἄνυδροι) and mists (καὶ ὁμίχλαι) driven (ἐλαυνόμεναι) by a storm (ὑπὸ λαίλαπος).  For them (οἷς ὁ), the deepest (ὁ ζόφος) darkness (τοῦ σκότους) has been reserved (τετήρηται).”  This author continued to talk about the future of the evil unrighteous people.  He said that they were like waterless springs or springs that had dried up or like the mists driven by a storm.  Their future was in the deepest darkness of hell that was reserved for them.  Have you ever seen a dried-up water spring?

The donkey spoke to Balaam (2 Pet 2:16)


Was rebuked

For his own transgressions.

A speechless donkey


With a human voice

And restrained

The prophet’s madness.”

ἔλεγξιν δὲ ἔσχεν ἰδίας παρανομίας· ὑποζύγιον ἄφωνον ἐν ἀνθρώπου φωνῇ φθεγξάμενον ἐκώλυσεν τὴν τοῦ προφήτου παραφρονίαν.

This author said, “Balaam was rebuked (ἔλεγξιν) for his own transgressions (δὲ ἔσχεν ἰδίας παρανομίας).  A speechless donkey (ὑποζύγιον ἄφωνον) spoke (φθεγξάμενον) with a human voice (ἐν ἀνθρώπου φωνῇ) and restrained (ἐκώλυσεν) the prophet’s (τὴν τοῦ προφήτου) madness (παραφρονίαν).”  Among the canonical Greek New Testament writings, this is the only time that these words appear in 2 Peter, the word ἔλεγξιν, that means reproof, rebuke, or refute, and the word παρανομίας, that means lawbreaking, transgression, or violation of the law, as well as the word παραφρονίαν, that means madness or folly.  This author indicated that God spoke to Balaam through a donkey speaking with a human voice.  This changed the mind of the Babylonian Balaam and he listed to God.  This is the story in Numbers, chapter 22:21-35.  God was angry because Balaam was going to see Balak, the King of Moab.  The donkey saw the angel of God standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand.  The donkey turned off the road, and went into a field.  However, Balaam struck the donkey.  Next the angel of God stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side.  Then the donkey scraped Balaam’s foot against the wall.  Balaam struck the donkey again.  Then the angel of God went ahead, and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left.  When the donkey saw the angel of God, it lay down under Balaam.  Balaam was angry.  He struck the donkey a third time.  Then God opened the mouth of the donkey.  The donkey spoke to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?’  Balaam spoke back to the donkey, saying that the donkey had made a fool of him.  He wanted to kill the donkey.  Then God opened the eyes of Balaam.  He finally saw the angel of God standing in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand.  Balaam bowed down, falling on his face.  Then Balaam admitted that he had sinned.  He had not seen the angel of God.  He was willing to go home, but the angel of God told him to speak only when God told him to speak.  This author used this story of a donkey helping God.  What do you know about Balaam and the talking donkey?

Balaam went astray (2 Pet 2:15)

“They have left

The straight road.

They have gone astray,

Following the road

Of Balaam,

Son of Bosor,

Who loved the wages

Of doing wrong.”

καταλειπόντες εὐθεῖαν ὁδὸν ἐπλανήθησαν, ἐξακολουθήσαντες τῇ ὁδῷ τοῦ Βαλαὰμ τοῦ Βεώρ, ὃς μισθὸν ἀδικίας ἠγάπησεν,

This author said, “They have left (καταλειπόντες) the straight road (εὐθεῖαν ὁδὸν).  They have gone astray (ἐπλανήθησαν), following (ἐξακολουθήσαντες) the road (τῇ ὁδῷ) of Balaam (τοῦ Βαλαὰμ), son of Bosor (τοῦ Βεώρ), who (ὃς) loved (ἠγάπησεν) the wages (μισθὸν) of doing wrong (ἀδικίας).”  Among the canonical Greek New Testament writings, this is the only time that this word appears in 2 Peter, the word ἐξακολουθήσαντες, that means to follow up, imitate, or follow after, and the word Βεώρ that means Bosor, father of Balaam.  This author indicated the unrighteous evil ones have left the straight and narrow way or road, since they have gone astray.  He then mentioned Balaam, the son of Bosor, as found in Numbers, chapter 22.  Balak, the king of Moab sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, in Babylon near the Euphrates River.  Balaam was some kind of Babylonian mystic, sorcerer, magician, diviner, medium, or spiritualist.   King Balak wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites who had come out of Egypt.  God told Balaam that he should not go with them because the Israelites were a blessed people. Balaam first agreed not to go with the Moabites, but then changed his mind, so that God was angry at Balaam, who preferred to do the wrong thing.  Do you prefer to do the wrong thing?

The cursed ones (2 Pet 2:14)

“They have eyes

Full of adultery,

Insatiable for sin.

They entice

Unsteady souls.

They have hearts

Trained in greed.

They are accursed children.”

ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντες μεστοὺς μοιχαλίδος καὶ ἀκαταπαύστους ἁμαρτίας, δελεάζοντες ψυχὰς ἀστηρίκτους, καρδίαν γεγυμνασμένην πλεονεξίας ἔχοντες, κατάρας τέκνα·

This author said, “They have (ἔχοντες) eyes (ὀφθαλμοὺς) full of (μεστοὺς) adultery (μοιχαλίδο), insatiable (καὶ ἀκαταπαύστους) for sin (ἁμαρτίας).  They entice (δελεάζοντες) unsteady (ἀστηρίκτους) souls (ψυχὰς).  They have (ἔχοντες) hearts (καρδίαν) trained (γεγυμνασμένην) in greed (πλεονεξίας).  They are accursed children (κατάρας τέκνα).”  Among the canonical Greek New Testament writings, this is the only time that these words appeared in 2 Peter, the word ἀκαταπαύστους, that means incessant, not ceasing from, not abandoning, or giving up, and the word ἀστηρίκτους, that means unstable, unsettled, or unsteady.  This author explained about the evil people who acted like irrational animals.  They had adulteress eyes.  They could not get enough of sin.  They were enticing the unsteady people.  They were trained in greed, like cursed children.  This was not a flattering description of the evil doers.  How would you describe evildoers?

They will suffer (2 Pet 2:13)

“They will suffer

The penalty

For wrong doing.

They count it

A pleasure

To revel

In the daytime.

They are blots

And blemishes,


In their dissipation

While they feast

With you.”

ἀδικούμενοι μισθὸν ἀδικίας· ἡδονὴν ἡγούμενοι τὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τρυφήν, σπίλοι καὶ μῶμοι ἐντρυφῶντες ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν συνευωχούμενοι ὑμῖν,

This author said, “They will suffer (ἀδικούμενοι) the penalty (μισθὸν) for wrong doing (ἀδικίας).  They count it (ἡδονὴν) a pleasure (ἡγούμενοι) to revel (τρυφήν) in the daytime (τὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ).  They are blots (σπίλοι) and blemishes (καὶ μῶμοι), reveling (ἐντρυφῶντες) in their dissipation (ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν) while they feast (συνευωχούμενοι) with you (ὑμῖν).”  Among the canonical Greek New Testament writings, this is the only time that these words appeared in 2 Peter, the word μῶμοι, that means blame, disgrace, or a blemish, and the word ἐντρυφῶντες, that means to revel in, or live luxuriously, or riot.  This author reminded his readers that these evil people were going to suffer the wages or penalties of sin.  They will be punished for their wrong doing.  Right now, they consider it a pleasure to carouse and revel during the daylight hours, as the blots and blemishes of their society.  They revel in their dissipation and deceptive ways while they are living, eating, and feasting with you.  His Christian readers did not have to worry.  God would take care of these evil people.  Right now, they do not care about their destructive behavior, but a time will come for their reckoning.  They will suffer in the future.  Do you believe that people will be punished as the wages of their sins?

Irrational animals (2 Pet 2:12)

“These people

Are like irrational animals,

Mere creatures of instinct,

Born to be caught

And destroyed.

They slander

What they do not understand.

When those animal creatures

Are destroyed,

They also will be destroyed.”

οὗτοι δέ, ὡς ἄλογα ζῷα γεγεννημένα φυσικὰ εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθοράν, ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν βλασφημοῦντες, ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν καὶ φθαρήσονται,

This author said, “These people (οὗτοι δέ) are like (ὡς) irrational animals (ἄλογα ζῷα), mere creatures of instinct (φυσικὰ), born (γεγεννημένα) to be caught (εἰς ἅλωσιν) and destroyed (καὶ φθοράν).  They slander (βλασφημοῦντες) what they do not understand (ἐν οἷς ἀγνοοῦσιν).  When those animal creatures are destroyed (ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν), they also will be destroyed (καὶ φθαρήσονται).”  Among the canonical Greek New Testament writings, this is the only time that this word appeared in 2 Peter, the word ἅλωσιν, that means a taking or capturing.  This author indicated that the evil blaspheming lustful people were like irrational animals.  These evil sensuous passionate people lived like animals or creatures of instinct.  Their whole existence was to be caught and destroyed.  These evil humans slandered and blasphemed what they did not understand.  Just like these instinctive animals, these bad humans will be destroyed also.  Do you think irrational animals should be caught and destroyed?