2 Peter | 1:1-11 | 1:12-21 | 2:1-10 | 2:10-22 | 3:1-9 | 3:10-18 | PDF |

Join us as we study through 2 Peter verse by verse. Our discussion questions, verse by verse commentary, and applications can help you or your small group get the most out of this book as you grow in understanding and obedience.

2 Peter 2:1-10 Verse by Verse Bible Study Notes With Questions for Small Group Leaders


I. The danger of false teachers (1-3)
II. God judges those who cross the line (4-10)

I. The danger of false teachers (1-3).

Discussion Questions

• What false prophets arose (past tense) among the people?
• What did Peter warn them would happen in the church?
• What does verse one teach us about false teachers?
• What kind of heresies are destructive (every kind)?
• Why are heresies destructive?
• What do verses 2-3 teach us about false teachers?
• How do false teachers affect the whole church?
• What will happen to false teachers?
• What motivation do we see they have in verse 3?
• How can you protect yourself against false teachers?
• What should you do when you see false teaching?
• Is there a difference between a false teacher and a teacher who is teaching something false?

Cross References

1 John 4:1 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 – For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Jude 1:4 – For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Matthew 7:15 – Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Galatians 1:6-9 – I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

1 Timothy 6:5-6 – And constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. False prophets arose among the people – Peter is going to warn them about false teachers who will come. But he starts off reminding them false prophets already came in the past. And as the writer of Ecclesiastes says, “there is nothing new under the sun.” One of Satan’s favorite attacks against followers of God is to infiltrate and mislead using people who claim to be working for the Lord.

Matthew 7:15 Bible Verse

Two examples of false prophets in the Old Testament:

A. Hananiah (Jeremiah 28) – This false prophet lied that the yoke of Babylon over Judah would be broken and that within two years all of the confiscated items from the temple would be returned along with Jeconiah. He also prophesied that all nations would be freed from Babylon’s reign within two years. Jeremiah called him out on it, but Hananiah doubled-down on his false prophesy.

Jeremiah rebuked him for causing Judah to believe in a “lie” (Jeremiah 28:15). And Jeremiah prophesied that he would pay for it with his life in that same year. And this prophesy came true.

B. Zedekiah and his league of false prophets (1 Kings 22:1-28) – Ahab was trying to convince Jehosophat to go up to war with him against Syria. An entire school (or business) of false prophets were in the employ of the king. Their job was to say what he wanted to hear and to give spiritual authorization to his own plans. In some aspect, these false prophets were like the public relations arm of the king. He could declare any course of action and then his prophet minions would proclaim to all in the court (and by extension the whole public) that God would bless the endeavors and give victory. The king could therefore get an automatic stamp of approval on whatever he sought to do.

Jehosophat saw through this charade. He asked for a real prophet (i.e. one who was not on the payroll of Ahab.) and Micaiah came. In his first public statement he sarcastically parrots what everybody else is saying. But then he prophesies that King Ahab was going to die in the battle. The king was very upset and Zedekiah, who was the leader of the false prophets, even more emphatically claimed a thorough victory. Micaiah was thrown into prison and promised again that Ahab would not return. His prophesy was proven to be true and Zedekiah was proven to be a liar.

There are many types of false prophets. Some of them are clearly working for the enemy (like the four hundred prophets of Baal). Others claim to be serving God, but are, as Jesus warned, wolves in disguise.

Application: False prophets have been infiltrating God’s people and spreading lies for thousands of years. Don’t be surprised when they continue to do the same thing today!

2. Just as there will be false teachers among you – Peter doesn’t say that there “might” be false teachers. He says there will be. It is a guarantee. Throughout the Bible we see that where God is working Satan is also working. Satan is diametrically opposed to God and does not give up easily. One example we can see of this is in Matthew 5. Jesus sets foot off the boat to bring the good news to a new area. He is instantly greeted by a man possessed by a legion of demons. Jesus did not pre-announce that he was going there. Satan’s intelligence network knew it and he also sent this man there to oppose Jesus’ work and create a distraction.

What Peter warned the church about is still true today. Maybe more than ever, false teachers are spreading lies and misleading people all over the globe. The internet and modern media have made it even easier than before for them to gain an audience. As we go through this chapter, we will discuss some of the ways we can spot these false teachers. For now, it is important to recognize that they are there and to commit to equipping ourselves so that they cannot lead us astray.

3. Who will secretly bring destructive heresies – False teachers will not tell you that they are false teachers! They don’t stand up in the church pulpit and say, “I am a false teacher. Today I am going to deceive you.”

They bring in their false teachings secretly.

• How do they do this? What methods to they use?
• How do they disguise their message so that they are not discovered?

Here are a few possible methods they use:

• They look like a Christian. They dress like a Christian.
• They talk like a Christian. They often use a Bible (sometimes with a good translation and sometimes not). They often quote Scripture. However, they do not apply sound hermeneutics. They pick verses out of context and twist the meaning to suit their own purposes.
• They often pretend to be a godly believer for a period of time while they lull the flock into a false sense of security.
• They often start to spread their false teachings to the immature or more vulnerable such as new believers or the sick or poor who desperately are searching for help.

Application: How can you protect yourselves from these false teachers?

4. Denying the Master – Here we see the heart of the problem. They are not serving God. They are serving someone else, themselves and also Satan (whether knowingly or unknowingly).

5. Many will follow them – Unfortunately in all time periods there have been many who follow their teachings. The promises which they make are attractive to people.

6. Because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed – False teachers are a bad testimony for the church. When they are exposed, they leave behind scandal and hurt. Enemies of Christ quickly jump up and start pointing fingers and making accusations against the Church. It hurts the church’s reputation and it brings dishonor to Christ. It is easy for unbelievers to point at proven frauds from TV and then claim that, “Christians are hypocrites. They are no different from or even worse than everyone else. They are frauds in it for the money. Church is a big scam.”

The good news is God is greater than all of this. He can protect His own reputation. He will be proven right and He will be glorified. But people who use His name to steal and destroy (John 10:10) will face the consequences.

Application: We should never be the reason a person says he doesn’t want anything to do with Christ. And we should never be the cause of stumbling for any believer (Matthew 18:6). Beyond this, we also have a responsibility to speak up and take away the platform or the mic from those who use it to spread false teaching and therefore are a bad testimony. Sometimes it just takes the courage of one person to stand up to stop these people.

7. In their greed – We will discuss this more in the second half of the chapter, but we see here a glimpse into their motivation.

8. Condemnation and destruction – False teachers are going to be punished. Their “destruction is not asleep.” God is not going to let them get away with it. He doesn’t take kindly to false shepherds coming in and misleading the sheep. We will see starting in verse 4 that God has taken drastic action to intervene in the world to punish those who deserved it in the past. And He will do so in the future. Sometimes He will intervene in this world. Sometimes He will wait and judge the false prophets after their death. All will finally be judged and every secret sin and motivation will be brought to light.

Luke 12:3 – Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

Luke 8:17 Bible Verse

II. God judges those who cross the line (4-10).

Discussion Questions

• What do these angels and the time of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah have to do with false teachers?
• What do these historical examples teach us about God?
• What do we learn about His justice?
• How could you use this passage to warn a false teacher?