The False Teachers’ Ungodly Lifestyle
1 But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.1 These false teachers2 will3 infiltrate your midst4 with destructive heresies,5 even to the point of6 denying the Master who bought them. As a result, they will bring7 swift destruction on themselves. 2 And many will follow their debauched lifestyles.8 Because of these false teachers,9 the way of truth will be slandered.10 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their11 condemnation pronounced long ago12 is not sitting idly by;13 their14 destruction is not asleep.
4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned,15 but threw them into hell16 and locked them up17 in chains18 in utter darkness,19 to be kept until the judgment, 5 and if he did not spare the ancient world, but did protect Noah, a herald of righteousness, along with seven others,20 when God21 brought a flood on an ungodly world,22 6 and if he turned to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when he condemned them to destruction,23 having appointed24 them to serve as an example25 to future generations of the ungodly,26 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man in anguish over the debauched lifestyle of lawless27 men,28 8 (for while he lived among them day after day, that righteous man was tormented in his righteous soul29 by the lawless deeds he saw and heard30) 9 – if so,31 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials,32 and to reserve the unrighteous for punishment33 at the day of judgment, 10 especially those who indulge their fleshly desires34 and who despise authority.
Brazen and insolent,35 they are not afraid to insult36 the glorious ones,37 11 yet even38 angels, who are much more powerful,39 do not bring a slanderous40 judgment against them before the Lord.41 12 But42 these men,43 like irrational animals – creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed44 – do not understand whom45 they are insulting, and consequently46 in their destruction they will be destroyed,47 13 suffering harm as the wages for their harmful ways.48 By considering it a pleasure to carouse in broad daylight,49 they are stains and blemishes, indulging50 in their deceitful pleasures when they feast together with you. 14 Their eyes,51 full of adultery,52 never stop sinning;53 they entice54 unstable people.55 They have trained their hearts for greed, these cursed children!56 15 By forsaking the right path they have gone astray, because they followed the way of Balaam son of Bosor,57 who loved the wages of unrighteousness,58 16 yet was rebuked59 for his own transgression (a dumb donkey,60 speaking with a human voice,61 restrained the prophet’s madness).62
17 These men63 are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm, for whom the utter depths of darkness64 have been reserved. 18 For by speaking high-sounding but empty words65 they are able to entice,66 with fleshly desires and with debauchery,67 people68 who have just escaped69 from those who reside in error.70 19 Although these false teachers promise71 such people72 freedom, they themselves are enslaved to73 immorality.74 For whatever a person succumbs to, to that he is enslaved.75 20 For if after they have escaped the filthy things76 of the world through the rich knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,77 they78 again get entangled in them and succumb to them,79 their last state has become worse for them than their first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, having known it, to turn back from the holy commandment that had been delivered to them. 22 They are illustrations of this true proverb:80 “A dog returns to its own vomit,”81 and “A sow, after washing herself,82 wallows in the mire.”83