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The Teacher's Bible Commentary
Sign up for our emails to find out about our authors, new releases, and special offers. Imagine having a team of 30 Moody Bible Institute professors helping you study the Bible.
Now you can with this in-depth, user-friendly, one-volume commentary. General editors Michael Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham have led a team of contributors whose academic training, practical church experience, and teaching competency make this commentary excellent for anyone who needs help understanding the Scriptures. This comprehensive and reliable reference work should be the first place Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders, missionaries, and pastors turn to for biblical insight.
Scripture being commented on is shown in bold print for easy reference, and maps and charts provide visual aids for learning. Additional study helps include bibliographies for further reading and a subject and Scripture index. They identify themselves as true believers, followers of Jesus Christ, and they profess to follow Jesus as Lord.
They seem to operate in His power, and they do their impressive works in His name.
They appear to oppose Satan see Matthew They claim to be knowledgeable and are often regarded as leaders and teachers see Matthew ; ; Acts ; 2 Corinthians ; 2 Peter ; There can be little doubt about the spiritual condition of these false teachers. While they appear to be sincere Christians, they are not. They are apostates, those who have heard the truth but have not embraced it and eventually turn away from it , The attitude of the false teachers is consistent with their ungodly nature.
They are arrogant Jude 16 and iron willed, hell-bent and determined to stay that way 2 Peter These false teachers are self-centered and self-serving, caring only for themselves Jude They use other people for their own self-gratification, rather than sacrificially ministering to them Jude Sexual immorality including perversion, see Jude 53 is one of their primary characteristics, along with greed The root malady of these spiritual charlatans is that they are dominated by the flesh, enslaved by its corrupt desires and impulses Driven by impulse and instinct, they hardly differ from animals They sin persistently—non-stop They are so deeply enslaved to sin that they no longer know any shame.
Rather than carry out their fleshly desires in private, they find pleasure when they sin in public From what we know of the Corinthian church e. A word of clarification needs to be said at this point, due to some rather popular misconceptions concerning the fleshly indulgence of these false teachers.
One would be hard pressed to prove this point from the Old Testament or the New. Old Testament patriarchs like Judah were guilty of immorality, a kind which seemed to even shock the pagans Genesis The Israelites frequently fell into practicing sins of the flesh. They quickly fell into sin after the exodus see Exodus Balaam was instrumental in the downfall of many Israelites. It would seem that he knew all too well their vulnerability to sexual seduction and immorality see Numbers Adultery and immorality was practiced not only by the Israelites but by their prophets as well Jeremiah One can safely say from the Old Testament record that there were virtually no Gentile sins which were not also, at some point in time, practiced by the Jews.
No wonder the people of God are sometimes referred to as Sodom and Gomorrah see Isaiah ; ; Lamentations ; Ezekiel ; Amos The Jews may have thought themselves to be above fleshly indulgence, but Jesus did not allow them to think this way for long:. If the Jewish religious leaders thought Jesus was speaking of someone other than them, Jesus made Himself crystal clear on this point:.
The Teacher’s Bible Commentary
For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. When Paul surveyed the history of the Israelites, he made it very clear they were habitually guilty of fleshly sins:. For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth Titus There are hints in both 1 and 2 Peter that the false teaching of which Peter writes has at least a Jewish component.
In 1 and 2 Peter, there is mention of Old Testament prophets and their prophecies 1 Peter ; 2 Peter with whom he expects his readers to be familiar. There are numerous references to Old Testament texts of Scripture in 1 and 2 Peter. In both of his epistles, Peter refers to Old Testament events such as the flood—1 Peter ; 2 Peter with which he assumes his readers are familiar.
Enduring Word Bible Commentary James Chapter 3
Why would we assume that some of the false teaching would not come from the lips of Jewish false teachers when other New Testament texts clearly warn Gentile churches of this danger? If we think the asceticism of some Jewish false teachers was an antidote to fleshly indulgence, we are wrong. Often such self-empowered, self-denial served to inflame fleshly passions rather than subdue them:. The Jews of Old Testament times were often guilty of the very sins Peter condemns in our text. The Judaisers of the New Testament were often promoters of fleshly indulgence.
Fleshly indulgence may take various forms, but it knows no racial boundaries. It is for this reason that Paul can seemingly condemn the sins of Gentile heathen Romans , only to turn to the Jews and blame them for the same offenses Romans So much is said about the moral life of the false teachers that we may be surprised at how little is said about their doctrine. The false teachers forsake the right way, the way of truth. They reject the commandment of the Lord ; , which I understand to be the gospel, as revealed through the apostles see 1 Timothy ; Jude 3.
I would take it that the gospel is, in the final analysis, perverted both as to its origin the atoning work of Jesus Christ, appropriated by faith alone and as to its outworkings the work of Christ in the believer, through the Spirit. Elsewhere in Scripture, we are given more specific examples as to how the gospel may be perverted by false teachers see Galatians ff. Here, Peter is very general in his description of the doctrinal errors of the false teachers, while he is much more specific in his description of the moral failures of these apostates.
Why is this?
The Teacher’s Bible Commentary
I believe it is because the cults and perversions of Christianity have great diversity in their doctrinal views, but the moral and practical manifestations are very similar. By inference, it would seem Peter is suggesting that it may take considerable time for the false doctrines of the false teachers to become evident, while the moral failures of these folk are much more readily and quickly seen.
Indeed, from what Peter writes about these false teachers, their moral collapse is evident to all see ; Jude It is not that their sin is hidden but rather that it is not taken seriously enough compare 1 Corinthians 5. This is what makes their sin so great:.
Should not the shepherds feed the flock? For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! The most vulnerable members of the flock are those who need the greatest care. And it is these on whom the false teachers prey:. The false teachers are con artists par excellence. They have highly developed skills and the basest of motives.
They are false. They are deceptive. They are evil. They conceal their true identity. They represent themselves as something they are not—true believers They even go so far as to claim apostolic authority see 2 Corinthians They associate with and among believers They conceal their true identity and their agenda.
They misrepresent themselves, their message, and their motives. The false teachers are trouble-makers. The false teachers resist and oppose authority ; Jude 8; see also 2 Timothy They grumble and find fault Jude They create strife and division among the saints Jude False teachers oppose the truth. They deny the truth , or they distort it see 2 Timothy They distort the truth, such as by turning the grace of God into a pretext for sin Jude 4. False teachers are deceivers. They promise those who follow them things which they themselves do not possess They promise their followers things which they do not and cannot produce They employ flattery to gain the advantage Jude They are masters of deceit, of which they are proud False teachers are disastrous in their effects.
Many will follow them Unbelievers are no doubt drawn to their teaching, but Peter is not as interested in this dimension of the ministry of false teachers. They defraud their followers by promising what they do not produce These false teachers prey upon the vulnerable and the weak. They identify themselves and their sin with the saints and the church , exploiting them and bringing reproach on them , They incite grumbling and division among the saints Jude The only ones who gain from the ministry of the false teachers are the teachers themselves, and this but for a short time.
They themselves are doomed for destruction, though they seem not to know it, because in their deceiving others, they themselves are deceived 2 Timothy Never is any other fate than destruction indicated for these false teachers see , 14; The judgment of false teachers is greater than it is for others. Their judgment is even greater for them than it was formerly. This is for several reasons.
They are more culpable because they have known and rejected more than others Matthew ; Luke and because they claim to know the way John They have greater guilt and bear more responsibility because they are teachers who lead others astray James I would suggest that the italicized references are to the unbelieving teachers, while the doubly underlined references are to their unsuspecting and naive Christian victims.
I have reached this conclusion for the following reasons:. If a Christian falls into sin and is judged for it, he still remains a believer with the assurance of eternal life.
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Even when physically destroyed, he has the sure hope of heaven 1 Corinthians The unbeliever never did have the hope of heaven. It is better to be judged in ignorance than in willful rebellion see Luke Rather, the characteristics Peter has given us should serve to cover the wide range of those who will arise as false teachers. I do not think it was ever thought any woman would or could.
But in this picture of an ideal woman, we see qualities for which every woman should strive. He was also most careful in the way he handled funds which were given to minister to others 2 Corinthians Paul also sought to differentiate his preaching methods not to mention his message from that of the false teachers see 1 Corinthians 2; 2 Corinthians ; It explains why Paul makes so much of his own example in relation to his teaching Acts , ; 1 Corinthians ; 1 Thessalonians ; 2 Timothy There is a very important principle underlying the teaching of the apostles as it relates to doctrine and conduct.
While our doctrine should determine our conduct, it is most often true that sinful conduct is the first step to a perverted theology. This seems to be the sequence of events envisioned in 2 Peter.