2 Peter 2:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Peter 2:19, NIV: They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for 'people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.'

2 Peter 2:19, ESV: They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

2 Peter 2:19, KJV: While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

2 Peter 2:19, NASB: promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what anyone is overcome, by this he is enslaved.

2 Peter 2:19, NLT: They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.

2 Peter 2:19, CSB: They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them.

What does 2 Peter 2:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The world typically claims that "freedom" means doing whatever you want, whenever you want, and however you want. The false teachers in the early church promised this kind of freedom. For them, this meant guilt-free indulgence in every kind of sexual sin. This, they claimed, came with no risk of God's judgment. As Peter has made clear, the promise was a lie. It's not just wrong because these teachers are wrong about Jesus. It's also wrong by the practical evidence of their own lives.

They promise a freedom they don't have. Instead of being free to indulge in their sexual passions, they simply cannot do anything else. They are, in fact, slaves, mastered by their own sinful desires. This is one of the most poorly understood, but powerful truths about sin. What Satan tells you is an expression of freedom is actually the very thing which enslaves you.

Peter recites what may have been a proverb of the day: "For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved." This can be positive or negative. Those "overcome" with addictions and sins are certainly controlled by those. On the other hand, Peter began this letter by referring to himself as a slave—or bond servant—of Jesus Christ. One of the promises of life in Christ, life under the master Jesus, is true freedom, even from the harsh demands of our sinful selves.

What is true freedom? It is the ability to say no to ourselves, to leave the path of destruction, and to say yes to Christ and find true joy, meaning, and abundant life (John 10:10).