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2 Peter 2:22

ESV What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
NIV Of them the proverbs are true: 'A dog returns to its vomit,' and, 'A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.'
NASB It has happened to them according to the true proverb, 'A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,' and, 'A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.'
CSB It has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit, and, "A washed sow returns to wallowing in the mud."
NLT They prove the truth of this proverb: 'A dog returns to its vomit.' And another says, 'A washed pig returns to the mud.'
KJV But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

What does 2 Peter 2:22 mean?

This verse concludes Peter's teaching about those who had been led astray by the false teachers. He has in mind those who had come into contact with the community of Christians, only to return to the sinfulness of the world. These people had apparently heard about the gospel of Jesus without genuinely placing their faith in Christ. Instead, enticed by the lies of the false teachers, they had gone back to their old place in the world among those who live only for their sinful desires.

Peter now writes that those who persist in continual sin embody the wisdom of Proverbs 26:11: the fool returns to his folly just as a dog returns to eat his own vomit. Similarly, they are like a pig who can be scrubbed clean, but soon returns to wallow in the muck again. This is a particularly pungent analogy for Peter, as pigs and dogs were two of the most despised and unclean animals in Jewish thinking.

In other words, these people were never truly changed in their nature. Dogs and pigs do what dogs and pigs do. Those truly in Christ don't merely get rid of the sin in their lives and, thus, become acceptable to God. Through faith and by God's power, true believers are changed in their very nature, becoming more and more like Jesus over time through the power of God at work in them. This does not mean perfection, but it does mean a changed life. Those who show evidence that they were never changed, it stands to reason, are still exactly what they used to be.
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