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2 Peter 2:3

ESV And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
NIV In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
NASB and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
CSB They will exploit you in their greed with made-up stories. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.
NLT In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.
KJV And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

What does 2 Peter 2:3 mean?

According to the previous two verses, Christians should expect to encounter false teachers. These will arise from within the church. In other words, we should expect that men and women will claim to be Christians themselves, but teach things which contradict the message of Jesus and His apostles.

So far, Peter has said these false teachers will use deception to try to get believers to deny Jesus as Lord. They will also take part in sexual immorality and lead others in the church to do so, as well.

In this verse, Peter shows one motive of the false teachers: greed. They want power and money, and they're willing to distort God's Word to try to get it from God's people. They won't just lie about the truth of God's Word, though; they will tell false stories about other things, as well. If it helps their cause, the false teachers will just make things up. In short, they're con-men (and women).

How can Christians protect ourselves against these sneaky attacks on the truth from those who claim to be one of us? We must work to know and understand God's Word and pay attention to what we're hearing and seeing from those with influence among us.

The consequences for these false teachers will be harsh. Peter uses ominous language: Their condemnation has been hanging over them; their destruction has not been sleeping. In other words, God has not forgotten; His judgment will come at exactly the right time. Later in the chapter, Peter will use the phrase "accursed children," which in Hebrew thinking always referred to those under God's ultimate condemnation. In short, such persons are not saved believers and will suffer the eternal consequences of their sins.
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