2 Peter 2:18 MEANING

2 Peter 2:18
(18) Great swelling words of vanity.--Exaggeration, unreality, boastfulness, and emptiness are expressed by this phrase. It carries on the same idea as the waterless wells and the driven mists--great pretensions and no results. The rebuke here is not unlike the warning in 1 Peter 5:5-6.

Allure.--Translated "beguile" in 2 Peter 2:14, where see Note.

Through the lusts of the flesh.--Better, in the lusts of the flesh (as in 2 Peter 2:3, and 2 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 1:13). The preposition "in" points to the sphere in which the enticement takes place; "through" should be reserved for "wantonness" (see Note on 2 Peter 2:2), which is the bait used to entice.

Were clean escaped.--Both verb and adverb require correction. The margin indicates the right reading for the adverb--"for a little," or better, by a little; scarcely. The verb should be present, not past--those who are scarcely escaping, viz., the "unstable souls" of 2 Peter 2:14. Wiclif has "scapen a litil;" Rheims "escape a litle." The word translated "scarcely" occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; that translated here "clean," and elsewhere "indeed," or "certainly," is frequent (Mark 11:32; Luke 23:47; Luke 24:34, &c. &c). Hence the change, an unfamiliar word being, by a slight alteration, turned into a familiar one. The two Greek words are much alike.

Verse 18. - For when they speak great swelling words of vanity; literally, for speaking. "Great swelling words" is expressed by one word in the Greek, ὑπέρογκα, St. Jude has the same word in verse 16; it is used in the classical writers of great bulk of any kind, literal or figurative. The genitive is descriptive - the words are swelling, high-sounding; but they are only words, vain and meaningless; they have nothing but emptiness behind them. They allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness; rather, as in the Revised Version, they entice (as in verse 14) in the lusts of the flesh, by lasciviousness. The preposition "in" denotes the sphere in which these men live, their condition, habits of life. The dative ἀσελγείαις, literally "by lasciviousnesses," that is, by acts of lasciviousness, is the dative of the instrument; it states the means by which they entice men. Those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. The Authorized Version follows the T.R., τοὺς ὄντως ἀποφυγόντας; but most of the best manuscripts have τοὺς ὀλίγως ἀποφεύγοντας. This last reading gives a better sense, "Those who are just escaping." The adverb ὀλίγως may be understood of time, or, perhaps better, of measure - "escaping by a little, a little way." Those who were "clean escaped "would not be so easily enticed by the false teachers. These are only beginning to escape; they have heard the word with joy, but have no root in themselves; they put their hand to the plough, but they look back. They "that live in error" are the heathen; the unhappy men who are led astray by the false teachers are just escaping from the heathen and from their mode of life. It is possible to understand these last words as a coordinate clause, a further description of those who are just escaping. The false teachers entice "those who are just escaping, those who live in error." But the common rendering seems better. The verb translated "live" (ἀναστρεφομένους) is a favourite word with St. Peter (see 1 Peter 1:15, 18; 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 3:1, 2, 16).

2:17-22 The word of truth is the water of life, which refreshes the souls that receive it; but deceivers spread and promote error, and are set forth as empty, because there is no truth in them. As clouds hinder the light of the sun, so do these darken counsel by words wherein there is no truth. Seeing that these men increase darkness in this world, it is very just that the mist ofdarkness should be their portion in the next. In the midst of their talk of liberty, these men are the vilest slaves; their own lusts gain a complete victory over them, and they are actually in bondage. When men are entangled, they are easily overcome; therefore Christians should keep close to the word of God, and watch against all who seek to bewilder them. A state of apostacy is worse than a state of ignorance. To bring an evil report upon the good way of God, and a false charge against the way of truth, must expose to the heaviest condemnation. How dreadful is the state here described! Yet though such a case is deplorable, it is not utterly hopeless; the leper may be made clean, and even the dead may be raised. Is thy backsliding a grief to thee? Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.For when they speak great swelling words of vanity,.... Marvellous things against the God of gods, great things and blasphemies against God, his name, his tabernacle, and his saints; see Daniel 11:36; or against men, dominions, and dignities, 2 Peter 2:10; or it may design their self-applauses and vain glorying in themselves, and their empty boast of knowledge and learning; and also express the windiness of their doctrines, and the bombast style, and high flown strains of rhetoric in which they were delivered; as likewise the flattering titles they bestowed on men for the sake of their own worldly interest and advantage; see Jde 1:16 and hereby

they allure, through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error: that is, from those who lived in the error of Heathenism or Judaism, from whom, and which, they were clean escaped; or truly, really, and entirely delivered, being fully convinced of the falsity thereof, and of the truth of the Christian religion; though some copies, as the Alexandrian, and two of Beza's, and two of Stephens's, read, not "truly", but "a little"; and the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "a very little"; to which agrees the Complutensian edition; and the Syriac version renders it "in a few words", or "almost"; and according to the Ethiopic version, "a few persons" are designed; but be they more or less, and truly, or but a little, and for a little while, or almost, escaped from their former errors, in which they were brought up, and lived; yet by the carnal lusts and liberties, lasciviousness and wantonness, which these false teachers indulged, they were allured, ensnared, and drawn by them into their wicked principles and practices.

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