It is fitting that we get to 2 Peter 2 on a Sunday morning. This chapter is a very strong warning against the doctrine and deception of false teachers. Peter begins this chapter by warning of the reality of false teaching and false teachers. Unfortunately, I suspect that most of the false teaching that goes on in the world today happens on Sunday morning. As a teacher of the Bible I recognize my own inability to completely grasp and articulate the truth and power of the words of God. But what I think Peter has in mind here are those who willfully do it. Note his words in verse 1: “who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…” Peter seems to have deception in his mind more than ignorance or lack of understanding. He then goes on to describe the doom of these false teachers, describing how they would be judged by God. These words echo the words of James when he describes that teachers will receive a stricter judgment (James 3:1). For Peter the false teaching originates out of a depravity, a life that has not been transformed by God, but a life that serves its own purposes and passions. This false teaching leads many people astray. In verses 18-19 Peter writes this: 18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. Note the imagery of “great swelling words of emptiness”. What a chilling indictment from Peter.
Of course, the good news is that you don’t have to fall prey to false teachers. You have access to the very words of God and many, many great resources to help you to learn and experience the truth of God’s word for yourself. I strongly encourage you to read the bible on your own. Get a good study bible to help you with the historical and literary context. You need not be negatively influenced by false teachers but without regular and consistent exposure to the bible, you are more susceptible to being led astray.