Some in the church today suggest that it doesn't matter what we teach, one teaching is as good another, as long as one is sincere. That cannot be right--contradictory information cannot be accepted as truth. Some things are impossible: 2+2 cannot equal 4 and 5 at the same time. The theorem, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, is true in plane geometry and false in solid geometry, but that is not a contradiction.
Peter's says that there is an authentic word from God--focused in Jesus, verified by eyewitnesses, a majestic and God-honoring word, given according to God's promise, the dawning of a new day, not of human origin although humans were involved, the word of God given by God even as in past times by the Holy Spirit. God's word is authentic, valid, must be heard. Against this background, Peter warns of false teachers (prophets).
The meaning of the Old Testament word nabi, and New Testament word, prophet, is to carry forward or carry along. This thought is found in 2 Pet. 1:19-21. Prophets were forth-tellers, for-tellers, and fore-tellers.
In the New Testament we are told to distinguish false prophets, Mt 7:15; 1 Jn 4:1ff. Peter is concerned about how to identify false prophets and about their influence upon God's people.
Peter's instructions suggest that we cannot overemphasize the importance of correct teaching (sound or healthy) that bases lives on the foundation of truth. Objective truth exists, true whether it is recognized or not (Jn. 8:32; 17:17; 2 Tim. 1:13; 1 Tim. 4:16; Tit. 2:1). Certainly we want to teach right, believe right, live right.
How do we know what is true? God's word is true, but it requires diligent study to identify departures from truth (1 Tim. 4:11-16; 2 Pet. 1:19-21). This study continues the emphasis on knowledge in Peter.
We must be perpetually on guard. The study of 2 Peter 2 continues Chap. 1.
How can I distinguish the false from the true? (1) By knowing the Bible, the things being taught; (2) by knowing the teacher, the distinguishing characteristics of false teachers.
Descriptions of the False Teachers
Analyzing the descriptions of the false teachers helps one understand the damage that results from false teaching.
What we teach matters because God will destroy false teachers and false teachings, 1-5
Judgment is certain, we can see the certainty of their judgment, 2:1-10, 13
Three concepts are connected: divisive, denying, destruction
The result of their activity is destruction, vv. 2-3
What we teach matters because false teachings bring distress to truly righteous people, 5-8
-3- BE DISTINCT
What we teach matters because God distinguishes the true from the false, 9.
In vv. 4-9, we can see the punishment or judgment of their activity, vv. 4-9
The DANGER of the false teachers. We must follow true teaching. Doctrine is reflected by activity or conduct, vv. 10-16. They even dare to sin; they are bold and malicious, 2:10ff
Doctrine leads to conduct, it is equally as possible to hear, believe, and obey a lie as it is to hear, believe, and obey the truth. Notice again the descriptive phrases just from this section.
Consider the DESTINY of the false teachers, and those who follow them, vv. 19-22. God will deal with false teachers, vv. 1,3,4-9, 13, 19ff.
When we consider their influence, we can see some of the danger, 18-22
Have no fellowship, Eph. 5:11, with false teaching
Be a student of God's Word, teach what is right
Take heed lest ye fall, be constantly on guard