“"Damnable Heresies"”

Categories: Bible, Compromise, Expository Study, False Doctrine, Jesus Christ, Lies/Lying, New Testament, Old Testament, Peter, Power, Preaching, Truth

            When Peter warned the Christians about the false teachers they would face, he said that these people would bring with them “damnable heresies” (II Pet. 2:1). “Damnable” in this verse means something that brings destruction or ruin.  “Heresies” in this passage is a reference to the opinions or dogma that these false teachers espoused. While the KJV (Bishop’s, Geneva, etc.) uses the term, “damnable heresies,” other versions use such phrases as:

  • “Destructive heresies” (ASV, NAS, ESV, ISV, NET, RV, WEB)
  • “Wrong teachings for your destruction” (BBE)
  • “Harmful lies” (CEV)
  • “They will teach things that are wrong—ideas that will cause people to be lost” (ERV)
  • “Destructive, untrue doctrines” (GNB)
  • “Fatal divisions” (Weymouth).

            I list these versions for a side-by-side comparison. There is no Bible version I am aware of that says that false teachers would bring in harmless teachings, or teach doctrines that had no eternal consequence if followed. In every case, we see that false teachers were teaching things that had horrible implications for the hearers.

            When we read passages like II Peter 2:1, we become aware of God’s attitude toward false teachers and false teaching. God makes it clear that there is such a thing as right and wrong or truth and error. In the post-modern world we live in, the majority deny that right and wrong exist. Not so with God! He doesn’t say, “Everyone has their truth, and we need to let them express it.” He doesn’t say that all people’s actions are equally valid and deserve our respect. Instead, He says there were some people in the long ago, and some today who were false teachers and brought damnable, or destructive heresies (doctrines). He further teaches that Christians ought not to listen to any of it! He said they had ulterior motives (v. 3) and their “damnation slumbereth not”!

            Let us be on guard for false doctrines and the destruction that follows. Let us spend time in God’s Book daily, so we know truth from error (Jn. 17:17) and can prepare ourselves for an eternity with God one day!.

- Jarrod M. Jacobs