"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destriction." 2 Peter 2:1 ESV

2 Peter 1:8 Lord is kyriou

2 Peter 1:11 Lord is kyriou

also 1:14; 1:16; 2:9; 2:11; 2:20; 3:20 and so on Lord is kyriou.

but in 2 Peter 2:1 "Master" is "despoten"."

Who is the "master" here?

A. The Lord Jesus Christ who paid/bought with His life?

B. An analogical master who buys some slaves with money, or at least, not with his life?

He becomes a master by having slaves, but the slaves do not acknowledge his ownership. What should the owner do with them? The point of the analogy is not what was or was not paid, but what should a master do with recalcitrant slaves.

Is the "master" A. Literal [the Master] or B. Analogical [a master]?

[There is another question on this site regarding this verse but I think it tends to assume that we all know and are agreed on the answer to the question I am asking here].

4 Answers 4


The analogy is correct and intended: 1) master (B) buys by money slave from another owner for owning and exploiting him; 2) Christ (A) "buys" mankind "owned" by sin and Satan by His own precious blood, putting His own life as the ransom.

But there is an infinite difference and divine irony:

A bought slave a) is fully under mastership of a master without his choice; moreover, b) the master is not at all obliged to the slave the money having been paid not for the sake of the slave, but for the sake of his, the buyer's, own satisfaction and gratification.

On the contrary, when the Lord bought mankind by His own blood a) the mankind still remains free to accept His ransom or not, and indeed, some accept it being converted and baptized, some - not; b) The Master, Lord Jesus Christ, even after buying the mankind remains a servant of mankind (cf. John 13:13-14), promising His "slaves" to always be with them (Matthew 28:20), always aid them (John 15:5), making Himself absolutely and infinitely responsible to them, "fettering" Himself without any prospect of liberation, with a promise that He will lead them, His slaves, to eternal salvation and bliss; thus, ironically, making Himself the Slave of the "slaves" He bought with His blood; thus, His blood was "paid" not for His, the Master's sake, but for the sake of the bought ones, the "slaves".

But the image of "slave" is pertinent, for as slave radically belongs to the master (2 Cor. 5:15), albeit without any notion of reciprocal communication in love and freedom, in Christ's and humanity's case a Christian makes himself radically belonging to Christ, who loved humanity more than Himself, but already in reciprocal love and freedom.


The operative word here is δεσπότης (despotés) which occurs 10 times in the NT. Strictly speaking, δεσπότης (despotés) is the legal controller of slaves or the master of a city. It is used in the NT as follows (as per BDAG)

  • Master of slaves: 1 Tim 6:1, 2, Titus 2:9, 1 Peter 2:18
  • God as "sovereign Lord": Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24, Rev 6:10
  • Of Christ as "sovereign Lord": 2 Peter 2:1, Jude 4 (see also Luke 2:29)
  • Master of a household (parabolic/metaphorical), 2 Tim 2:21

In 2 Peter 2:1 we have the the phrase, "Master who bought them". This is a direct reference to the price of redemption paid by Christ who "bought" our salvation and is referenced in other places:

  • 1 Cor 6:20 - you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.
  • 1 Cor 7:23 - you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.
  • Rev 5:9 - And they sang a new song: “Worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, because You were slain, and by Your blood You purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
  • Rev 14:3 - And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
  • Cambridge B. for S.and C. commentary ["as a master buys a slave"] allows possibility of analogy, and others too. I see your answer as helpful +1. But as far as I can see, your answer does not admit the possibility, that Cambridge and Maclaren's commentaries might have a point.
    – C. Stroud
    Dec 15, 2021 at 13:49

The preceding verses give this away. God, God the Father. 2Pet 1:17

For no prophecy at any time was brought by the will of man, but men spoke from God, being carried by the holy spirit. v21

The subject is prophecy, which God oversaw.

THEN we get the "but" in 2Pet 2:1 which follows on from the prophecies God originated and delivered.

even denying the Master (God) having bought them (the false prophets)

Basically they (false prophets) are denying the prophecy, the words God provided and have reinvented their own 'heresies' and fables which lead to destruction.

Who is the "master" here? God.

  • In 2 Peter 2:1 I think "master" ultimately means God. But directly or by way of an analogy? In 1 Peter 2:18 the masters/despotais have servants. i.e. an earlier letter has this possibility.
    – C. Stroud
    Dec 14, 2021 at 21:11
  • Have you read Maclaren's Expositions on this verse? It talks of slave-markets. If an analogical sense is taken then interpreting the analogy can be overstretched to include things not originally intended. e.g. what price was paid?
    – C. Stroud
    Dec 14, 2021 at 21:31
  • Are we examining the text or a commentary? The text is unambiguous. Ironically, the whole passage warns against making stuff up.
    – Steve
    Dec 14, 2021 at 21:34
  • I am not convinced yet that your answer has ruled out every chance of analogy here. Maybe it has and I have not seen it.
    – C. Stroud
    Dec 14, 2021 at 21:42
  • I understand. Much of the Q content seems quite unrelated to the text. So maybe I missed something in your enquiry - or perhaps it need to be asked a bit differently - you usually ask quite useful Q's, this doesn't seem to be one of them to me.
    – Steve
    Dec 14, 2021 at 21:44

**What sort of "master" is mentioned in 2 Peter 2:1?

A. The "Master", is the Lord Jesus Christ who paid/bought with His life.**

Jude 4 NASB

4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand [a]marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into indecent behavior and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master [ is Jesus] who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction." 2 Peter 2:1 ESV Insert [Jesus] in bold mine.

Matthew 24:45-46 NASB

45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his [a]master put in charge of his household slaves, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.

  • Ozzie Previous letter 1 Peter 2:18 "Servants be subject to your masters/despotais" might be in the minds of those reading 2 Peter?
    – C. Stroud
    Dec 20, 2021 at 22:22
  • C. Stroud : No the context does not allow this. The apostle Peter draws a parallel between the apostasy from Christianity and that which occurred in the natural house of Israel. He said: 2 Peter 2:1-3 NASB] “ 1 But false prophets also appeared among the people,[ISRAEL] just as there will also be false teachers among you,[CHRISTIANS] who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. The words [ISRAEL AND CHRISTIANS} Entered in verse by me, read also Vs 2 and 3, Tks Dec 21, 2021 at 18:12

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