1. As there were false prophets in the past history of our people, so you too will have your false teachers, who will insinuate their own disruptive views and, by disowning the Lord who bought them freedom, will bring upon themselves speedy destruction.
2. Many will copy their debauched behaviour, and the Way of Truth will be brought into disrepute on their account.
3. In their greed they will try to make a profit out of you with untrue tales. But the judgement made upon them long ago is not idle, and the destruction awaiting them is for ever on the watch.
4. When angels sinned, God did not spare them: he sent them down into the underworld and consigned them to the dark abyss to be held there until the Judgement.
5. He did not spare the world in ancient times: he saved only Noah, the preacher of uprightness, along with seven others, when he sent the Flood over a world of sinners.
6. He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by reducing them to ashes as a warning to future sinners;
7. but rescued Lot, an upright man who had been sickened by the debauched way in which these vile people behaved-
8. for that upright man, living among them, was outraged in his upright soul by the crimes that he saw and heard every day.
9. All this shows that the Lord is well able to rescue the good from their trials, and hold the wicked for their punishment until the Day of Judgement,
10. especially those who follow the desires of their corrupt human nature and have no respect for the Lord's authority. Such self-willed people with no reverence are not afraid of offending against the glorious ones,
11. but the angels in their greater strength and power make no complaint or accusation against them in the Lord's presence.
12. But these people speak evil of what they do not understand; they are like brute beasts, born only to be caught and killed, and like beasts they will be destroyed, being injured in return for the injuries they have inflicted.
13. Debauchery even by day they make their pleasure; they are unsightly blots, and amuse themselves by their trickery even when they are sharing your table;
14. with their eyes always looking for adultery, people with an insatiable capacity for sinning, they will seduce any but the most stable soul. Where greed is concerned they are at their peak of fitness. They are under a curse.
15. They have left the right path and wandered off to follow the path of Balaam son of Bosor, who set his heart on a dishonest reward, but soon had his fault pointed out to him:
16. a dumb beast of burden, speaking with a human voice, put a stop to the madness of the prophet.
17. People like this are dried-up springs, fogs swirling in the wind, and the gloom of darkness is stored up for them.
18. With their high-sounding but empty talk they tempt back people who have scarcely escaped from those who live in error, by playing on the disordered desires of their human nature and by debaucheries.
19. They may promise freedom but are themselves slaves to corruption; because if anyone lets himself be dominated by anything, then he is a slave to it;
20. and anyone who has escaped the pollution of the world by coming to know our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and who then allows himself to be entangled and mastered by it a second time, ends up by being worse than he was before.
21. It would have been better for them never to have learnt the way of uprightness, than to learn it and then desert the holy commandment that was entrusted to them.
22. What they have done is exactly as the proverb rightly says: The dog goes back to its vomit and: As soon as the sow has been washed, it wallows in the mud.