Verse 2: And many shall follow their pernicious ways (or, lascivious ways, as some copies read); by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
[And many, etc., καὶ πολλοὶ ἐξακολουθήσουσιν αὐτῶν ταῖς ἀπωλείαις] Ἀσελγείαις, lascivious ways, is read by the Complutensian edition and six other Codices (Beza). [They thus render the words:] Many shall follow their destructions (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tirinus, Pagnine, Beza, Piscator, similarly Castalio, Montanus, Zegers, Menochius), that is, destructive doctrines (Piscator, Vorstius, Gerhard, thus Beza, Gomar). Metonymy of effect (Piscator, Gomar). By this expression he removes the scandal of the Apostasy and the multitude, and deters from the contangion of heresies (Gomar). Or, luxuries (Vulgate, Zegers), lewdnesses (Arabic, similarly the Syriac, Æthiopic). For they were granting love-potions, and works of lewdness they were reckoning among thing indifferent: Irenæus and Epiphanius. Theodoret says of them, νόμον τὴν ἀκολασίαν ποιούμενοι, they make licentiousness their law. The same calls Carpocrates and his associates τῆς ἀσελγείας καὶ τῆς παρανομίας διδασκάλους, teachers of lasciviousness and loose living. Augustine says of Carpocrates, He was teaching every shameful work, and all invention of sin. (Grotius).
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; Greek, their destructions, i.e. those ways of error which are attended with destruction (the effect being put for the cause by a metonymy;) and the sense is, that as these false teachers shall bring destruction upon themselves by their heresies; so others, running with them into the same errors, shall fall into the same destruction.
[Through whom (that is, by whose vice and wickedness [Menochius]; because of whoe doctrine and manners [Grotius]) the way of truth (that is, either, 1. Christ, who is both the way and the truth, John 14:6 [certain interpreters in Estius]: or, 2. Christianity [Estius, Menochius, Drusius], or Evangelical doctrine, which is called the way, Acts 19:9 [Grotius, thus Gomar, Gerhard], likewise Acts 9:2; 22:4; 24:14, and the way of salvation, Acts 16:17, and the way of the Lord, Acts 18:25, 26 [Gerhard]: On the other hand, evil habits also go by the name of way, 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11 [Grotius]: Now, the Gospel is called the way of truth, because it is the doctrine of saving truth [Gomar]; or, that is to say, that heavenly truth, which is the particular way to true happiness: Syntax of which sort is found in Romans 4:12, the footsteps of the faith [Piscator]) shall be blasphemed] That is, it shall be harassed with curses (Estius), shall be regarded in an ill manner (Grotius), by occasion of them (Gomar); because they also were wanting to be called Christians, as Irenæus notes “Concerning the Carpocratians. [See the words in Grotius.] Thus also Epiphanius’ Against Heresies 27. A similar thing in Romans 2:24; 1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:5 (Grotius).
By reason of whom; or, by whom, viz. these false teachers, or their followers, or both. The way of truth; the gospel, so called, as being the doctrine of saving truth. It is called the way, Acts 9:2; 19:9; 22:4; the way of salvation, Acts 16:17; the way of God, Acts 18:26. Shall be evil spoken of; blasphemed, whether by false teachers themselves and their followers, or by others taking occasion by them: see Romans 2:24; 1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:5.