False teaching was a problem in the 1st Century, and remains so in the 21st Century. In this passage the Apostle Peter introduces the concept of false teaching, and demonstrates the very real harm that wrong doctrine can do in the life of the Christian and that of the church.
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1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (KJV)