2:21 better . . . never to have known the way of righteousness. Deliberate rejection of the truth increases one’s responsibility before God (Luke 12:47, 48). The phrase “to have known the way” refers to an intellectual knowledge of the ethical teachings and mode of life characteristic of Christians (note the phrase “holy commandment”). Their conversion was illusory. Scripture elsewhere teaches that those who are truly regenerate will persevere in the faith (John 10:26–30; cf. 1 John 2:19).