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2 Corinthians 2:17

    2 Corinthians 2:17 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    For we are not as the many, corrupting the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    For we are not like the great number who make use of the word of God for profit: but our words are true, as from God, being said as before God in Christ.

    Webster's Revision

    For we are not as the many, corrupting the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.

    World English Bible

    For we are not as so many, peddling the word of God. But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    For we are not as the many, corrupting the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.

    Clarke's Commentary on 2 Corinthians 2:17

    For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God - God has made Us sufficient for these things by giving us his own pure doctrine, the ministry of reconciliation, which we conscientiously preserve and preach; and we act, not like many among you, who, having received that doctrine, corrupt it; mingling with it their own inventions, and explaining away its force and influence, so as to accommodate it to men of carnal minds.

    The word καπηλευοντες, from καπηλος, a tavernkeeper, signifies acting like an unprincipled vintner; for this class of men have ever been notorious for adulterating their wines, mixing them with liquors of no worth, that thereby they might increase their quantity; and thus the mixture was sold for the same price as the pure wine. Isaiah 1:22, Thy wine is mixed with water, the Septuagint thus translate: οἱ καπηλοι σου μισγουσι τον οινον ὑδατι· "Thy vintners mix thy wine with water;" that is, thy false prophets and corrupt priests adulterate the word of God, and render it of none effect, by their explanations and traditions.

    The word has been used, both among the Greeks and Latins, to signify a prostitution of what was right and just, for the sake of gain. So Herodian, lib. vi. cap. 11; Ειρηνην χρυσιου καπηλευοντες, "Making peace for money." So cauponari bellum is, "To make war for money." In short, the word is used to signify any artifice employed to get gain by making a thing look more or better than it is; or mingling that which is excellent with what is not so to promote the gain of the adulterater.

    It is used by Aristophanes, Plut. Act. iv., scene 5, ver. 1064, to express an old woman who was patched and painted to hide her deformity.

    Ου δητ', επει μεν νυν καπηλικως εχει·

    Ει δ' εκπλυνειται τουτο το ψιμυθιον,

    Οψει καταδηλα του προσωπου γε τα ῥακη.

    Not at all; the old woman is painted:

    If the paint were washed off, then you

    Would plainly see her wrinkled face.

    Where see the note of the Scholiast, who observes that the term is applied to those who deal in clothes, patching, mending, etc., as well as to those who mix bad wine with good. Καπηλικως εχει· Πανουργικως· επει οἱ καπηλοι χριειν και αναποιειν τα ἱματια ειωθασι, και τον οινον δε νωθυλευουσι, συμμιγνυντες αυτῳ σαπρον. Vid. Kusteri Aristoph., page 45.

    But as of sincerity - Εξ ειλικρινειας. See the note on 2 Corinthians 1:12. We receive the doctrine pure from God; we keep it pure, and deliver it in its purity to mankind. For we speak in Christ - in the things of his Gospel, as being in the sight of God - our whole souls and all their motives being known to him. As the unprincipled vintner knows that he adulterates the wine, his conscience testifying this; so we know that we deliver the sincere truth of God, our conscience witnessing that we deliver it to you, as we receive it, by the inspiration of the Spirit of truth.

    1. That St. Paul was a man of a very tender and loving spirit is evident from all his epistles; but especially from this, and particularly from the chapter before us. It was not an easy thing with him to give a reproof; and nothing but a sense of his duty to God and his Church could have led him to use his apostolical power, to inflict spiritual punishment on transgressors. He felt like a loving and tender father, who, being obliged to correct his froward and disobedient child, feels in his own heart the pain of a hundred blows for that occasioned by one laid on the body of his son. There are some ministers who think nothing of cutting off members from the Church of Christ; they seem to do it, if not cheerfully, yet with indifference and unconcern! How can this be? Nothing but absolute duty to God should induce any man to separate any person from the visible Church; and then it must be on the conviction that the case is totally hopeless. And who, even in those circumstances, that knows the worth of a soul, can do it without torture of heart?

    2. We must not only love the doctrines, but also the morality of the Gospel. He who loves this will not corrupt it; but, as Quesnel says truly, in order to love the truth a man must practice it; as in order to practice it he must love it. That a minister, says he, may preach the word of God in such a manner as is worthy of him, he must, with St. Paul, be always mindful of these three things:

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    Barnes' Notes on 2 Corinthians 2:17

    For we are not as many - This refers doubtless to the false teachers at Corinth; and to all who mingled human philosophy or tradition with the pure word of truth. Paul's design in the statement in this verse seems to be to affirm that he had such a deep sense of the responsibility of the ministerial office, and of its necessary influence on the eternal destiny of man, that it led him to preach the simple gospel, the pure word of God. He did not dare to dilute it with any human mixture. He did not dare to preach philosophy, or human wisdom. He did not dare to mingle with it the crude conceptions of man. He sought to exhibit the simple truth as it was in Jesus; and so deep was his sense of the responsibility of the office, and so great was his desire on the subject, that he had been enabled to do it. and to triumph always in Christ. So that, although he was conscious that he was in himself unfit for these things, yet by the grace of God he had been able always to exhibit the simple truth, and his labors had been crowned with constant and signal success.

    Which corrupt the word of God - Margin, "deal deceitfully with." The word used here (καπηλεύοντες kapēleuontes) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and does not occur in the Septuagint. The word is derived from κάπηλος kapēlos, which signifies properly a huckster, or a retailer of wine, a petty chapman; a man who buys up articles for the purpose of selling them again. It also means sometimes a vintner, or an innkeeper. The proper idea is that of a small dealer and especially in wine. Such persons were notorious, as they are now, for diluting their wines with water (compare the Septuagint in Isaiah 1:22); and for compounding wines of other substances than the juice of the grape for purposes of gain. Wine, of all substances in trade, perhaps, affords the greatest facilities for such dishonest tricks; and, accordingly, the dealers in that article have generally been most distinguished for fraudulent practices and corrupt and diluted mixtures. Hence, the word comes to denote to adulterate; to corrupt, etc. It is here applied to those who adulterated or corrupted the pure word of God in any way, and for any purpose. It probably has particular reference to those who did it either by Judaizing opinions, or by the mixtures of a false and deceitful philosophy. The latter mode would be likely to prevail among the subtle and philosophizing Greeks. It is in such ways that the gospel has been usually corrupted:

    (1) It is done by attempting to attach a philosophical explanation to the facts of revelation, and making the theory as important as the fact.

    (2) by attempting to explain away the offensive points of revelation by the aid of philosophy.

    (3) by attempting to make the facts of Scripture accord with the prevalent notions of philosophy, and by applying a mode of interpretation to the Bible which would fritter away its meaning, and make it mean anything or nothing at pleasure. In these, and in various other ways, people have corrupted the Word of God; and of all the evils which Christianity has ever sustained in this world, the worst have been those which it has received from philosophy, and from those teachers who have corrupted the Word of God. The fires of persecution it could meet, and still be pure; the utmost efforts of princes, and monarchs, and of Satan to destroy it, it has outlived, and has shone purely and brightly amidst all these efforts; but, when corrupted by philosophy, and by "science falsely so called," it has been dimmed in its luster, paralyzed in its aims, and shorn of its power, and has ceased to be mighty in pulling down the strong holds of Satan's kingdom. Accordingly, the enemy of God has ceased to excite persecution, and now aims in various ways to corrupt the gospel by the admixture of philosophy, and of human opinions. Tyndale renders this passage, "For we are not as many are which choppe and change with the word of God" - an idea which is important and beautiful - but this is one of the few instances in which he mistook the sense of the original text. In general, the accuracy of his translation and his acquaintance with the true sense of the Greek text are very remarkable.

    But as of sincerity - Sincerely; actuated by unmingled honesty and simplicity of aim; see the note on 2 Corinthians 1:12.

    As of God - As influenced by him; as under his control and direction; as having been sent by him; as acting by his command; see the note, 2 Corinthians 1:12.

    In the sight of God - As if we felt that his eye was always on us. Nothing is better suited to make a person sincere and honest, than this.

    Speak we in Christ - In the name, and in the service of Christ. We deliver our message with a deep consciousness that the eye of the all-seeing God is on us; that we can conceal nothing from Him; and that we must soon give up our account to Him.

    Remarks

    1. In this chapter, and in the management of the whole case to which Paul here refers, we have an instance of his tenderness in administering discipline. This tenderness was manifested in many ways:

    (1) He did nothing to wound the feelings of the offending party.

    (2) he did nothing in the way of punishment which a stern sense of duty did not demand,

    (3) he did it all with many tears. He wept at the necessity of administering discipline at all. He wept over the remissness of the church. He wept over the fall of the offending brother.

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