From Plainer Words

Peddlers Of The Word Of God

Posted in: 2005
By Tom L. Ballinger
Feb 29, 2008 - 6:46:51 PM

August 10, 2005
“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” (2 Corinthians 2:17).
According to Strong’s Concordance, the word, “corrupt” is; “kapeleuo (kap-ale-yoo'-o); from kapelos (a huckster); to retail, i.e. (by implication) to adulterate (figuratively):”
Notice the following five translations of 2 Corinthians 2:17:
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit … (NIV).
For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God … (NKJV)
For we are not like many, peddling the word of God … (NASU)
For we are not like many, peddling the word of God … (NAS)
For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word … (RSV)
Based upon the translations set forth above, the word, “corrupt,” can be translated as “peddle.” Many, Paul affirmed, made the Gospel a business; they preached for profit. This is certainly true today. Remove the salaries and profits from their “religious” work and many would drop out. Paul stated his motives were sincere and desiring to honor God; as sacrificial and not self-serving.
The notes in the Companion Bible indicate that the word, “many,” means “the majority;” For we are not like the majority, peddling the word of God for profit. It seems throughout the Bible, there were always those who were in the “ministry” for the money, either as a prophet, a scribe, a Pharisee, a priest, or a disciple.
In Paul’s day he admitted that many or the majority of those “ministering” the Word of God were peddling It for profit. Today the preachers for profit are pastors, evangelists, or tel-evangelists. By contrast Paul said; “On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God” (2 Cor. 2:17). (NIV).
The Apostle Peter referred to these “peddlers” of the Word as those who loved the “wages of unrighteousness.”
“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:15).
They knew the “right way” but went astray. Why? The love of money! The root of all evil!
Peter’s description of the “peddlers” was really vivid; “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever” (2 Peter 2:17).
“Wells without water;” in other words, they were dry holes. “Clouds carried with a tempest”—boiling and rumbling clouds that produce nothing but thunder and racket. They have a reservation in the mist of darkness forever.
Demas had been a close associate of the Apostle Paul throughout Paul’s ministry of the Mystery. However, in the end, Demas got “cold feet.”
“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica …” (2 Timothy 4:10).
Demas loved the present age more than the anticipation of the Appearing (Epiphany) of the Kingdom of Christ.
The great Apostle could finally say that; “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Demas may have fought a good fight, but he didn’t finish his course, nor did he keep the faith. He went astray. He didn’t think he could make a living with his Apostle in prison, so, he “hot footed” back to Thessalonica.
Paul didn’t look at his surroundings which were really bleak; neither did he consider his imminent demise. The Lord Jesus Christ taught him to look at the unseen things, which are eternal—not at the temporal things which are seen (2 Cor. 4:18). And, so he did;
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
Demas, evidently, didn’t really love Christ’s Appearing (Epiphany); hence, there will be no “crown of righteousness” for him. Could his lot be in the “mist of darkness?”
We are to know the Truth. It doesn’t come cheap. There is always a cost to bear. But, the Truth we receive is not to be sold as a “peddler.” Students and teachers of the Word should consider the following:
Proverbs 23:23; “Buy the truth, and sell it not.”

Matthew 10:8; “...freely ye have received, freely give.”

1 Corinthians 9:18; “What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.”

2 Corinthians 11:7; “...I have preached to you the gospel of God freely.”

We find, today, that the biggest names in Christian TV are overwhelmingly “Prosperity Preachers.” In fact, a church in Houston, Texas, which is said to have the largest membership in the country (30,000) is pastored by a young “sweet” talking, silver tongued pastor, who is a master Prosperity Preacher. It would seem that so many Christians are truly “sheep.” Their shepherds care more about money than their “flock.” The flock is “fed” feel-good fluff and puff—no strong meat of the Word.

Tom L. Ballinger

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