Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
April 27, 2014
3 For our exhortation [was] not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God [is] witness:
6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor [yet] of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
1901 ASV Translation:
3 For our exhortation [is] not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
4 but even as we have been approved of God to be intrusted with the gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God who proveth our hearts.
5 For neither at any time were we found using words of flattery, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness, God is witness;
6 nor seeking glory of men, neither from you nor from others, when we might have claimed authority as apostles of Christ.
- I. The Roots of the Gospel in Human Motivation.
- A. In this paragraph, the "Gospel" is here called "our Paraklesis".
- 1. The word "paraklesi" is variously translated in the Authorized Version as "comfort", "consolation", "exhortation", or "entreaty". The reason is that the roots of the word have a scenario in view wherein the one issuing the "paraklesi" is in one place giving forth a "summons" of sorts to another who is in another place that is viewed in terms of why the person is where he/she is and what it will take to get them to respond to the summons.
- a. If the other is ahead of the one calling, the word comes across as "rebuke" because the person is viewed as "running ahead of God" and in need of something to slow them down.
- b. If the other is behind the one calling, the word comes across as "encourage" because the person is viewed as lagging behind because of difficult "baggage" and is in need of a word of "encouragement" to motivate him/her to "step out" with courage and vitality.
- c. If the other is off to one side or another of the one calling, the word comes across as "entreat", or "beseech" because the person is viewed as "distracted" from the course and in need of someone to "pull them back alongside" by means of entreaty, gentle pleading, or "exhortation".
- d. The basic idea is that those being "summoned" are not "alongside of" the one issuing the "summons" [Note the verbal form of this word in 2 Corinthians 5:20 where it is used of all forms of the effort to get someone to be reconciled to God].
- 2. As a summary word for "The Gospel", "paraklesi" tells us the nature and objective of The Gospel.
- a. The Gospel is fundamentally a "summons" (rooted in the verb, "to call").
- b. This objective is not, primarily, to provide a person with a way to escape the consequences of his/her sins (salvation from the wrath to come), though that is clearly in view in many cases (including 1 Thessalonians 1:10). This aspect of the "secondary objectives" level is a matter of "clearing the deck" so that "objections" are moved out of the way of the person receiving the call. God's loving removal of "wrath" is designed at the core to attract men to the reality of His goodness.
- c. This objective is primarily to reconnect God and men so that they may "fellowship" with one another in peace, without contention and strife. God seeks to share Himself with those who will believe in Him and "The Gospel" is His summons to men into relational harmony with Himself. God has created an enormous "relational universe" in which "Life" will abound and "The Gospel" is His way of inviting men to enter.
- d. In 2:12 Paul used the primary root verb of "paraklesi" as another summary word for "The Gospel" as "proclaimed": it is a "call" into His kingdom and glory.
- 1) Galatians 1:6 is specific: the Gospel is a "call" into "grace" so there can be "peace" between men and God (Galatians 1:3).
- 2) 1 Thessalonians 1:1 is a reaffirmation of this very basic reality: grace unto peace.
- B. This "paraklesi" is out of the purest of motives: it seeks nothing for itself and everything for those who are summoned by it.
- 1. God, by definition, has no "need"; thus, He does not do things "to satisfy His needs".
- 2. But, God, also by definition, is "Love"; thus, He does things to meet the needs of others with no limits upon the degree to which He will go, at cost to Himself, in order to accomplish this good.
- 3. This requires that the messengers of the God embrace the same purity of motivation.
- a. There can be no "deceit".
- 1) The "deceitful" chief priests and pharisees came to Pilate, called Jesus a "deceiver" and called the proclamation of resurrection a greater "deceit" than the proclamation that Jesus is the Christ, the King of the Jews (Matthew 27:64).
- 2) Sexual perversion arising out of the rejection of the knowledge of God is called an "error" by Paul in Romans 1:27.
- 3) Ephesians 4:14 calls false doctrine the means of "deceit".
- 4) 2 Thessalonians 2:11 says that God will send a strong "delusion" upon those who reject the Gospel so that they will believe a lie and be condemned.
- 5) 1 John 4:6 places "error" (our term under consideration) in opposition to the "truth".
- 6) Summary: "deceit" is the presentation of false dogma as if it is the truth. In our text, 2:5-6 sets up a parallel three-fold statement of method/motivation that echoes the three-fold characterization of "our summons" in 2:3 ("deceit", "uncleanness", and "guile"). This means that "deceit" parallels "flattering words".
- b. There can be no "uncleanness".
- 1) In Ephesians 5:3 Paul links "uncleanness" to "covetousness" just as he does in our current text.
- 2) The term translated "uncleanness" is typically associated with sexual perversion in the New Testament, so for Paul to tie it to "covetousness" is an interesting development. It is clear from the parallelism that he believes that there is a strong tie between the greediness of covetousness and sexual misconduct.
- c. There can be no "guile".
- 1) This term is used in the New Testament to refer to underhanded trickery in order to pursue a hidden agenda.
- 2) It parallels the concept of trying to obtain the "glory" of men so as to get them to give, and do, things that the seeker wishes to obtain.
- 4. The motives/methods, then, are "deceit/flattering words", "uncleanness/covetousness", and "guile/glory seeking".