“For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit“
In this verse, Paul denies three allegations against his team about their message, morals and manner of communication.
Fierce antagonism did not discourage Paul and his team. He was in the business of pleasing God, not people. God entrusted him with the gospel. Accordingly, certain questionable practices common among unsound religious leaders found no place in his evangelistic labors.
It is amazing how much we can learn from negatives. Verse three begins a series of negatives that deal with the quality of ministry.
For our exhortation
The word “for” indicates Paul’s basis for boldness. When Paul and his team came to Thessalonica, they did not employ error, uncleanness or deceit.
did not come from error
First, Paul says that his gospel team’s message was not “from error.” The word “error” means wandering, roaming. This is error as opposed to deceit. Paul’s gospel team did not wander from the path of truth. They were under no delusions or deceptions when it came to truth. Never did they cause someone to hold a wrong view of God or mislead them about God’s Word.
“Error” has the idea of roaming off the right path in doctrine (James 5:20; 2 Peter 3:17; 1 John 4:6) or morals (Romans 1:27; 2 Peter 2:18; Jude 11). The Bible never divides doctrine and morals by a sharp line.
Concerning his message, Paul’s exhortations to those without Christ did not spring from a creed of error. His appeals did not reveal the ranting of a deluded fanatic. He did not peddle private revelation. A plethora of people peddle their own viewpoints in the church today. Paul did not come with his own viewpoint; he came with the Word of God.
Paul’s preaching was accurate. He set forth truth as it was rather than what he wanted it to be.
We must set forth truth as it is rather than the way we want it to be.
We should not manipulate Scripture for the sake of elegance in preaching. We simply set forth truth as it is. Our preaching should be as accurate as the multiplication table.
“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).
We must never alter or water down the Word or the gospel. Inaccurately stating of God’s Word will ruin its message.