“For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit“
nor was it in deceit
The third negative in this verse is “deceit.” “Deceit” originally meant bait for fish. We use guile when we fish by using bait that appears like food to the fish. It is not food but a decoy. “Deceit” came to mean cunning, treachery, and any cunning contrivance for deceiving or catching, such as the Trojan horse. It refers to any trick or stratagem, wiles, guile, craft, cunning, treachery.
The gospel team came to Thessalonica in a straightforward manner. No trickery was used in the preaching itself (2 Corinthians 4:2; 2:17; cf. John 1:47). Paul never used guile (2 Corinthians 12:16).
Secular literature used “deceit” for a huckster. They used this word for a tavern keeper of the ancient world who would water down the wine of an inebriated person. Some also water down the Word. They use guile and tricks with the message of Christ. These are spiritual hucksters.
Paul did not peddle sexual license by encouraging people to indulge themselves in pleasure. Such doctrine attracted a big following on that day. Others promised prosperity. He did not appeal to their greed. Paul was above reproach in his methods. He never used the end to justify the means. God’s approval was the ultimate test for the way Paul did ministry.
Authenticity in content and delivery are the essence of the gospel.
Part and parcel of ministry is its environment of integrity. Those who minister should never do it for self-centered reasons. Both authentic content and delivery are at the heart of delivering the gospel message. We live it and state it straight. True ministry is the ability to communicate from truth and integrity (2 Corinthians 4:2).
“But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
When communicators of the gospel use guile, deceit, and delusion, this is duplicity, two-facedness, and hypocrisy. Non-Christians can see the phoniness of it all. They should see that we set forth the truth in an unadulterated fashion.