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Read Introduction to 2 Corinthians


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.


The context of this verse has to do with the activities of false teachers in the church at Corinth. Paul draws a contrast here between his team’s ministry and that of these deceptive teachers. Sadly, even while Paul founded the church, he had to defend his team against these people.

Paul renounces three dishonorable practices:

-secret, shameful ministry

-all craftiness

misuse of God’s Word

2 But [emphatic]

Paul’s team carry out their ministry by “manifestation of the truth.” This was the reverse of the charge against them that neglected their mission (2 Co 4:1),

we have renounced the hidden things of shame,

Paul’s team was open about their ministry. They had nothing to hide. They denounced anything that would cast shame on Christ (2 Co 2:17). They preached the gospel without the shame of using underhanded methods (Ro 1:16). Shame leads to hiding the truth in an underhanded way. Boldness is honorable. They were always aboveboard and open with their ministries. We can distort truth by underhanded methods.

not walking in craftiness

Gospel ministers do not use trickery either in method or message. They are not disingenuous in ministry. The word “craftiness” carries the idea of ready to do anything to accomplish a purpose. Some people will use a ruse to achieve their ends; they use unscrupulous means. This may involve secret plots (1 Co 3:19; 2 Co 11:3; Eph 4:14).

nor handling the word of God deceitfully [distortedly],

The team never falsified or adulterated the Word of God for their ends. They never tampered with or altered God’s Word. They did not water it down to avoid problems. They never distorted the plain, bald teaching of the Bible.


The manipulation of God’s Word to make it effective violates the integrity of God.


Genuine ministers do not change the message to make it more palatable. There is a temptation to give people what they want to hear rather than what they need. Our job is to serve Christ, not accommodate our message to culture.

The Christian message is mutually exclusive. Many ministers are embarrassed by that. Because of their shame, they are willing to dilute the message by sophistry because of the severity of its content.