by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;
In verses 8-10, there are nine pairs of paradoxes. People responded to Paul’s team in opposite ways. The first three deal with the physical, the second three, set forth the mental, and the third three, are spiritual things. There are nine antitheses in this section. One side of the antithesis is an evaluation of Paul’s team, and the other side is the reality of their situation.
8 by honor and dishonor [disgrace],
The team experienced both reception and rejection of their ministry. Their reputations had extreme swings. Some people will approve of their ministry, but others will disapprove. Their friends will give them praise and receive ignominy from their foes. Nevertheless, the team never compromised the integrity of their message.
by evil report and good report;
Reports about their ministry had the extremes of both bad and good reports. Some spoke well of them, but others gave them poor reports.
as deceivers, and yet true [genuine];
Some people viewed the team as genuine ministers of the gospel, and others regarded them as fakers and imposters.
Spiritual equilibrium is vital to a healthy ministry.
Those in ministry cannot concern themselves with their subjective critics. It is also essential to not pay attention to any fame that may come their way. Whether we receive abuse in ministry or acceptance, we keep an even keel; otherwise, the minister will live a roller coaster life. There are many swings in ministry. Every ministry will receive both praise and misrepresentations.
However, amid all the adulation and criticisms, it is imperative that people in ministry maintain their integrity. We continue ministry, whether deflated with dishonor or elated with honor. Neither influences the effect of our ministry. Ministry cannot depend on the opinions of others. People may damage our reputation, but they should never affect our character. Character will vindicate ministry.