2 Corinthians 2:17
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
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(17) For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God.—More accurately, We are not as most, as the greater number. There is a ring of sadness in the words. Even then the ways of error were manifold, and the way of truth was one. Among Judaisers, and the seekers after Greek wisdom, asserters of license for liberty, questioners of the resurrection: how few were those who preached the true word of God in its purity! The word for “corrupt,” formed from a word which signifies “huckster” or “tavern-keeper,” implies an adulteration like that which such people commonly practised. We, says St. Paul, play no such tricks of trade with what we preach; we do not meet the tastes of our hearers by prophesying deceits. The very fact that we know the tremendous issues of our work would hinder that. Comp. St. Peter’s use of the same figure in “the sincere (the unadulterated) milk of the reason” (1Peter 2:2). It is doubtful whether the imagery of the triumph is still present to his thoughts. If it were, we may think of the word “corrupt” as connected with the thought of the sweet savour: “Our incense, at any rate, is pure. If it brings death it is through no fault of ours. It is not a poisoned perfume.”

As of sincerity, but as of God.—The two clauses are half connected, half contrasted. To have said “of sincerity” alone would have been giving too much prominence to what was purely subjective. He could not feel sure that he was sincere unless he knew that his sincerity was given to him by God. (For the word “sincerity,” see Note on 2Corinthians 1:12.)

2 Corinthians 2:17. For we are not as many who corrupt — Greek, καπηλευοντες, adulterate, the word of God — Like those vintners who mix their wines with baser liquors. Thus Isaiah says, Isaiah 1:22, (as his words are rendered by the LXX.,) Καπηλοι σου μισγουσι τον οινον υδατι, thy vintners mix their wine with water. By this metaphor the best Greek writers represented the arts of sophists, who, to make gain of their lectures, mixed their doctrine with falsehoods, to render it acceptable to their disciples. The apostle uses this metaphor to show that he and his fellow-labourers did not, like the false teachers referred to 2 Corinthians 11:22-23, corrupt the pure truth of the gospel by falsehoods, for the purpose of pleasing the vitiated taste of their hearers; but preached it in sincerity, without mixture of error, as the expression signifies: as of God — Transmitting his pure word, and not their own word; in the sight of God — As in his presence; remembering that his eye was upon them, and that he marked every word of their tongue; speaking in Christ — Words which he gave, approved, and blessed. 2:12-17 A believer's triumphs are all in Christ. To him be the praise and glory of all, while the success of the gospel is a good reason for a Christian's joy and rejoicing. In ancient triumphs, abundance of perfumes and sweet odours were used; so the name and salvation of Jesus, as ointment poured out, was a sweet savour diffused in every place. Unto some, the gospel is a savour of death unto death. They reject it to their ruin. Unto others, the gospel is a savour of life unto life: as it quickened them at first when they were dead in trespasses and sins, so it makes them more lively, and will end in eternal life. Observe the awful impressions this matter made upon the apostle, and should also make upon us. The work is great, and of ourselves we have no strength at all; all our sufficiency is of God. But what we do in religion, unless it is done in sincerity, as in the sight of God, is not of God, does not come from him, and will not reach to him. May we carefully watch ourselves in this matter; and seek the testimony of our consciences, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, that as of sincerity, so speak we in Christ and of Christ.For we are not as many - This refers doubtless to the false teachers at Corinth; and to all who mingled human philosophy or tradition with the pure word of truth. Paul's design in the statement in this verse seems to be to affirm that he had such a deep sense of the responsibility of the ministerial office, and of its necessary influence on the eternal destiny of man, that it led him to preach the simple gospel, the pure word of God. He did not dare to dilute it with any human mixture. He did not dare to preach philosophy, or human wisdom. He did not dare to mingle with it the crude conceptions of man. He sought to exhibit the simple truth as it was in Jesus; and so deep was his sense of the responsibility of the office, and so great was his desire on the subject, that he had been enabled to do it. and to triumph always in Christ. So that, although he was conscious that he was in himself unfit for these things, yet by the grace of God he had been able always to exhibit the simple truth, and his labors had been crowned with constant and signal success.

Which corrupt the word of God - Margin, "deal deceitfully with." The word used here (καπηλεύοντες kapēleuontes) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and does not occur in the Septuagint. The word is derived from κάπηλος kapēlos, which signifies properly a huckster, or a retailer of wine, a petty chapman; a man who buys up articles for the purpose of selling them again. It also means sometimes a vintner, or an innkeeper. The proper idea is that of a small dealer and especially in wine. Such persons were notorious, as they are now, for diluting their wines with water (compare the Septuagint in Isaiah 1:22); and for compounding wines of other substances than the juice of the grape for purposes of gain. Wine, of all substances in trade, perhaps, affords the greatest facilities for such dishonest tricks; and, accordingly, the dealers in that article have generally been most distinguished for fraudulent practices and corrupt and diluted mixtures. Hence, the word comes to denote to adulterate; to corrupt, etc. It is here applied to those who adulterated or corrupted the pure word of God in any way, and for any purpose. It probably has particular reference to those who did it either by Judaizing opinions, or by the mixtures of a false and deceitful philosophy. The latter mode would be likely to prevail among the subtle and philosophizing Greeks. It is in such ways that the gospel has been usually corrupted:

(1) It is done by attempting to attach a philosophical explanation to the facts of revelation, and making the theory as important as the fact.

(2) by attempting to explain away the offensive points of revelation by the aid of philosophy.

(3) by attempting to make the facts of Scripture accord with the prevalent notions of philosophy, and by applying a mode of interpretation to the Bible which would fritter away its meaning, and make it mean anything or nothing at pleasure. In these, and in various other ways, people have corrupted the Word of God; and of all the evils which Christianity has ever sustained in this world, the worst have been those which it has received from philosophy, and from those teachers who have corrupted the Word of God. The fires of persecution it could meet, and still be pure; the utmost efforts of princes, and monarchs, and of Satan to destroy it, it has outlived, and has shone purely and brightly amidst all these efforts; but, when corrupted by philosophy, and by "science falsely so called," it has been dimmed in its luster, paralyzed in its aims, and shorn of its power, and has ceased to be mighty in pulling down the strong holds of Satan's kingdom. Accordingly, the enemy of God has ceased to excite persecution, and now aims in various ways to corrupt the gospel by the admixture of philosophy, and of human opinions. Tyndale renders this passage, "For we are not as many are which choppe and change with the word of God" - an idea which is important and beautiful - but this is one of the few instances in which he mistook the sense of the original text. In general, the accuracy of his translation and his acquaintance with the true sense of the Greek text are very remarkable.

But as of sincerity - Sincerely; actuated by unmingled honesty and simplicity of aim; see the note on 2 Corinthians 1:12.

As of God - As influenced by him; as under his control and direction; as having been sent by him; as acting by his command; see the note, 2 Corinthians 1:12.

In the sight of God - As if we felt that his eye was always on us. Nothing is better suited to make a person sincere and honest, than this.

Speak we in Christ - In the name, and in the service of Christ. We deliver our message with a deep consciousness that the eye of the all-seeing God is on us; that we can conceal nothing from Him; and that we must soon give up our account to Him.


1. In this chapter, and in the management of the whole case to which Paul here refers, we have an instance of his tenderness in administering discipline. This tenderness was manifested in many ways:

(1) He did nothing to wound the feelings of the offending party.

(2) he did nothing in the way of punishment which a stern sense of duty did not demand,

(3) he did it all with many tears. He wept at the necessity of administering discipline at all. He wept over the remissness of the church. He wept over the fall of the offending brother.


17. not as many—(2Co 11:18; Php 2:21). Rather, "the many," namely, the false teachers of whom he treats (tenth through twelfth chapters, especially 2Co 11:13; 1Th 2:3).

which corrupt—Greek, "adulterating, as hucksters do wine for gain" (2Co 4:2; Isa 1:22; 2Pe 2:3, "Make merchandise of you").

as of sincerity … as of God—as one speaking from (out of) sincerity, as from (that is, by the command of, and so in dependence on) God.

in Christ's—as united to Him in living membership, and doing His work (compare 2Co 12:19). The whole Gospel must be delivered such as it is, without concession to men's corruptions, and without selfish aims, if it is to be blessed with success (Ac 20:27).

Lest the false apostles and teachers in this church should slight this exclamation of the apostle’s, and the pretended difficulty he made of the ministerial work, the apostle adds these words: I confess (saith he) it is no very difficult thing to speak of Christ, and pretend to preach and do as much as I do; but there are many kaphleuontev, we translate it, corrupt the word; the Greek word signifies, to sell wine or victuals for money; and because such kind of people make no conscience to deceive, cheat, and deal fraudulently with their customers, it is sometimes used to signify corrupting or deceiving. We are not (saith the apostle) of the number of those who in preaching merely serve their own bellies, and turn the church into a tavern or victualling house, making a gain of the gospel, and discoursing a little while in a pulpit for gain; and so making no conscience, either what they speak, or how they speak. But we speak by authority from Christ, and in Christ’s name; clothed with his authority, and as his ambassadors; and so dare not say any thing unto people, and deliver to his people what he never gave us any commission to speak, nor yet to speak whatever cometh at our tongue’s end; but we must remember that we are

in the sight of God, and speak as from God of God; and that not fraudulently, but sincerely; sincerely aiming at the glory of God in what we do, and the salvation of the souls of them to whom we speak. This is a great work, first to consult the mind and will of God, and find it out by study and meditation; then faithfully to communicate it unto people, without any vain or corrupt mixtures (which do but adulterate the word preached); then to apply it to the consciences of those that hear us.

Who is sufficient for these things? That is, to discharge the office of the ministry in the preaching of the gospel, as men ought to preach it. For we are not as many,.... The apostle here removes from himself, and other ministers of the Gospel, a character which belonged not to them, but to the false apostles; who are described by their number many; there were great swarms of false teachers in the early times of Christianity; see 1 John 2:18; some copies read, "as the rest": and so the Syriac and Arabic versions; and also by their quality,

which corrupt the word of God; by "the word of God", may be meant the Scriptures in general, which are from God, contain his will, and which he uses for the good of men, and his own glory, and may be corrupted by false glosses, and human mixtures, and by adding to them, or taking from them; or the Gospel in particular, which is the word of truth, of faith, righteousness, reconciliation, and salvation, and which was corrupted by these false teachers, by making merchandise of it; they huckstered the word of God, made gain of it, sought merely their own worldly interest and advantage in it, and so mixed it with their own vain philosophy, to please the carnal ears and hearts of men; they blended law and Gospel, grace and works, in the business of salvation; they did, as peddling merchants do, mix good and bad commodities together, and then vend them for sound ware; or as vintners, who mix their wine with water, and sell it for neat wine. The Septuagint interpreters on Isaiah 1:22, translate the last clause of that verse thus, , "thy vintners mix wine with water"; which may be understood in a moral or spiritual sense; so did these men mix, and hereby corrupt the Gospel, the word of God; and so the Syriac version reads the words "who mix the word of God": now the apostle says, they did not do so; they delivered out the word pure and unmixed, without any corruption or adulteration:

but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, says he,

speak we in Christ; they spoke "in Christ", in the name of Christ, of or concerning him, and him only, and freely, fully, and plainly, as God's free gift, and the only way of salvation without the works of men: and they spoke, "as of sincerity"; what they delivered was the sincere milk of the word; the manner in which they did it was sincere, with all integrity and faithfulness; and so were their views, which were not their own profit and applause, but the glory of God and the good of souls; they spoke in Christ, and with all sincerity, "as of God"; by whom they were called and sent forth to speak in his name, and from whom they received the Gospel, and gifts, and abilities to preach it; and all this they did, in the sight of God, as the searcher of hearts, and to whom they knew they must give an account of their ministry another day.

For we are not as many, which {l} corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

(l) We do not handle it craftily and covetously, or less sincerely than we ought. And he uses a metaphor, which is taken from hucksters, who used to play the false harlot with whatever came into their hands.

2 Corinthians 2:17. The answer to the foregoing question is not to be supplied, so that it should be conceived as negative (εἰ δὲ μὴ ἱκανοὶ, χάριτος τὸ γινόμενον, Chrysostom, Neander, Hofmann, and others), but it is given, though indirectly, in 2 Corinthians 2:17 itself, inasmuch as the expression introduced by γάρ readily suggests to the reader the conclusion, that the subjects of ἐσμεν, i.e. Paul and his like, are the ἱκανοί, and that the πολλοί are not so. See Klotz, ad Devar. p. 240; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 83. If Paul had wished to convey in his question the negative statement, “No one is capable of this,” he could not but have added a limiting ἀφʼ ἑαντοῦ or the like (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:5), in order to place the reader in the right point of vie.

οἱ πολλοί] the known many, the anti-Pauline teachers.[153] Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:13; Php 3:18. See on οἱ πολλοί “de certis quibusdam et definitis multis,” Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 603; comp. also Romans 12:5. To understand by it the majority of the Christian teachers in general, is to throw a shadow on the apostolic church, which its history as known to us at least does not justif.

καπηλεὺοντες] belongs to ἐσμέν. The verb means (1) to carry on the business of a κάπηλος, a retailer, particularly a vintner; (2) to negotiate; (3) to practise usury with anything (τὶ), in particular, by adulteration, since the κάπηλοι adulterated the wine (LXX. Isaiah 1:22), and in general, had an evil reputation for cheating (κάπηλα τεχνήματα, Aesch. Fragm. 328 D). In this sense the word is also used by the Greeks of intellectual objects, as Plato, Protag. p. 313 D: οἱ τὰ μαθήματακαπηλεύοντες. Comp. Lucian, Hermot 59: φιλόσοφοι ἀποδίδονται τὰ μαθήματα ὥσπερ οἱ κάπηλοι, κερασάμενοί γε οἱ πολλοὶ καὶ δολώσαντες καὶ κακομετροῦντες. Philostr 16: τὴν σοφίαν καπηλεύειν. So also here: comp. the opposite ἐξ εἰλικρ. and 2 Corinthians 4:2. Hence: we practise no deceitful usury with the word of God, as those do, who, with selfish intention, dress up what they preach as the word of God palatably and as people wish to hear it, and for that end τὰ αὐτῶν ἀναμιγνύουσι τοῖς θείοις, Chrysostom. Comp. 2 Peter 2:3. Such are named in Ignat. Trall. (Interpol.) 6, comp. 10, χριστέμποροι, and are described as τὸν ἰὸν προσπλέκοντες τῆς πλάνης τῇ γλυκείᾳ προσηγορίᾳ.

ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐξ εἰλικρ.] but we speak (λαλοῦμεν) as one speaks from sincerity of mind (which has no dealings with adulteration), so that what we speak proceeds from an honest heart and thought. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:12. ὡς is as in John 1:14. On ἐκ, compare John 3:31; John 8:44; 1 John 4:5.

ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐκ θεοῦ] but as one speaks from God (who is in the speaker), as θεόπνευστος. Comp. Matthew 10:20; 1 Corinthians 14:25; 2 Corinthians 5:20. The ἀλλά is repeated in the lively climax of the thought. Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:11, and see on 1 Corinthians 6:11. Rückert strangely wishes to connect it with τὸν λόγον, and to supply ὄντα. So also Estius (“tanquam profectum et acceptum a Deo”), Emmerling, and others. That is, in fact, impossible after ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐξ εἰλικρ.

κατέναντι θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ] Since neither ἀλλά nor ὡς is repeated before κατέναντι, Paul himself indicates the connection and division: “but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak before God in Christ,” so that the commas after the twice-occurring θεοῦ are, with Lachmann and Tischendorf, to be deleted. This in opposition to the opinion cherished also by Hofmann, that κατέναντι θεοῦ and ἐν Χριστῷ are two modal definitions of λαλοῦμεν, running parallel with the foregoing point.

κατέναντι θεοῦ] before God, with the consciousness of having Him present as witness. Comp. Romans 4:17.

ἐν Χριοτῷ] can neither mean Christi nomine (Grotius, comp. Luther, Estius, Calovius, Zachariae, Heumann, Schulz, Rosenmüller), nor de Christo (Beza, Cornelius a Lapide, Morus, Flatt), nor secundum Christum (Calvin), but it is the habitually employed expression in Christo. We speak in Christo, in so far as Christ is the sphere in which our speaking moves. Comp. 2 Corinthians 12:19; Romans 9:1. In Him we live and move with our speaking, οὐδὲν τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ σοφίᾳ ἀλλὰ τῇ παρʼ ἐκείνου δυνάμει ἐνηχούμενοι, Chrysostom.

[153] Not merely the anti-Pauline Gentile-teachers, as Hofmann with the reading εἱ λοιποί arbitrarily limits it. It was among the Jewish-Christians that the most of those were found whom Paul had to regard as falsifiers of the word, and who every-where pushed themselves into the sphere of his labours.2 Corinthians 2:17. οὐ γάρ ἐσμεν ὡς κ.τ.λ.: for we are not as the many, viz., the ordinary teachers with whom you meet. The indirect reference is to his opponents at Corinth, though they are not named. At least he is more worthy to fill the high office of which he has been speaking than many who would be only too glad to usurp his authority; cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:5 for similar comparisons.—καπηλεύοντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ: who adulterate the word of God, i.e., the Divine message as revealed in the Gospel (the usual sense in the N.T. of ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:2 and 2 Timothy 2:15). κάπηλος (Sir 26:29) is “a huckster,” and is used in Isaiah 1:22 of one who adulterates wine; so the primary sense of καπηλεύειν is “to make merchandise of” (R.V. margin), which readily passed into “to corrupt” or “adulterate” for the purposes of trade.—ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐξ εἰλικρινείας f1κ.τ.λ.: but as of sincerity (our subjective attitude of mind), but as of God (the objective source of our message and of our commission to speak), in the sight of God (sc., in the consciousness of His presence; cf. 2 Corinthians 2:10 above), speak we in Christ, sc., as members of Christ’s Body, in fellowship with Him. This solemn and impressive confirmation of what has been said is repeated, chap. 2 Corinthians 12:19, κατέναντι Θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ λαλοῦμεν.17. For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God] The original makes ‘many’ definite with the article, thus clearly pointing out the false teachers, against whom so much of this and the former Epistle is directed. The word of God may be corrupted (1) by the admixture of foreign doctrines, e. g. those of the Judaizers, who grafted on Christianity the alien doctrine of the universal obligation of the Jewish law, (2) by degrading the doctrine of Christ into a system of argument and disputation (1 Corinthians 1:17-31; 1 Corinthians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 1 Corinthians 2:14), and (3) by the introduction of personal objects, such as influence, authority, the praise of men (1 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 10:12; 2 Corinthians 11:18; Galatians 4:17). The word here translated corrupt occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is derived from a substantive equivalent in meaning to our higgler or huckster, especially a dealer in wine (See the LXX. of Isaiah 1:22. The word is not in the Hebrew), and hence from the dishonest practices of these small dealers it has come, by a process somewhat similar to that of our reproachful terms ‘higgling’ or ‘huckstering,’ to mean adulterate, i.e. to mix what should be pure with worthless or even deleterious substances.

but as of sincerity, but as of God] See note on 2 Corinthians 1:12. The word is here opposed to the idea of corrupting by admixture. The Apostle does not lose sight even here of the truth to which he returns in ch. 2 Corinthians 3:5, that his purity of heart is a supernatural gift. If he preaches Christ of sincerity, it is because the power to do so comes from God, Who gave the mission.

in the sight of God] A task imposed by God, and performed with the consciousness that His All-seeing Eye is upon those whom He has sent.

speak we in Christ] St Paul, throughout the whole of this chapter, has had in view the vindication of himself from any ulterior motives or lower principles of action in preaching Christ. His sole object is to minister Him. He desires nothing for himself. If he rebukes, it is for the offender’s sake. If he tests the obedience of the Church, it is because he is set over it for its benefit, not for his. If he preaches the word of God, it is by virtue of an inspiration from Him, whereby he preaches simply and faithfully the words put in his mouth by Christ. His doctrine is of God, delivered as in His sight, and spoken in Christ.2 Corinthians 2:17. Οἱ πολλοὶ, the many) so 2 Corinthians 11:18. הָרַבִּים, 1 Kings 18:25. The article has force; the many, most men, ἄοσμοι, void of savour: comp. Php 2:21.—καπηλεύοντες [cauponantes]) corrupting [adulterating for gain]; men who do not make it their aim to show forth as much virtue [as much of the power of the Gospel] as possible, but to make gain by it. These men speak of Christ, but not as “from [of] God,” and “in the sight of God.” κάπηλοι, [caupones], vintners, select their merchandise from different quarters; they adulterate it; they manage it with a view to profit. The apostles deal otherwise with the word of God; for they speak as of God, and as of sincerity, and so as to approve themselves unto God. δολοῦντες, adulterating, 2 Corinthians 4:2 [Engl. Vers., handling deceitfully], is a synonymous expression, and also ἐμπορεύεσθαι, to make merchandise of, 2 Peter 2:3.—ἐξ εἰλικρινείας, of sincerity) We give our whole attention to [our whole aim is] the word of God by itself.—ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐκ, but as of) a gradation [ascending climax], but being repeated; as is explanatory.[14]—κατενώπιονΛΑΛΟῦΜΕΝ, in the sight of God—we speak) So decidedly, ch. 2 Corinthians 12:19. We always think, that God, from [sent by] whom we speak, is present to the speakers; we do not care for men.—ἐν, in) Our discourse, which we hold in Christ, is given and directed from above.—λαλοῦμεν, we speak) We use the tongue; the power belongs to God.

[14] The Germ. Ver., however, omits both the particle ὡς before ἐξ εἰλικρινείας and the particle ἀλλʼ before ὡς ἐχ Θεοῦ, although the omission has by no means been approved of by the margins of both Ed.—E. B.

ABCD (Λ) read the ὡς after ἀλλ’ (or ἀλλὰ in B), in the first ἀλλʼ ὡς: Gfg Vulg. Memph. Iren. omit it. In the second ἀλλʼ ὡς, ABCD (Λ) support the ἀλλʼ. Gfg Vulg. (Fuld.), later Syr. Iren. omit it.—ED.Verse 17. - For we are not as many; rather, as the many. This clause is introduced to show how much courage and effort the work requires. "The many" might, by Greek idiom, mean "the majority." The apparent harshness of the assertion that the majority of teachers in the apostolic age dealt untruly with the Word of God, led to the substitution of οἱ λοιποὶ, the rest, in some manuscripts (D, E, F, G, L). But "the many" here means "the many antagonists of mine," who preach a different gospel (Galatians 1:6). It must be remembered that conceit, Pharisaism, moral laxity, and factions were all at work in the Corinthian Church. Which corrupt. The Word means who are merely" trafficking with," "adulterating," "huckstering," the Word of life. The word occurs in the LXX. of Isaiah 1:22; Ecclus. 26:29; and Plato applies the same metaphor to the sophists, who peddle their wisdom about ('Protag.,' p. 313 d). The substantive kapelos means "a retail dealer," and especially a vintner, and the verb kapeleuo is always used in a bad sense, like the English "to huckster." Such deceitful dealers with the gospel are described in 2 Peter 2:3, and in one of the Ignatian letters they are called Christemporoi, Christ-traffickers. Such were those who altered the perspective of the gospel, lowered its standard, and adulterated it with strange admixtures. Their methods and their teaching are constantly alluded to in these Epistles (1 Corinthians 1:17, 31; 1 Corinthians 2:1-4; and 2 Corinthians 10:12, 15; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, etc.), But as of sincerity, but as of God. lake one who speaks from the sincerity of his heart (2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 4:2) and by the inspiration of God (1 Corinthians 14:25). Before God speak we in Christ. The sphere of our teaching as of our life is Christ; and our work is done

"As ever in our great Taskmaster's eye."

Which corrupt (καπηλεύοντες)

Only here in the New Testament. From κάπηλος a huckster or pedler; also a tavernkeeper. The κάπηλοι formed a distinct class among the Greek dealers, distinguished from the ἐυπόροι merchants or wholesale dealers. So Plato: "Is not retailer (καπήλους) the term which is applied to those who sit in the market-place buying and selling, while those who wander from one city to another are called merchants?" ("Republic," 371; compare "Statesman," 260) The term included dealers in victuals and all sorts of wares, but was especially applied to retailers of wine, with whom adulteration and short measure were matters of course. Galen speaks of wine-dealers καπηλεύοντες τοὺς οἴνους playing tricks with their wines; mixing the new, harsh wines, so as to make them pass for old. These not only sold their wares in the market, but had καπηλεῖα wine-shops all over the town, where it was not thought respectable to take refreshments. The whole trade was greatly despised. In Thebes no one who had sold in the market within the last ten years was allowed to take part in the government. So Plato, speaking of the evils of luxury and poverty: "What remedy can a city of sense find against this disease? In the first place, they must have as few retail traders as possible" ("Laws," 919. The whole passage is well worth reading). The moral application of the term was familiar in classical Greek. Lucian says: "The philosophers deal out their instructions like hucksters." Plato: "Those who carry about the wares of knowledge, and make the round of the cities, and sell or retail them to any customer who is in want of them, praise them all alike; though I should not wonder if many of them were really ignorant of their effect upon the soul; and their customers equally ignorant, unless he who buys of them happens to be a physician of the soul" ("Protagoras," 313). Paul here uses the term of those who trade in the word of God, adulterating it for the purpose of gain or popularity. Compare 1 Timothy 6:5, Rev. In the "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" occurs the word χριστέμπορος a Christ-monger (ch. xii., 5).

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