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THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 5

Verse 5. For neither at any time used we flattering words. See Barnes "Job 32:21"; See Barnes "Job 32:22"; See Barnes "2 Co 2:17".

The word here rendered "flattering"—kolakeia—occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The meaning is, that the apostle did not deal in the language of adulation; he did not praise them for their beauty, wealth, talent, or accomplishments, and conceal from them the painful truths about their guilt and danger, He stated simple truth—not refusing to commend men if truth would admit of it, and never hesitating to declare his honest convictions about their guilt and danger. One of the principal arts of the deceiver on all subjects is flattery; and Paul says, that when preaching to the Thessalonians he had carefully avoided it. He now appeals to that fact as a proof of his own integrity. They knew that he had been faithful to their souls.

Nor a cloke of covetousness. The word rendered "cloke" here— profasiv—means, properly, "what is shown or appears before any one;" i.e., show, pretence, pretext, put forth in order to cover one's real intent, Mt 23:14; Mr 12:40; Lu 20:47.

The meaning here is, that he did not put on a pretence or appearance of piety for the sake of promoting the schemes of covetousness. The evidence of that was not only what their observed of the general spirit of the apostle, but also the fact that when with them he had actually laboured with his own hands for a support, 1 Th 2:9. It is obvious that there were those there, as sometimes there are now, who, under the pretence of great zeal for religion, were really seeking wealth; and it is possible that it may have been alleged against Paul and his fellow-labourers that they were such persons.

God is witness. This is a solemn appeal to God for the truth of what he had said. He refers not only to their own observation, but he calls God himself to witness his sincerity. God knew the truth in the case. There could have been no imposing on him; and the appeal, therefore, is to one who was intimately acquainted with the truth. Learn hence,

(1.) that it is right, on important occasions, to appeal to God for the truth of what we say.

(2.) We should always so live that we can properly make such an appeal to him.

{b} "neither at any time" 2 Co 2:17

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