Podcast episode 25
Deep Dive into 2 Corinthians 2:17 - Commercializing the Word of God
Read the article here.
"For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ" (2 Cor. 2:17, ESV).
This highly technical discussion is not an easy listen, and it's recommended that you complement it with the visuals in the written version of the article.
That said, the primary source of interest in this verse is the word translated by the ESV as “peddlers” (καπηλεύοντες, from καπηλεύω). Commentators and translations divide over recognizing this word as indicating an adulteration or commercialization of the gospel. Furthermore, they differ on whether or not this word necessarily implies a motive of profit. Thus, as we will see below, some translations add “for profit” to the verse because they believe it to be implicit information from the context that needs to be made explicit to the reader, even though the words “for profit” are not found in the Greek.
This matters because there are those who would argue that 2 Corinthians 2:17 does not confront the Jesus trade, but rather speaks merely of those who make too much profit from selling Jesus. Or they claim that this verse has nothing to do with selling, but rather with "corrupting" God's Word. Is there really a loophole here for Jesus sellers to avoid Paul's condemnation, or does it simply mean: "we are not commercializing God’s Word like so many others"?