2 Corinthians 1:18
But as God is true, our word toward you was not yes and no.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) As God is true.—Literally, as God is faithful. The words were one of St. Paul’s usual formulæ of assertion. (Comp. 1Corinthians 1:9; 1Corinthians 10:13; 2Thessalonians 3:3.) In other instances it is followed commonly by a statement as to some act or attribute of God. Here it is more of the nature of an oath: “As God is faithful in all His words, so my speech” (the vague term is used to include preaching, writing, personal intercourse) “is true and faithful also.” There had been no “Yes” and “No” in the same breath; no saying one thing when he meant another.

1:15-24 The apostle clears himself from the charge of levity and inconstancy, in not coming to Corinth. Good men should be careful to keep the reputation of sincerity and constancy; they should not resolve, but on careful thought; and they will not change unless for weighty reasons. Nothing can render God's promises more certain: his giving them through Christ, assures us they are his promises; as the wonders God wrought in the life, resurrection, and ascension of his Son, confirm faith. The Holy Spirit makes Christians firm in the faith of the gospel: the quickening of the Spirit is an earnest of everlasting life; and the comforts of the Spirit are an earnest of everlasting joy. The apostle desired to spare the blame he feared would be unavoidable, if he had gone to Corinth before he learned what effect his former letter produced. Our strength and ability are owing to faith; and our comfort and joy must flow from faith. The holy tempers and gracious fruits which attend faith, secure from delusion in so important a matter.But as God is true - Tyndale renders this in accordance more literally with the Greek, "God is faithful; for our preaching unto you was not yea and nay." The phrase seems to have the form of an oath, or to be a solemn appeal to God as a Witness, and to be equivalent to the expression "the Lord liveth," or "as the Lord liveth." The idea is," God is faithful and true. He never deceives; never promises that which he does not perform. So true is it that I am not fickle and changing in my purposes." This idea of the faithfulness of God is the argument which Paul urges why he felt himself bound to be faithful also. That faithful God he regarded as a witness, and to that God he could appeal on the occasion.

Our word - Margin, "preaching" (ὁ λόγος ho logos. This may refer either to his preaching, to his promises of visiting them, or his declarations to them in general on any subject. The particular subject under discussion was the promise which he had made to visit them. But he here seems to make his affirmation general, and to say universally of his promises, and his teaching, and of all his communications to them, whether orally or in writing, that they were not characterized by inconstancy and changeableness. It was not his character to be fickle, unsettled, and vacillating.

18. He adds this lest they might think his DOCTRINE was changeable like his purposes (the change in which he admitted in 2Co 1:17, while denying that it was due to "lightness," and at the same time implying that not to have changed, where there was good reason, would have been to imitate the fleshly-minded who at all costs obstinately hold to their purpose).

true—Greek, "faithful" (1Co 1:9).

our word—the doctrine we preach.

was not—The oldest manuscripts read "is not."

yea and nay—that is, inconsistent with itself.

As God is true to his promises, so he hath taught me to be true to mine. Some make these words not to be merely declarative of the truth of God, but a kind of an oath, or calling the God of truth to witness, that his

word toward them; by which some understand the gospel, or the word which he had preached amongst them (and of that indeed he speaketh in the next verse); but to me it seemeth much less strained, to interpret Paul’s word, in this verse, of that word of promise of which he had before spoken, the promise which he owned before that he had made them of his coming to them. That

word, he saith, was not yea and nay, that is, he did not make it with a quite contrary intention; but when he promised, he faithfully intended to have justified his word, and indeed to have come; but the providence of God, to which all men are subjected, had otherwise ordered him and disposed of him; which was the cause why he had not yet been as good as his word. It is very observable, how careful this great apostle was to clear himself from any imputations of levity and falsehood; and it should teach us to be careful to maintain our reputation in the world for truth and steadiness. But as God is true,.... It seems that the false apostles had insinuated, that as the apostle had not kept his word in coming to them as he had promised, that he was not to be depended upon in his ministry; that he might as well contradict himself, and deceive others in the one, as well as in the other: wherefore he appeals to God in a very solemn manner, calls him to witness to the truth of his doctrine; for these words may be considered as the form of an oath; or he argues from, the truth and faithfulness of God, to the certainty and invariableness of the word preached, who is so true and faithful as that he will never suffer his word to be yea and nay: for when the apostle says, that

our word towards you was not yea and nay, he does not mean his word of promise to come to Corinth; but the word of his preaching, the doctrine of the Gospel, which was not uncertain, changeable, sometimes one thing, and sometimes another, and contradictory to itself. And by this the apostle would intimate, that since he was faithful and upright, uniform, consistent, and all of a piece in preaching the Gospel to them; so they ought to believe, that he was sincere in his resolutions and promises to come and see them, though as yet he had been hindered, and had not been able to perform them.

{10} But as God is {r} true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.

(10) He calls God as witness and as judge of his constancy in preaching and teaching one self same Gospel.

(r) True, and of whose faithful witness it would be horribly wicked to doubt.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 1:18. But according to His faithfulness, God causes our speech to you to be not yea and nay, not untrustworthy.[133] The δέ introduces the contrast (yea rather) to the state of things denied in the preceding question (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 95); and ὅτι is equivalent to εἰς ἐκεῖνο, ὅτι, like John 2:18; John 9:17; John 11:51; 1 Corinthians 1:26, al.: Faithful is God in reference to this, that our speech, etc., i.e. God shows Himself faithful by this, that, etc. Beza, Calvin, and others, including Flatt, Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, Neander, Ewald, Hofmann, take πιστὸς ὁ Θεός as an asseveration: proh Dei fidem! Against all linguistic usage, for the ζῶ ἐγὼὅτι (see on Romans 14:11), which is compared, is a habitual formula of swearing, which the πιστὸς ὁ Θεός, very frequent with the apostle (1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 John 1:9), is not. Nor can we compare 2 Corinthians 11:10, where a subjective state of things is asserted as a guarantee of what is uttere.

ὁ λόγος ἡμῶν] is by most understood of the preaching of the gospel, according to which Paul thus, against the suspicion of untruthfulness in his resolves and assurances, puts forward the truthfulness of his preaching,—in which there lies a moral argument a majori ad minus; for the opinion of Hofmann, that Paul means to say that his preaching stands in a different position from the conditioned quality of his yea and nay, falls with his view of 2 Corinthians 1:17. From 2 Corinthians 1:19, however, it appears to be beyond doubt that the usual explanation of λόγος, of the preaching, not in general of the apostle’s speech (Rückert), or of that unfulfilled promise (Erasmus in the Annot.), is the right one. Olshausen mixes up the two explanations.

[133] Erasmus says aptly, Paraphr.: “Sed non fallit Deus, cujus praesidio factum est, ut sermo noster, quo vobis illius evangelium praedicavimus, non vacillarit, sed semper sui similis fuerit.”2 Corinthians 1:18. πιστὸς δὲ ὁ Θεὸς ὅτι κ.τ.λ.: but as God is faithful, our word, etc. For the construction, cf. the similar forms of asseveration ζῇ κύριος ὅτι, “as the Lord liveth” (1 Samuel 20:3, 2 Samuel 2:27), and ἔστιν ἀλήθεια Χριστοῦ ἐν ἐμοὶ ὅτι, “as the truth of Christ is in me” (2 Corinthians 11:10). For πιστός as applied to God, see Deuteronomy 7:9, 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, 2 Timothy 2:13, and cf. 1 Samuel 15:29.—ὁ λόγος ἡμῶν ὁ πρὸς ὑμᾶς οὐκ ἔστιν Ναὶ καὶ Οὔ: our word (sc., my personal communications about my journey, as well as the message of the Gospel) towards you is not Yea and Nay. I do not deceive you or vacillate in my purpose: cf. 2 Corinthians 2:17.18. But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay] There was no more infirmity of purpose in the Apostle’s preaching than there is untruth, or rather, unfaithfulness in God. ‘Word’ here means speech, discourse, as in 1 Corinthians 1:5.

was not] Rather, is not, since the doctrine once preached remains ever the same. See Galatians 1:8-9.2 Corinthians 1:18. Πιστὸς, faithful) The categorical statement implied is this, “Our doctrine is sure.” The mode [or expression of feeling, as opposed to a naked, categorical statement, end. on modalis sermo], however, is added: God is faithful, נאמן: comp. amen, 2 Corinthians 1:20.—δὲ, but) The antithesis is between his intention of travelling to see them, and the doctrine itself. The external change of that intention for good reasons infers no inconsistency in the doctrine. In the mean time, Paul shows, that those who are light [fickle] in external matters are wont to be, and to appear to be, light also in things spiritual.—πρὸς) with, to; with (towards) you, is an antithesis to with me, 2 Corinthians 1:17.—οὐκ ἐγένετο ναὶ καὶ οὐ, was not made yea and nay) Contradictories have no place in Theology.Verse 18. - But as God is true; rather, but God is faithful, whatever man may be (1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 John 1:9). Our word towards you, etc. The verse should be rendered, But God is faithful, because (faithful herein, that) our preaching to you proved itself to be not yea and may. Whatever you may say of my plans and my conduct, there was one thing which involved an indubitable "yea," namely, my preaching to you. In that, at any rate, there was nothing capricious, nothing variable, nothing vacillating. St. Paul, in a manner characteristic to his moods of deepest emotion, "goes off at a word." The Corinthians talked of his "yea" and "nay" as though one was little better than the other, and neither could be depended on; well, at any rate, one thing, and that the most essential, was as sure as the faithfulness of God. As God is true (πιστὸς ὁ Θεὸς)

Not to be taken as a formula of swearing. He means that God will answer for him against the charge of fickleness by the power and blessing (benefit) which will attend his presence. Hence the meaning is: faithful is God (in this) that our speech, etc.

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