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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


2 Corinthians 1:17-20 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness; or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in Him was yea. For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

In the two verses that precede the lesson text, we find that Paul purposed, or planned, to visit the church at Corinth, as he passed from Macedonia on his way to Judea. This commitment to them was not made in lightness. Although his original plans had to be altered and was delayed by unforeseen events, his intention to visit them was not made in jest, and was not made with the intention of breaking it. His promise to come see them, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 16:5-7, was sincere, but it appeared to be delayed due to critical work that was needed in the church at Ephesus (See 1 Cor. 16:8-9). His proposed visit was not made according to the flesh, that is, for his own convenience and satisfaction. The phrase ending Paul's rhetorical question was, with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? Paul was not one that would answer the same question at one time with a yea, and on another occasion, with a nay. The meaning appears to be that Paul was not one to say he would do something and later change his mind. He wanted the Christians at Corinth to understand that they could rely on his word.

Verse 18 seems to tell us that Paul, not only was sincere when he proposed to visit them, but his preaching of the gospel of Christ, as well as the preaching of his fellow laborers, was just as dependable. (O)ur word toward you was not (both) yea and nay, that is to say, their preaching was not ambiguous or unreliable. The truths they taught, and the promises they made, were not like the inconstant, fickle speeches and promises made by most politicians or denominational preachers in today's society.

The truths taught by Jesus during His ministry on earth cannot be doubted. They were spoken with a precise conviction that left no uncertainty in the minds of His hearers. By inspiration, Paul, as well as Silas and Timothy (Silvanus and Timotheus), preached with this same conviction. There was no uncertainty in their preaching; there was no vacillation that would leave doubt in the minds of their audiences. Most certainly they did not deliver messages that compromised the truths of God through His Son, Jesus, in order to satisfy the desires of those that heard their teaching. They did not speak from both sides of their mouths, as yea and nay so indicate. Paul warned Timothy that many in his audiences will not endure sound doctrine, but, because they have itching ears, would search for teachers to tell them what they wanted to hear, rather than the truth of Christ - they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

The lesson text confirms Paul's message in his first letter to the church at Corinth. There he told them that he, and his fellow laborers, came declaring unto you the testimony of God, ...not with enticing words of man's wisdom. He wrote that,...we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, ...But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, ...which God ordained before the world unto our glory. He continued to say that their preaching was only that which ...God hath revealed ...unto us by His (Holy) Spirit (See 1 Cor. 2:1-10). The purpose of Paul's preaching was to glorify God by teaching only that which God had revealed to him, for all the promises of God in Him (Jesus Christ) are yea, and in Him Amen. Indeed, the promises of God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, are sure and positive, leaving no room for doubt.

The apostle Peter wrote that the world was, during his ministry, and forever shall be, filled with false prophets (and) ...false teachers (that) ...shall bring in damnable heresies, ...and many shall follow their pernicious ways, and through covetousness shall they, with feigned words, make merchandise of you (2 Pet. 2:1-3). False teaching is both yea and nay. Whatever their audiences desire to hear, becomes their sermon message. In doing so, these audiences of false teachers, will assuredly be led astray from the will of God. But thanks be to God, Jesus Christ was not yea and nay! Jesus Christ was always yea! True followers of Christ, as was Paul, Silas, Timothy, and all other faithful preachers and teachers of God's word, will teach Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of God's promise of eternal salvation. They will teach yea, yea, and yea!