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.
The wicked corrupt the Scriptures (The New Topical Textbook, subheading under the main topic “The Scriptures,” page 240).
Paul spoke of there being many in his day which corrupt the word of God. In context, much of the second letter to the Corinthians was written to defend his apostleship against the claims of false teachers, namely Judaizers, who did not regard Paul very highly. Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5 challenges the Corinthian Christians to think more deeply about what they were getting themselves into should they begin to believe these false teachers and turn from Paul’s teaching. Since the Corinthians were brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the instrumentality of the Apostle Paul, should they determine that he was a false teacher, then how is it they were truly saved?
In our day there are many who corrupt the Word of God. Some teach false doctrines but claim what they teach is the teaching of Scripture. Of course, it is obvious to most Bible readers that groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses corrupt the Word of God. They have created their own translation called The New World Translation which is anti-Trinitarian. You would never notice, for example, that the Holy Spirit is a person when reading that translation. Yet, in the original language, the Greek text, the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person is clearly there. Even in English one cannot get around Ephesians 4:30, which speaks of grieving the Holy Spirit. It is not possible to grieve a non-person. Therefore this fact alone is enough to establish that the Holy Spirit is a person.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses argue that the “Trinity doctrine” was borrowed from paganism, for the word “trinity” is not to be found in the Bible. Granted the “word” is not there, but the “thing” that “word” names is most certainly there, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Trinity is a necessary inference rightly drawn from a careful study of the Bible text.
The Roman Catholic Church is guilty of corrupting the Word of God found in Scripture. First of all, the Roman Catholic Church adds to the written Word of God what they call Tradition, and hold that Tradition is authoritative in establishing Christian doctrine, and necessary, because the Bible does not contain all God requires us to know and do. Second of all, the Roman Catholic Church holds a view of the Lord’s Supper which is not at all in accordance with what the Bible teaches by (1) holding the belief in Transubstantiation, that the bread and wine are actually transmuted into the actual physical body and blood of Christ, a belief which is based on a misunderstanding or denial of the Figures of Speech in the Bible–as failing to see Metaphor and Metalepsis: when Jesus stood before His disciples and took the bread and said “Take, eat, this is my body”(Matthew 26:26), and when he took the cup and said “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20)–clearly both physical elements represent but are not the actual blood and body of Christ, as signaled by the word “is,” and (2) using only one element of the Lord’s Supper rather than both elements as commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ. Third, the Roman Catholic Church teaches salvation through participation in its sacraments, a doctrinal position not to be found in the New Testament, and a most serious error. Fourth, the “Mass” itself is not to be found or hinted at in the New Testament, and as a supposed and claimed repetition of the sacrifice of Christ is directly contrary to the express statement and teaching of Scripture (Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 7:27; 9:28; 10:10, 12) that the sacrifice of Christ was offered but once and never repeated. One would think that any intelligent reader of the New Testament in a plain text Bible would on a plain reading of that text notice that there is a world of difference between what the Roman Catholic Church teaches and does compared to what the New Testament itself presents as the truth of the Gospel.
A careful study of Scripture, particularly a study of the doctrine of the Atonement of Christ, will demonstrate that what is commonly taught today, the Penal Satisfaction Theory of the Atonement, is utterly unscriptural in the extreme. The Atonement Theory you believe in has far-reaching consequences. R. L. Lavender writes in his introduction to a commentary on the book of Romans by his father, Malcolm Lavender, “There isn’t an error in doctrine or practice that cannot be traced back to erroneous views concerning the Atoning death of Jesus Christ. The way man thinks about the Atonement has everything to do with his philosophy of life, his moral character, and his religious experience. It is, therefore, of the highest importance that our apprehension correspond as nearly as possible to the revelation found in Scripture” (page xv, Introduction to Expository Notes on Romans, Malcolm L. Lavender, 2009).
And again, “The Doctrine of the Atonement is vitally important because one’s view of what took place at Calvary has far reaching consequences. It will clarify or contaminate one’s basic theology concerning the nature of God, salvation, Christian practice, and consequently the nature of the account one will give to God in the final Judgment.”
Mr. R. L. Lavender discusses some central issues by asking: (1) Is salvation non-regenerative, i.e. legal, or regenerative? (2) What is the nature of Christian practice? Are Christians to continue in sin, or stop sinning and live the life of obedience? (3) How does an atonement theory affect one’s eternal destiny? Does God love us all? Even me? What must I do to be saved? Can God save me from my sin, from my carnal nature? Or is full salvation a future experience, after death? If I continue to sin can I still go to heaven? Or do I have to obey God in everything?
The Doctrine of the Atonement is vitally important because one’s Atonement theory determines (1) whether salvation is for the few (the elect) or all of Adam’s fallen race; (2) whether salvation is conditional or unconditional; (3) one’s view of the final Judgment (page xviii, xix). The Biblical view of the Atonement is aptly termed Priestly-Sacrificial Atonement.
We must ever be on our guard against mistaken theology by testing what we are taught, and what we believe, against what is taught in the Bible itself to avoid being among the many who corrupt the word of God.
For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:
(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 1331 for 2 Corinthians 2:17.
(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 1353 or in Logos 5 Bible software for 2 Corinthians 2:17.
(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:
2 Corinthians 2:17. For we are not. 2 Cor 3:1. 1 Th 2:3, 5. **2 P 1:16n. as many. ver. 2 Cor 2:6. 2 Cor 11:13. Ac 20:29. which. 2 Cor 4:2. 11:13-15. Pr 13:17. Is 1:18. Je 5:31. 23:27-32. Mt 13:39. 22:16. 24:24. 1 Cor 3:12. 1 Th 2:3, 5. 1 Tim 1:19, 20. 4:1-3. 2 Tim 2:6-18. 4:3, 4. +*Titus 1:11. 2 P 2:1-3. 1 J 4:1. 2 J 1:7-11. Jude 1:4. Re 2:14, 15, 20. 12:9. 19:20. corrupt. or, deal deceitfully with. or, adulterate. or, make a trade. Gr. kapēleuō (S#2585g, only here). The word kapēlos, which occurs once in the Septuagint, meant a huckster, tavern-keeper, and then the verb came to mean “adulterate.” See Is 1:22, where the Septuagint reads, “thy wine-sellers mix the wine with water” (CB). T#1102. *2 Cor 4:2. 11:3. Is 1:22. Da 2:9. Mt 4:6. +*Mt 22:29. Mk 12:14. Lk 20:21. Ro 16:18. **Ga 1:7. **Ep 4:14. *Col 2:8. 2 Th 2:10. 1 Tim 5:13. **+1 Tim 6:5. 2 Tim 3:6. Titus 2:7. *2 P 2:3. **2 P 3:16. 2 J 1:9-11. Jude 1:3. the word of God. +*Is 8:20n. +Ro 9:6. **Ro 10:17. **He 4:12. but as. FS160B, +Ge 25:31. of sincerity. *2 Cor 1:12. **2 Cor 4:2. 1 K 22:14. Ac 20:20, 27. 1 Cor 4:2. +1 Cor 5:8. Phil 1:10, 16. He 11:27. as of. FS160B, +Ge 25:31. in the sight of. or, before. Gr. katenōpion (S#2714g). **2 Cor 5:11. 6:4. 7:12. 8:21. 12:19g. +Ro 1:9. +Ro 9:1. Ep 1:4g. Col 1:22g. 1 Th 1:3. Jude 1:24g. speak we. 2 Cor 12:19. 2 Ch 18:13. Jb 36:4. Je 17:16. +**Je 23:28n. 1 Cor 7:25. in. or, of.