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1 Thessalonians 2:5

ESV For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed — God is witness.
NIV You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness.
NASB For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is our witness—
CSB For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives —God is our witness —
NLT Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money!
KJV For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:
NKJV For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness— God is witness.

What does 1 Thessalonians 2:5 mean?

When Paul preached to the Thessalonians, false prophets gave conflicting messages. Unlike those false prophets, Paul did not try to win the Thessalonians by flattering them. Nor did he try to line his pockets. Paul knew his conduct was pure, and he called upon God as his witness to this truth.

Jesus also warned about those who taught fake spirituality, for selfish reasons. He said, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:15). The apostle John sounded a similar alarm in 1 John 4:1. He wrote, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world."

Paul also urged the Christians at Rome to be on guard against self-serving, greedy deceivers. He wrote: "I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve" (Romans 16:17–18).

Paul's ministry at Thessalonica stood in stark contrast to the actions and motives of those false teachers.
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