Peddling God’s Word

Q. Re: 2 Cor. 2:17. I make wooden plaques with Scripture on them and was thinking of selling them but this verse causes me concern. Selling them for a profit bothers me, but at the same time people are blessed by having the word of God in their midst. I want to honor the Lord and not do this for selfish reasons or gain although sometimes I wonder on occasion if my motives are right.

A. 2 Cor. 2:17 says, “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.”

Some use this verse to justify a general prohibition against anyone receiving income from the Word of God. This could include pastors, teachers, authors, publishers, book store owners, musicians, and anyone else who earns money in service to the Lord. But in 1 Cor. 9:1-12 Paul defended the right of those who dedicate their lives to spreading the gospel to expect that their needs will be met. Therefore this can’t be what he was saying.

I think he was saying it comes down to motive. If you’re just making plaques with the hope of financial reward, and don’t care about what they say, then like those who peddle the word of God for a profit, you’re in it for the wrong reason. But if your primary motive is spreading God’s Word and blessing His people, Paul said you have a right to be reimbursed for your costs and compensated for your efforts. That being the case there’s nothing wrong with selling them.

To me, the fact that you’re concerned about this is an indication that your motives are pure.

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