Who are the Peddlers of the Word of God?

“For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” 2 Corinthians 2:17

The Greek word translated into “peddling” comes from the word “kapeleuo” which the spirit of God inspired to be used in the original Greek text of this verse of Scripture.

What is the meaning of the Greek word “kapeleuo” translated to “peddler”? Kapeleuo means “To sell at retail, with the insinuation of improper profit, either by overcharging or adulterating” (Greek-English Keyword Concordance, page 220).

Notice that Paul says it is not just a few who “peddle” the Word of God, but Paul says “many” are peddling the word of God! They insincerely merchandise the word of God for personal profits. One major way this is done is through their preaching and teaching on giving money and tithing.

A few chapters later, Paul says that one day we all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account of our lives, (II Cor. 5:10), reminding us that justice will be paid for in full for the peddlers.

Vine’s Greek New Testament Dictionary: “kapeleuo”

A1. Corrupt, Verb and Adjective. Corruption, Corruptible, Incorruption, Incorruptible [Verb] kapeleuo primarily signifies “to be a retailer, to peddle, to hucksterize” (from kapelos, “an inn-keeper, a petty retailer, especially of wine, a huckster, peddler,” in contrast to emporos, “a merchant”); hence, “to get base gain by dealing in anything,” and so, more generally, “to do anything for sordid personal advantage.” It is found in 2 Cor 2:17, with reference to the ministry of the Gospel. The significance can be best ascertained by comparison and contrast with the verb doloo in 2 Cor 4:2 (likewise there only in the NT), “to handle deceitfully.” The meanings are not identical. While both involve the deceitful dealing of adulterating the word of truth, kapeleuo has the broader significance of doing so in order to make dishonest gain. Those to whom the Apostle refers in 2 Cor 2:17 are such as make merchandise of souls through covetousness (cp. Titus 1:11; 2 Pet 2:3,14,15; Jude 1:11,16; Ezek 13:19); accordingly “hucksterizing” would be the most appropriate rendering in this passage, while “handling deceitfully” is the right meaning in 2 Cor 4:2.