3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
Modern Bible versions change, “deceit,” to “error,” perhaps to tone down the judgment of God upon men’s actual motives. Paul’s preaching was not of deceit.
Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
2Corinthians 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.
2Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Paul’s preaching was not of uncleanness. He did not exhort the congregation to immoral behavior or preach as a cloak to cover any evil intention on his part to take advantage of them.
Paul’s preaching was not in guile, which is linked to iniquity, speaking evil, wickedness, deceit, and malice.
Psalm 32:2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
Psalm 34:13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
Psalm 55:11 Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.
1Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
Now, you can imagine what Paul’s preaching did not involve. We can be sure from his teaching in his letters that he did not try to put them under the Law given to Moses. We can be certain he did not preach a contempt for or hatred of women. We can be sure he did not try to exploit woman or children. And we can be sure that he did not try to defraud them regarding money.
The best way for Christians to guard against evil preaching is to know what the Bible actually says rather than being spoon-fed false doctrine, often sprinkled with sugar, some personal stories, and a few jokes to make it more palatable. Jesus warned His disciples about the preaching of the religious elite.
Matthew 16:11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.