1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
craftiness (v.2) = cunning, stopping at nothing to achieve a selfish goal
deceitfully (v.2) = (lit.) to lure by using bait, to ensnare
manifestation (v.2) = disclosure, coming to light
conscience (v.2) — with the idea of innate discernment, self-judging
In other words, Paul said he wasn’t using Scripture to manipulate anyone. He was just speaking the truth and allowing his hearer’s innate discernment (and the Holy Spirit) to convince them of the truth.
Resuming the subject of his office as a minister of the Gospel of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, the Apostle points out that, before receiving this ministry, the mercy which it proclaims must be received—that is, that the preacher must have first himself consciously accepted as a sinner God’s pardoning mercy in Christ before he can announce it to others; and he adds that the doctrine of a risen Savior makes the preacher victorious over all the fear of death, and over all the sufferings possible of infliction upon the “earthen vessel” in which the gospel treasure is carried. — Williams, page 900.
There was much now to cause the apostle to faint and to tempt him to give up. Turn to 2 Corinthians 11:23-29 and note the fearful persecutions which he had already by then endured.
There is a great lesson for us here, for Satan hates grace and does all in his power to oppose it. Indeed, 1 Corinthians 15:58 deals directly with this tendency on our part to become discouraged and give up: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, by ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
We find more such encouragement in Galatians 6:9, where the apostle urges us: “Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”
Notice carefully: “We shall reap if we faint not.” Often, to be sure, one sows and another reaps, and both will be rewarded for their labors, but often Christians fail to reap the spiritual fruit of their labors because they have become discouraged and faint. But here we have God’s unfailing promise that “we shall reap if we faint not.” — Stam, pages 72-73.
Craftiness: [In today’s church] interdemoninational boards must have at least an understanding among them that it is best not to discuss certain Bible subjects. this policy of tacitly classing such subjects as water baptism taboo is thought necessary simply because “an interdenominational organization is impossible without compromise.” There are many more forms of this sin, but this is one that has gained respectability and is widely defended. — Stamp, page 74