The Apostle Paul is telling the Corinthians in this verse that regardless of their opinion about him, the truth of the gospel will prevail.
Paul said that as an apostle he had exercised no power over those who received the truth of the gospel. And any apostolic power he had exercised was to defend the truth of the gospel by instructing, reproving, or censuring those that opposed, denied, or contradicted it.
As followers of Jesus we are in the truth business. So we should approach the handling of truth of the gospel, and any truth for that matter, with great care.
Our responsibility to uphold truth means we don’t engage in arguments with those that already have it because we can’t do anything against the truth. Instead, our responsibility is to proclaim the truth to those that don’t have it and instruct and reprove those that do have it but are not living according to it.
Unfortunately, the truth can be manipulated. When a witness gives sworn testimony in a court of law, the witness takes an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” As this oath indicates, the truth can be manipulated by telling part of it or by overstating it.
Both cases, partial truth or embellished truth, are attempts to manage the truth so that it better aligns with the views or opinions of those to whom it is being told or to protect the one supposedly telling it from the consequences of his or her misdeeds.
But when you try to manage the truth, it almost always becomes a lie!
As the ones responsible for handling the truth of the gospel, we must be careful not to engage in truth management. For some, the truth of the gospel is unacceptable. We must be careful not to trivialize or minimize the gospel to make it more palatable to them. And others who have accepted the truth of the gospel but don’t live according to it, we must not use the gospel to condemn them.
So we don’t create a partial gospel to make it more acceptable to some and we don’t embellish the gospel to beat people up with who don’t behave as we think they should.
Our duty as Jesus’s disciples is to proclaim the truth, not try to manage it, for according to the Apostle Paul, the truth has a way of taking care of itself!
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6, HCSB).