Using words of flattery (en logōi kolakeias). Literally, in speech of flattery or fawning. Old word, only here in N.T., from kolaks, a flatterer. An Epicurean, Philodemus, wrote a work Peri Kolakeias (Concerning Flattery). Milligan (Vocabulary, etc.) speaks of “the selfish conduct of too many of the rhetoricians of the day,” conduct extremely repugnant to Paul. The third time (1Th 2:1, 1Th 2:2, 1Th 2:5) he appeals to their knowledge of his work in Thessalonica. Frame suggests “cajolery.”
Nor a cloke of covetousness (oute prophasei pleonexias). Pretext (prophasis from prophainō, to show forth, or perhaps from prȯphēmi, to speak forth). This is the charge of self-interest rather than the mere desire to please people. Pretext of greediness is Frame’s translation. Pleonexia is merely “having more” from pleonektēs, one eager for more, and pleonekteō, to have more, then to over-reach, all old words, all with bad meaning as the result of the desire for more. In a preacher this sin is especially fatal. Paul feels so strongly his innocence of this charge that he calls God as witness as in 2Co 1:23; Rom 9:1; Phi 1:8, a solemn oath for his own veracity.