Question: What is the meaning of “being crafty, I caught you with guile”? (2 Cor. 12: 16)
E W Rogers, Oxford
Answer. This passage, as all others, must be read in the light of its context. Paul did not make it a rule to accept every gift that was offered to him. In circumstances such as obtained at Corinth he determined not to be burdensome to the saints but to preach the gospel without charge to them. This was, of course, open to misconstruction by carnal saints. They might say that he merely kept up appearances by taking nothing from them himself, trying thereby to gain prestige among them, while at the same time he was clever enough to indemnify himself by using those whom he sent to them; among whom was Titus, to be recipients of gifts.
The fact was he did not make himself a financial liability to them. Did they regard that, then, as trickery whereby they had been caught? No, it could not be so regarded; for Titus and the others whom Paul sent walked in the same spirit and in the same steps as Paul himself.
Some read the phrase, “did I catch you with guile?” Some place an exclamation mark after the word “guile.” In any event, it would seem to be, not an assertion of what Paul actually did, but what was being attributed to him.