2 Corinthians 12:16-21
2 Cor 12:16 (KJB)
But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
Burden - Be a burden or weigh down
Crafty - Sly or shrewd
Guile - Deceit or fraud
Paul was a real Christian when it came to responses because he says here continuing from verse 15 that even though they loved him less, it did not affect the way he viewed them and he says he did not become a burden to them in any manner. The false apostles at Corinth had accused Paul that he had taken up the collection in a deceitful way. They had taught that he wanted to take the money for himself, even though the reality was that Paul did not take any money from them for personal use. All the money that was collected went to the Jerusalem church and Paul did not keep a drachma. The real situation was that the false apostles had desired to get their hands on all the money which went to the Jerusalem church.
2 Cor 12:17 (KJB)
Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?
Did I make a gain - Take advantage of or defraud
There were probably allegations made that although Paul did not take any money in planting the church at Corinth but that he profited well from the offering that he took for the Jerusalem church. He asks them if he defrauded anyone by those whom he sent to them? Paul would not knowingly trust an offering to one who was of bad reputation and if you recall, Paul used the brother that was approved by the Corinthian church to take the offering, so Paul had no choice in that matter.
2 Cor 12:18 (KJB)
I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?
Paul asks a series of cutting questions which gets right to the heart of the matter. First he states that Titus and the brother are the ones who handled the money. Then he asks did Titus defraud them financially? Were not both Paul and Titus walking in the same Spirit, that is, they were both saved and both were laborers together for the Lord Jesus Christ? Then he asks didnít he and Titus walk in the same steps, that is, live the same type of life, working with their hands so neither would be a burden to the Corinthians?
2 Cor 12:19 (KJB)
Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
We excuse ourselves - We are making a defense
Edifying - Building or edification
Paul once again reiterates and asks them if they believe that Paul and his band are making a defense of their ministry unto them? Paul then states that he and his band have God as their witness in all their actions and motives. Since nothing can be hidden from God, Paul knows that the Corinthians should realize that if Paul is making God as his witness, then he surely should have nothing to hide. If he is willing to be open unto God who can see everything, surely the Corinthians would recant their false beliefs about Paul. Even though Paulís letters may have been a little harsh, he always wrote with the conscious desire to edify his readers, that is, to help them grow in the faith.
2 Cor 12:20 (KJB)
For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
Debates - Discord, contention, or quarrels
Envyings - Jealousy
Wraths - Great anger or rage
Strifes - Selfish ambition or self-seeking
Backbitings - Slander or defamation
Whisperings - Slandering Gossip
Swellings - Pride or puffing up
Tumults - Instability, disorder, sedition, or commotions
Paul was very concerned that when he comes to visit the Corinthians, the consequences of following the false teachers may have placed the church in total disarray. He was fearful that there would be many debates, especially over the false accusations that were leveled against Paul. Then he was afraid there would be much jealousy especially since he was unjustly accused about receiving an offering and those who accused him were the ones who wanted to get their hands on the money. All the problems which could arise in that church could led to great rage and therefore much hatred could permeate the church which would totally ruin the spiritual atmosphere of any assembly. Then out of much hatred would always rise those who would be self-seeking and they would try to deal with the problems but not out of sincerity but of a hidden agenda. There would be much slander and gossip in the church which would mean that many would be the victim of defamation of character, as Paul was. Paul knew that this congregation had trouble with spiritual pride as he wrote concerning this in his first letter. (1 Cor 5:2 KJV) And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. All of these things could lead to a total instability in the church which could result in the church dissolving and having a bunch of splinter groups, each having something against the others and then Satan will have had his victory and that is why believers must be very careful when things start happening. There must be a quick control so situations do not get out of hand.
2 Cor 12:21 (KJB)
And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.
Bewail - Mourn over
Uncleanness - Impurity or immorality
Lasciviousness - Licentiousness or lustful
If Paul visited Corinth he was afraid that there would be much disorder and that fact would cause him to be spiritually distressed because he had boasted to many other churches concerning the Corinthians but now he may have to be ashamed of them. He knew that if some of the Corinthians had sinned then he would be mourning over them, especially if they have not repented of the sins which they committed. Paul names three of the most heinous sins among them. He names impurity that they would defile their bodies in a sexual milieu which would probably include fornication. These sins would take place because there would be much lasciviousness among them and that would lead to many other sins which would cause them to defile their bodies and that would be sin. (1 Cor 6:13 KJV) Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. If they were partaking in these sins, it would be like they went back to their old pagan religions which permeated Corinth before the Gospel came.