What does “guile” mean?

guileThe word guile in the Bible means deceitful cunning, and it is usually applied to words that are designedly tricky, treacherous, and insidious.

To have no guile means to be simply honest.

  • Exod.21:[14] But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.
  • Pss.32:[2] Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
  • Pss.34:[13] Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
  • Pss.55:[11] Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.
  • John.1:[47] Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
  • 2Cor.12:[16] But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
  • 1Thes.2:[3] For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
  • 1Pet.2:[1] Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
  • 1Pet.2:[22] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
  • 1Pet.3:[10] For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
  • Rev.14:[5] And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

We should be simply honest and not use trickery and crafty words.

Saint Paul sarcastically told the Corinthians he was ‘crafty’ and caught then with ‘guile’ to mock his opponents’ false accusations against his ministry. He was actually sincere and direct (cf 1 Cor. 1:12; 2:17; 8:8; 8:21).

The word ‘guile’ is related to the word ‘wile’ – meaning a deceit, a fraud, an insidious strategem, a sly practice – which word appears twice in the scriptures:

  • Num.25:[18] For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor’s sake.
  • Eph.6:[11] Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

The word ‘beguile‘ is the combination of ‘be’ and ‘guile’ – meaning to impose upon, to deceive, to cheat (viz., by guile).


The devil relies upon deceptive methods to trick people – he beguiles then with his wiles.

  • Gen.3:[13] And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
  • Gen.29:[25] And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
  • Num.25:[18] For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor’s sake.
  • Josh.9:[22] And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us?
  • 2Cor.11:[3] But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
  • Col.2:[4] And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
  • Col.2:[18] Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
  • 2Pet.2:[14] Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

These examples of beguiling show lying, hiding the truth, playing on fleshly desires and fears, presenting false appearances, using subtilty, using enticing words, and feeding the imagination. All of these strategems are defeated by truth.

“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” Psalm 119:160

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17

Ian Paisley’s DUP poised as UK “kingmakers”

Ian Paisley: a staunch King James Bible Believer

Wonderful news! Big Ian would be proud. Pathetic left-wingers are crying inconsolably.

” O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36


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Audio Podcast: The Four Antichrists

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(Podcast page here; handout pdf)