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always
Sep 16th 2008, 07:37 PM
Many Theologians of our day have made the assumption that the thorn in the flesh which Paul testified of in 2nd Corinthians, was likely some physical ailment.

Many others make the assumption that we can't really know from the scriptures what the thorn in the flesh was.

By comparing scripture with scripture we are given another option.

In the case of Paul's thorn in the flesh, simply looking up the word thorn throughout scripture and examining how "God" uses it, what it represents, and the context in which the word is used by Paul, would reveal what this thorn represented.

The scriptures, both the Old and the New testament, are filled with examples. This term "thorn" is a common word found frequently used symbolically.

Paul was very familiar with the Old Testament scriptures, and he surely used this term in the same way that it is used throughout scripture.

It states in : Numbers 33:55

"But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell".

A thorn in your side "is" a thorn in the flesh. And contrary to popular belief, it's not a physical ailment, it's people who if left among the Children of God, would vex or trouble them.

This is what the thorn in the side "signifies" in God's Word. Paul, being a man of knowledge of scripture would be very familiar with these terms and God's use of them.

He is indeed inspired by God to use this term to signify people who trouble the children of God.

The Judaizers, who were the enemies of God, were a thorn in the side of Paul, because they hated him for teaching against their doctrines

VerticalReality
Sep 16th 2008, 07:39 PM
I believe Paul tells us at the end of 2 Corinthians 11 what the thorn in his flesh was. I believe it was persecution.

Reynolds357
Sep 16th 2008, 07:40 PM
If you look at the text of the passage, it plainly tells us that Paul's thorn was "a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him." The same Greek word translated "messenger" is usually translated "angel." The plain text of the passage tells all who read that the thorn was a demonic spirit sent to hinder his ministry.

VerticalReality
Sep 16th 2008, 07:41 PM
If you look at the text of the passage, it plainly tells us that Paul's thorn was "a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him." The same Greek word translated "messenger" is usually translated "angel." The plain text of the passage tells all who read that the thorn was a demonic spirit sent to hinder his ministry.

Great observation, Reynolds. I agree with you. I believe a denomic spirit was sent by Satan to stir up the people to persecute Paul.

always
Sep 16th 2008, 07:44 PM
I believe Paul tells us at the end of 2 Corinthians 11 what the thorn in his flesh was. I believe it was persecution.


Yes, that would be correct

always
Sep 16th 2008, 07:45 PM
If you look at the text of the passage, it plainly tells us that Paul's thorn was "a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him." The same Greek word translated "messenger" is usually translated "angel." The plain text of the passage tells all who read that the thorn was a demonic spirit sent to hinder his ministry.

wouldn't that angel persecute him through vessels(people)?

(didn't see the previous post)ditto

Reynolds357
Sep 16th 2008, 07:51 PM
wouldn't that angel persecute him through vessels(people)?

(didn't see the previous post)ditto

Yes. Persecution through people mos definitely could be the way the demonic spirit hindered him.

Lady Ashanti
Sep 16th 2008, 07:56 PM
If you look at the text of the passage, it plainly tells us that Paul's thorn was "a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him." The same Greek word translated "messenger" is usually translated "angel." The plain text of the passage tells all who read that the thorn was a demonic spirit sent to hinder his ministry.

I agree, Paul had persecuted the "church", and he was persecuted throughout his whole ministry. Also, the Lord told Paul in the beginning he would suffer for His Name sake...Acts 9: 16, [hmmm...wonder how many would run into ministry if the Lord showed them this]...:cry:

I have always been more interested in why Paul had the "thorn", than what it was...

2 Corinthians 12:5-7 (King James Version):

5Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

6For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Paul had awesome revelations from, and in God so He was "afflicted" to keep him humble...and to help others to see the glory belong to God, and that he was just a man.

Grace, and Peace...

Reynolds357
Sep 16th 2008, 08:03 PM
I agree, Paul had persecuted the "church", and he was persecuted throughout his whole ministry. Also, the Lord told Paul in the beginning he would suffer for His Name sake...Acts 9: 16, [hmmm...wonder how many would run into ministry if the Lord showed them this]...:cry:

I have always been more interested in why Paul had the "thorn", than what it was...

2 Corinthians 12:5-7 (King James Version):

5Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

6For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Paul had awesome revelations from, and in God so He was "afflicted" to keep him humble...and to help others to see the glory belong to God, and that he was just a man.

Grace, and Peace...

"Lest I be exalted above mesure" did not refer to humility. "Exalted above measure" was a reference to the success of his ministry. Nowhere in the passage does it say that God gave Paul the thorn. However, the passage plainly says that the thorn was from Satan. Satan sent a demonic spirit to hinder the Paul's ministry to try to keep Paul's ministry from being highly effective. Nowhere in that passage does it state that God sent the thorn to keep Paul humble. What the passage does plainly say is that Satan sent it to try to keep Paul's ministry from experiencing great success.

Lady Ashanti
Sep 16th 2008, 08:17 PM
"Lest I be exalted above mesure" did not refer to humility. "Exalted above measure" was a reference to the success of his ministry. Nowhere in the passage does it say that God gave Paul the thorn. However, the passage plainly says that the thorn was from Satan. Satan sent a demonic spirit to hinder the Paul's ministry to try to keep Paul's ministry from being highly effective. Nowhere in that passage does it state that God sent the thorn to keep Paul humble. What the passage does plainly say is that Satan sent it to try to keep Paul's ministry from experiencing great success.

I don't think I said that God gave Paul the thorn...

I said he was afflicted..., and persecuted because he had persecuted the church, and the Lord told him he would suffer for His sake from the beginning of his "call", [scriptures already supplied]...

Be Blessed...

always
Sep 16th 2008, 08:30 PM
I don't think I said that God gave Paul the thorn...

I said he was afflicted..., and persecuted because he had persecuted the church, and the Lord told him he would suffer for His sake from the beginning of his "call", [scriptures already supplied]...

Be Blessed...

In other words, he was reaping what he sowed?

Lady Ashanti
Sep 16th 2008, 08:38 PM
In other words, he was reaping what he sowed?

In a sense, although that was the plan of God that Paul would suffer...


Acts 9:15-16 (New King James Version):
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

ProjectPeter
Sep 16th 2008, 08:39 PM
Fact of the matter... we just don't know exactly what it is. We can speculate and we can assume but in the end all it is would be speculation and assumption. Keep in mind though... just as a "big fish"... thorns and big fish can come in many forms. ;)

Reynolds357
Sep 16th 2008, 08:41 PM
I don't think I said that God gave Paul the thorn...

I said he was afflicted..., and persecuted because he had persecuted the church, and the Lord told him he would suffer for His sake from the beginning of his "call", [scriptures already supplied]...

Be Blessed...

"Paul had awesome revelations from, and in God so He was "afflicted" to keep him humble...and to help others to see the glory belong to God, and that he was just a man."

The context of the above statement you posted at the very least, suggested that the thorn was of God. Why would Satan want to "keep Paul humble?" Satan did not desire for Paul to be humble.

Reynolds357
Sep 16th 2008, 08:42 PM
Fact of the matter... we just don't know exactly what it is. We can speculate and we can assume but in the end all it is would be speculation and assumption. Keep in mind though... just as a "big fish"... thorns and big fish can come in many forms. ;)

Why do we not know what it is? The passage plainly tells us what it is. It is "an angel of Satan."

Lady Ashanti
Sep 16th 2008, 09:00 PM
"Paul had awesome revelations from, and in God so He was "afflicted" to keep him humble...and to help others to see the glory belong to God, and that he was just a man."

The context of the above statement at the very least, suggested that the thorn was of God. Why would Satan want to "keep Paul humble?" Satan did not desire for Paul to be humble.

Since the devil cannot do anything to a saint of God without God's permission, he has to be allowed to operate...Job 1: 10-12, Job 2: 4-5. Each time the actions were attributed to the Lord, however it was not the Lord who actual did them, however He did give the enemy permission to operate.

Also...

Revelation 17:12-17 (New King James Version):

12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” 15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw on[a (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%2017:%2014%20-%2017;&version=50;#fen-NKJV-30986a)] the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

Blessings...

9Marksfan
Sep 16th 2008, 09:15 PM
"Lest I be exalted above mesure" did not refer to humility. "Exalted above measure" was a reference to the success of his ministry.

Not so. Here is a list of the most reliable literal translations of 2 Cor 12:7, apart from the KJV:-

NASB Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!

ESV So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

NKJV And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

ASB And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch.

YLT and that by the exceeding greatness of the revelations I might not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of the Adversary, that he might buffet me, that I might not be exalted overmuch.

HSCB especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself.

The word Paul uses here is huperairo = to raise above - and is also used in 2 Thess 2:4, where it is clearly used in the context of being conceited/puffed up with pride:-

...and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing Himself that He is God. 2 Thess 2:3b-4 NKJV


Nowhere in the passage does it say that God gave Paul the thorn.

Yes it does. It was a messenger of Satan, but it was given to him - who gave it? God. Satan doesn't give us ANYTHING! It's very like Job's and Peter's experience, when Satan had to ASK God/Jesus for permission to buffet God's servant - God/Jesus GAVE the permission, because He had a greater purpose to bless Job/Peter - and Paul!


However, the passage plainly says that the thorn was from Satan.

Immediately, yes, but ultimately, no - it was from God. As are all Satanic attacks - nothing happens without His permission - He is in ultimate control of every aspect of our lives.


Satan sent a demonic spirit to hinder the Paul's ministry to try to keep Paul's ministry from being highly effective.

No - none of the above translations gives that impression at all. It is true of course that Satan tries to hinder gospel ministry, but that is not the truth of this text.


Nowhere in that passage does it state that God sent the thorn to keep Paul humble.

That is 100% not the case. It was given (by God) to keep Paul from becoming conceited (ie to keep him humble). In fact, since you seem to object to the very idea of God keeping us humble, Paul actually mentions the experience later on in the chapter!

Lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you... 2 Cor 12:21a NKJV


What the passage does plainly say is that Satan sent it to try to keep Paul's ministry from experiencing great success.

No.

BroRog
Sep 16th 2008, 10:16 PM
6 For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain [from this], so that no one will credit me with more than he sees [in] me or hears from me. 7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

As I examine this passage in light of the OP, I am asking myself how a literal "angel of Satan" equates with a weakness in Paul. How is demonic harassment the same thing as "weakness", something in which Paul is resigned to boast about?

As I think about this, I am reminded of Paul's earlier letter in which he defends himself against those in Corinth that prefer Apollos over Paul because Apollos has more eloquent speech. In that context, it would appear that the Corinthians were willing to believe Apollos rather than Paul because Apollos gave a better presentation. (Acts 18:24)

It would appear from both letters that some in Corinth continually criticized Paul because his "personal presence was unimpressive and his speech contemptible." (2Cor. 10:10) He raises the issue of boasting because some of the Corinthians were commending themselves and would not commend Paul. And in this, we come to understand that Paul associated those who would reject him based on his outward appearance and his inelegant speech patterns, as those who would reject the truth. If Paul is speaking the truth, what does it matter that he is ugly and inarticulate? He puts it this way,

For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.

So then, I can see two strikes against him, something that would keep me from getting a big head. He has a physical deformity that causes people to turn away, and his speech patterns don't impress the sophisticates of Corinth.

It is said that Paul suffered malaria during his many travels, which may have contributed to his disfigurement and his partial blindness. In his own words, also, he testifies about the many times he had been beaten in his ministry, which may also have contributed to his partial blindness and his unimpressive personal presence. He reveals this fact in some of his letters, particularly in his letter to the Galatians in which he writes,

Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.

His ocular infirmity made it almost impossible for him to write his letters, causing him to use an amanuensis, but toward the end of his letters he wrote the salutation himself, as demonstrated later in Galatians.

See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.

In short, Paul was a handicapped, physically unappealing man who was unable to impress the Corinthians with his speech. In his own words he tells the Corinthians that he would rather present his message "in demonstration of the Spirit and power" rather than use "persuasive words of wisdom."

Putting all the clues together, it appears to me that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" is his particular "weakness", which was his partial blindness, his ugly appearance. I think Paul prayed to Jesus that he would fix his eyesight and his physical deformities. Jesus answer back to Paul was to say that his ministry more than compensated for his weaknesses because the basis for his ministry was the truth of his words, and the Holy Spirit's demonstration of power. If folks were not impressed with these, fixing Paul's weaknesses wouldn't help.

theBelovedDisciple
Sep 16th 2008, 10:56 PM
The Bible specifically declares Paul's thorn to be a 'messenger of Satan'.. a 'physical infirmity' or some ailement 'doesnt speak'.. when was the last time your bad looks or bad knee or ankle or physical deformity 'spoke'???????

'messenger of satan' is referring to a 'spiritual' interaction.. where do devils, demons, unclean spirits reside? they reside in people and in their abode with their father.. the prince of the power of the air... spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies.... these can move in and out of the wicked (unsavedb flesh) at will...

this was given to Paul because of the abundance of revelations and visions given to him by God Himself.... and it was to humble Paul as he states due to those things God had shown him..... God is in control and He even controls demonic influence.. and He controls it 100% when it comes to the Saints of the God of Abraham Issac and Jacob.. those He has known since the foundation of the world...

I personally know what 'thorn in the flesh is' as I've been taught by the Master what they are and who they abide in... 'flesh'.. the 'wicked or unsaved'.. I've personally have experinced them and continually do so.. and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt..... they are not 'physical' ailments..... Eyes and ears need to be circumsised to the 'supernatural' and the reality of spiritual wickedness... when that happens then the gates of hell will begin to tremble.....

The 'light' of the body is the 'eye'... the 'eyes' will tell you who is residing in the house..> temple.. >flesh....>>>>>body.......

Look there and you will begin to see..... with His help....

BroRog
Sep 16th 2008, 11:26 PM
The Bible specifically declares Paul's thorn to be a 'messenger of Satan'.. a 'physical infirmity' or some ailement 'doesnt speak'.. when was the last time your bad looks or bad knee or ankle or physical deformity 'spoke'???????

Today. My sore body and incessant cough speak to me saying, "you're getting old."

Paul refers to his "thorn", not as an oppression, which would indicate an external pressure, but as a weakness, which indicates a deficiency in Paul himself. If Paul had been talking about an unclean spirit or an oppressive demon, neither he nor Jesus would have referred to it as a weakness of Paul's. And Jesus wouldn't have suggested that his power is perfected in a Satanic demon.

Moreover, Jesus' stated reason for not removing the "thorn" concerns the fact that he gave Paul a "grace" to perform, which in itself is sufficient. Paul eventually came to understand that his weakness, far from being a disadvantage, has actually worked to his advantage as it pertains to his ministry, due to the result that Paul must rely on the Holy Spirit's demonstration of power to punctuate his message, rather than on charisma and words of wisdom.

Finally, as Paul says many times in this context, he will boast in his weakness, which rules out the idea that his "thorn" is a demon, unless we are willing to say that Paul boasts in demons?

VerticalReality
Sep 17th 2008, 01:01 AM
I do not agree with the interpretation that Paul was given the thorn so he would not become conceited. I also do not believe by reading the text in the Greek it brings one to an accurate conclusion that Paul is talking about himself becoming arrogant. The Greek meaning for the term used here can mean BOTH that a person has exalted themselves or been exalted by something else. It doesn't have to be a person becoming arrogant. Most folks just assume Paul is exalting himself. However, there is nothing from this passage that gives such an indication.

I would also like to add that the thorn being something that originated internally in Paul doesn't make much sense considering that's not what a thorn does. A thorn does not originate inside a person's body like some disease or sickness. A thorn comes from the outside. If I grab a rose bush that thorn will poke through my skin and cause injury. When I grab that thorn bush no sickness or disease begins to formulate within my body.

livingword26
Sep 17th 2008, 01:18 AM
A "messenger of Satan". The Greek word for messenger, used in this verse, is also used 185 other places in the new testemant. In all of those verses, they are all translated as the word "angel" except in the 6 passages listed below. In those verses, it is translated as "messenger", and is clearly referring to a "messenger", just as it states. There is no reason to believe that this verse does not mean what it says.

James 2:25
Luke 9:52
Luke 7:27
Luke 7:24
Mark 1:2
Matthew 11:10

Reynolds357
Sep 17th 2008, 01:20 AM
That is 100% not the case. It was given (by God) to keep Paul from becoming conceited (ie to keep him humble). In fact, since you seem to object to the very idea of God keeping us humble, Paul actually mentions the experience later on in the chapter!

Lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you... 2 Cor 12:21a NKJV



No.

The thorn was not given by God. Please show where the thorn was given by God. God does allow the humbling of those who do not humble themselves. That is a most widely accepted scriptural truth. God is a covenant God, and He allows what His covenant allows. God's teachers are His Word and His Holy Spirit. God's teachers are not demons that he unleashes on His children to torment them. Actions of men open doors to the demonic that give Satan the right to torment them. The ministry of Paul was experiencing great success. If one wants to assume that Paul had become conceited and prideful (which you would have to use a modern translation to reach this false premise) then Paul's action opened the door to this tormenting Spirit. God entered into covenant relationships with us. In the new covenanat we are given authority over demons. Our actions open the door to them and use of our Spiritual weapons defeat them. Satan sees doors of opportunity and takes advantage of them. We open the doors. God has nothing to do with the door being opened. If one becomes conceited, Satan can most definitely use that sin as an inroad for demonic attack. However, God The Father is not sitting back unleashing demons on His Children. God has The Holy Spirit to use in dealing with His Children. God deals with us through His Spirit and His word, Not demons. If we allow ouselves to come under demonic attack, God can turn that evil for good and bring about benefit from it. However, it is totally off base to Say God caused the demonic attack.

Reynolds357
Sep 17th 2008, 01:23 AM
A "messenger of Satan". The Greek word for messenger, used in this verse, is also used 185 other places in the new testemant. In all of those verses, they are all translated as the word "angel" except in the 6 passages listed below. In those verses, it is translated as "messenger", and is clearly referring to a "messenger", just as it states. There is no reason to believe that this verse does not mean what it says.

James 2:25
Luke 9:52
Luke 7:27
Luke 7:24
Mark 1:2
Matthew 11:10
What other messenger does Satan have than a Demon? Satan most definitely did not send a human being around tormenting Paul.

livingword26
Sep 17th 2008, 01:23 AM
God's teachers are His Word and His Holy Spirit. God's teachers are not demons that he unleashes on His children to torment them.

1Co 5:1-5
(1) It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
(2) And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
(3) For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed.
(4) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(5) To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

livingword26
Sep 17th 2008, 01:26 AM
What other messenger does Satan have than a Demon? Satan most definitely did not send a human being around tormenting Paul.

No doubt about it.

Reynolds357
Sep 17th 2008, 01:29 AM
1Co 5:1-5
(1) It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
(2) And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
(3) For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed.
(4) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(5) To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

In every scripture mentioned, the person is in sin. They have opened the door to the demonic.

livingword26
Sep 17th 2008, 02:04 AM
In every scripture mentioned, the person is in sin. They have opened the door to the demonic.

Indeed, but there was a decision made, by Paul, with the power of Christ, that gave the demonic access to this person.

concerning him that hath so done this deed.
(4) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(5) To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

VerticalReality
Sep 17th 2008, 03:00 AM
I agree with some here who state that God allowed the thorn to be given. I mean what else makes sense here? Why would Satan have a problem with Paul either becoming arrogant and exalting himself or other people exalting Paul into something greater than he was? The truth is that Satan wouldn't have a problem with that at all. He would desire that Paul be arrogant or that Paul would be exalted by other people into some sort of false god.

However, God the Father, on the other hand, would have an issue with Paul either becoming arrogant or being exalted by other people into something he is not. Therefore, God did allow this thorn in order to keep things in their proper perspective with regards to Paul.

Literalist-Luke
Sep 17th 2008, 03:00 AM
The explanation is only found by noticing a number of details about Paul's epistles.

II Corinthians 12:7-10 - "I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

There has been a lot of speculation over the centuries about what, precisely, this "thorn" was. We can't say dogmatically, but there are a couple of pretty good clues:

Galatians 4:15 - "If you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me."

Why would the Galatians have a need to give their eyes to Paul? Was there something wrong with Paul's eyes? Then we have this statement of Paul's:

Galatians 6:11 - "See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!"

and this:

Colossians 4:18 - "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand."

and this:

II Thessalonians 3:17 - "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write."

So apparently, there was something unique and out of the ordinary about Paul's handwriting, to the point that it was useful for identifying a letter that really was from Paul as opposed to a fraudulent letter, such as Paul mentioned in II Thessalonians 2:1-2 -

"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come."

Then, three last pieces of the puzzle:

Acts 9:8-9 - "Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything."

And this:

Acts 9:15-16 - "The Lord said to Ananias ... 'I will show him [Saul] how much he must suffer for my name.' "

And finally:

Acts 9:18 - "Something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again"

So here's what I gather from all of this:

Saul was struck blind on the road to Damascus. When the "scales" fell off, he was able to see again, but apparently not completely. He appears to have been left partially blind for the rest of his life. He pleaded with God to heal him, but I guess God knew that Paul needed the blindness to avoid the arrogance he had shown when he was "Saul".

This is why the Galatians would've given Paul their own eyes if they could have. In addition, it apparently made it next to impossible for Paul to write his own epistles. He had to dictate them to somebody else, and apparently this is why we have this verse:

Romans 16:22 - "I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord."

Tertius apparently had to write it down as Paul dictated it because Paul was unable to write it for himself.

Hope this helps. :)

VerticalReality
Sep 17th 2008, 03:02 AM
The problem with Paul's eyes as he depicted when he wrote the Galatians was a result of the stoning he had just received in Lystra, IMO.

livingword26
Sep 17th 2008, 03:07 AM
The explanation is only found by noticing a number of details about Paul's epistles.

II Corinthians 12:7-10 - "I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

There has been a lot of speculation over the centuries about what, precisely, this "thorn" was. We can't say dogmatically, but there are a couple of pretty good clues:

Galatians 4:15 - "If you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me."

Why would the Galatians have a need to give their eyes to Paul? Was there something wrong with Paul's eyes? Then we have this statement of Paul's:

Galatians 6:11 - "See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!"

and this:

Colossians 4:18 - "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand."

and this:

II Thessalonians 3:17 - "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write."

So apparently, there was something unique and out of the ordinary about Paul's handwriting, to the point that it was useful for identifying a letter that really was from Paul as opposed to a fraudulent letter, such as Paul mentioned in II Thessalonians 2:1-2 -

"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come."

Then, three last pieces of the puzzle:

Acts 9:8-9 - "Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything."

And this:

Acts 9:15-16 - "The Lord said to Ananias ... 'I will show him [Saul] how much he must suffer for my name.' "

And finally:

Acts 9:18 - "Something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again"

So here's what I gather from all of this:

Saul was struck blind on the road to Damascus. When the "scales" fell off, he was able to see again, but apparently not completely. He appears to have been left partially blind for the rest of his life. He pleaded with God to heal him, but I guess God knew that Paul needed the blindness to avoid the arrogance he had shown when he was "Saul".

This is why the Galatians would've given Paul their own eyes if they could have. In addition, it apparently made it next to impossible for Paul to write his own epistles. He had to dictate them to somebody else, and apparently this is why we have this verse:

Romans 16:22 - "I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord."

Tertius apparently had to write it down as Paul dictated it because Paul was unable to write it for himself.

Hope this helps. :)

The messenger from Satan, that buffets Paul day and night, is poor eyesight? That's a bit of a stretch.

VerticalReality
Sep 17th 2008, 03:10 AM
The messenger from Satan, that buffets Paul day and night, is poor eyesight? That's a bit of a stretch.

Not to mention also that now everyone who wears glasses are going to think they have been given a thorn in the flesh. :lol:

There will be no going down to LensCrafters!!! We need to cast out that demon!!! :lol:

pastor_john
Sep 17th 2008, 03:30 AM
Many Theologians of our day have made the assumption that the thorn in the flesh which Paul testified of in 2nd Corinthians, was likely some physical ailment.

Many others make the assumption that we can't really know from the scriptures what the thorn in the flesh was.

By comparing scripture with scripture we are given another option.

In the case of Paul's thorn in the flesh, simply looking up the word thorn throughout scripture and examining how "God" uses it, what it represents, and the context in which the word is used by Paul, would reveal what this thorn represented.

The scriptures, both the Old and the New testament, are filled with examples. This term "thorn" is a common word found frequently used symbolically.

Paul was very familiar with the Old Testament scriptures, and he surely used this term in the same way that it is used throughout scripture.

It states in : Numbers 33:55

"But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell".

A thorn in your side "is" a thorn in the flesh. And contrary to popular belief, it's not a physical ailment, it's people who if left among the Children of God, would vex or trouble them.

This is what the thorn in the side "signifies" in God's Word. Paul, being a man of knowledge of scripture would be very familiar with these terms and God's use of them.

He is indeed inspired by God to use this term to signify people who trouble the children of God.

The Judaizers, who were the enemies of God, were a thorn in the side of Paul, because they hated him for teaching against their doctrines

This is the second time for me to see this topic. I was and am again reminded of what an elderly servant of the LORD said to me. Now I will put it here: Paul spoke the word of GOD, and still had a thorn, that is, the messenger of satan. And Joshua was wearing filthy clothes, and satan was standing on his right hand, accusing him (Zach3:1-5). GOD allowed this to happen.

Now I have also thought of Mt16:21-23: Peter, a beloved follower of Jesus, was speaking with his mind set on the things of men, not on the things of GOD. Jesus turned and said to Peter," Get behind me, satan!"
It's really shocking, isn't it?

The Bible says: satan, the devil has been thrown down with his angels, and there is no longer any place for him in heaven, and has come down to us with great wrath, because he knows his time is short (Rev12:7-9, 12). Let's really keep alert, for the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1Pe5:8).

May the mercy of the LORD and His protection be with each of us! amen.

Literalist-Luke
Sep 17th 2008, 03:42 AM
The messenger from Satan, that buffets Paul day and night, is poor eyesight? That's a bit of a stretch.Not according to the writings I cited in Paul's letters.

VerticalReality
Sep 17th 2008, 03:53 AM
Not according to the writings I cited in Paul's letters.

None of the passages I saw you reference stated that Paul had poor vision. The Scriptures indicate of a time "at the first" when Paul came to the Galatians he was writing that he was having some issues with his eyes. However, those passages indicate it was "at the first" and not something that was permanent.

However, I personally do not view poor vision as being a result of demons. If that were the case I think many folks would be in a awful lot of trouble.

Hawkins
Sep 17th 2008, 07:00 AM
Fact of the matter... we just don't know exactly what it is. We can speculate and we can assume but in the end all it is would be speculation and assumption. Keep in mind though... just as a "big fish"... thorns and big fish can come in many forms. ;)

Words of wisdom. I think that the same can be said to the 'Christ's sign' he had.

joztok
Sep 17th 2008, 02:14 PM
The only time possible I can see that Paul in his ministry would have seen the third heaven was when he was stoned at Lystra buy the zealous and mis-directed Jews. The saints gathered around him and prayed. In this instance he was taken up to the third heaven and saw wonderful things (like the testimonies we hear today). And he returns (awakes), gets up and leaves for the next town.

We know that Paul was indeed a Pharisaic Jew who would have been a good looking, well loved, law abiding Jew who would practice noble social, people and speaking skills. He was a teacher of the Law and came across well in manner and style.

I believe it was a spirit of pride that was the thorn that pursued him. It was this spirit that provoked the lady to tell all that Paul and Barnabas 'were messengers from God'. It was the same spirit that provoked the people of Lystra into proclaimig Paul Zeus. He realised what was happening too late and the people, operating irrationally and possibly under spirit possession killed him. Sees the third heaven and arises from the ground beside the praying saints.

So he's off to the next city. He face is smashed in, he's disfigured. He's walking with a limp, a damaged adam's apple, bruised and broken face and swollen eyes.

We know that the Galatians were disturbed by his features. We know he looked sick and that there was something wrong with his voice and eyes in his letters.

Why did God allow this to happen? Is it possible that Paul was still relying on his argumentative skills in converting his fellow Jew? Relying on his elequent speeches to win people? Using his charm and good manners to tell gentiles of the good news?

It's clear that he would have used these things to his advantage. However, from his experience in Lystra, I believe his spiritual walk deepened as he learnt He needed to rely on God more and not on his mastery of skill, charm and technique.

Now he is aware of the spirit of pride that will always try to get the better of him, just as it did of his fellow Jew. His eyes are more open of the truth and the glory of God, and now understands the significance of the thorn in his side; a haunting reminder of how fragile he is in comparison to the Almighty Jesus Christ in His grace abounding. The more he becomes aware of God, the more he becomes aware of how vulnerable he is as a man in relation to pride (or glory of man).

We have this thorn too.

Scruffy Kid
Sep 17th 2008, 02:20 PM
There are lots of interesting theories and observations that various posters have given. I appreciate these lines of explanation, and always' post which started the discussion. LiteralistLuke's long exposition of passages relevant to thinking Paul had difficulties with eyesight is particularly interesting. However, in the end I agree with Hawkins and ProjectPeter:

Fact of the matter... we just don't know exactly what it is. We can speculate and we can assume but in the end all it is would be speculation and assumption. Keep in mind though... just as a "big fish"... thorns and big fish can come in many forms. ;) Words of wisdom. I think that the same can be said to the 'Christ's sign' he had. The Bible is inspired by God, the work of the Holy Spirit working together with the human authors. I think that that inspiration is at work both when the Bible supplies information, and when it leaves some matters open and ambiguous.

Very likely Paul's readers knew what the "thorn" was -- but they may not have. Paul may have omitted saying by accident, or intentionally. But presumably, since the text we do have doesn't settle the question, it was the intention of the Holy Spirit that Paul's reference remain ambiguous.

Whether we suffer from physical impairments, or pain that these cause, or bad habits, or characteristic spiritual blind spots, Paul's words, as we have them, can help us see that God sometimes lets us struggle with areas where we think he could just as well have cured us and that in doing so He gives us a greater gift than the healing we desire: the grace that trusts in Him despite His not acting in the way that seems to us best.

Having, maintaining that trust when God's provision is not what we'd like it to be, or might think it should be is one of the central struggles of the Christian life, a central part of the "Thy will be done" that is at the heart of our faith in God, and adoration of Him. Even Jesus went through that struggle, for us all, in Gethsemene.

Literalist-Luke
Sep 17th 2008, 04:33 PM
None of the passages I saw you reference stated that Paul had poor vision. The Scriptures indicate of a time "at the first" when Paul came to the Galatians he was writing that he was having some issues with his eyes. However, those passages indicate it was "at the first" and not something that was permanent.

However, I personally do not view poor vision as being a result of demons. If that were the case I think many folks would be in a awful lot of trouble.First of all, most of Paul's letters were written while he was chained up in Rome, over two years after he was arrested in Jerusalem, so that sounds close enough to "permanent" for me. In addition, you guys are all assuming that this "messenger of Satan" is an actively present demon. Yet in other places in the Bible where it speaks of demons, the Bible plainly says "demon" or "evil spirit", so it could also be said to be a stretch for you guys to assume that Paul is speaking of a demon.

Reynolds357
Sep 17th 2008, 04:56 PM
Not according to the writings I cited in Paul's letters.

The writings you have cited in no way support Paul's thorn being poor eyesight. "Plucked eyes out" is a figure of speech just as "give my right arm." "Large letter" refers to the size of the epistle, not the size of each individual letter.

Reynolds357
Sep 17th 2008, 04:58 PM
First of all, most of Paul's letters were written while he was chained up in Rome, over two years after he was arrested in Jerusalem, so that sounds close enough to "permanent" for me. In addition, you guys are all assuming that this "messenger of Satan" is an actively present demon. Yet in other places in the Bible where it speaks of demons, the Bible plainly says "demon" or "evil spirit", so it could also be said to be a stretch for you guys to assume that Paul is speaking of a demon.
It is not a stretch at all. The meaning of the passage in Greek is quite plain.

BroRog
Sep 17th 2008, 07:37 PM
The writings you have cited in no way support Paul's thorn being poor eyesight. "Plucked eyes out" is a figure of speech just as "give my right arm." "Large letter" refers to the size of the epistle, not the size of each individual letter.

I guess "messanger of satan" could also be a figure of speech. :)

Reynolds357
Sep 17th 2008, 08:43 PM
I guess "messanger of satan" could also be a figure of speech. :)

Read it in the Greek. Very simple. Very plain. Very literal.

BroRog
Sep 18th 2008, 12:39 AM
Read it in the Greek. Very simple. Very plain. Very literal.

I don't understand your point. Are you suggesting that a literal translation must always be taken literally? You mean Paul and Jesus can't use a metaphor? That hardly seems likely.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 01:07 AM
Very likely Paul's readers knew what the "thorn" was -- but they may not have.

Peter said;
2 Peter 3:16
He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

It is very normal that Paul's readers don't understand what Paul said, as those 'things that are hard to understand' are not reserved from them. They are not even recommended to interpret them by their own will.

Now guess to whom those 'things that are hard to understand' are addressed? The answer is, the prophets.

Get back to what Paul himself said;
1 Corinthians 14:37
If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command.

Do Paul's readers figure out where in his letters are indicative of the Lord's command. They don't. As only 'a prophet or spiritually gifted' might understand.

So do Paul's readers understand all what he said, very much unlikely.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 01:13 AM
The only time possible I can see that Paul in his ministry would have seen the third heaven was when he was stoned at Lystra buy the zealous and mis-directed Jews. The saints gathered around him and prayed. In this instance he was taken up to the third heaven and saw wonderful things (like the testimonies we hear today). And he returns (awakes), gets up and leaves for the next town.


Do you understand the meaning of all you said here? They are prophesied to show that Paul is sent by our Lord.

Matthew 23:34
Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.

Paul is either killed or crucified. He's bee driven out of synagogues. He's been flogged to almost dead. He's been pursued from town to town.

Reynolds357
Sep 18th 2008, 01:14 AM
I don't understand your point. Are you suggesting that a literal translation must always be taken literally? You mean Paul and Jesus can't use a metaphor? That hardly seems likely.

The passage taken any way other than literally does not make sense. Why would the phrase "an angel of Satan" be added to thorn in the flesh if not for literal clarification as to what the thorn was?

If I were to say "I was given vegetables today, green beans;" would you then say what was the vegetable he was given? When Paul was given a "thorn, an angel of Satan," why do you then ask what the thorn was?

livingword26
Sep 18th 2008, 01:48 AM
Originally Posted by Scruffy Kid http://bibleforums.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1791370#post1791370)
Very likely Paul's readers knew what the "thorn" was -- but they may not have.


Peter said;
2 Peter 3:16
He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

It is very normal that Paul's readers don't understand what Paul said, as those 'things that are hard to understand' are not reserved from them. They are not even recommended to interpret them by their own will.

Actually that verse is not that complicated. The messenger from Satan is pretty clear, especially when you know that the word for messenger is translated as "angel" most of the time.




Now guess to whom those 'things that are hard to understand' are addressed? The answer is, the prophets.

Get back to what Paul himself said;
1 Corinthians 14:37
If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command.

Do Paul's readers figure out where in his letters are indicative of the Lord's command. They don't. As only 'a prophet or spiritually gifted' might understand.

So do Paul's readers understand all what he said, very much unlikely.That is not what that verse says at all. Paul says that if there are anyone among you who claim to be spiritual, or a prophet, he will acknowledge that what I am writing in this letter is the Lords command. If this spiritual person or prophet does not acknowledge that what Paul is saying, is from the Lord, then that person is not spiritual, or a prophet. In other words, Paul is saying to use his letter as a test for the supposed spiritual person or prophet.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 01:58 AM
That is not what that verse says at all. Paul says that if there are anyone among you who claim to be spiritual, or a prophet, he will acknowledge that what I am writing in this letter is the Lords command.

So he didn't say that anyone can acknowledge that. Now if you can acknowlege, tell me how it is a command from our Lord?

Of course, someone appears to be an 'angel' will claim that he understand all the Scripture, including the chapter 'Revelation'. While the simple truth is, noone can ever claim that he understand the Scripture in full, no matter how spiritual he is.

How?

Do you want me to quote again?

things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction

livingword26
Sep 18th 2008, 02:07 AM
So he didn't say that anyone can acknowledge that. Now if you can acknowlege, tell me how it is a command from our Lord?



I'm not sure what you are saying in the first sentance. I can acknowledge what Paul wrote was from the Lord, because I have the Spirit of the Lord in me. If the "spiritual person" and the "prophet" had the Spirit of God in them, then they would acknowledge it as well, if not, they wouldn't.




Of course, someone appears to be an 'angel' will claim that he understand all the Scripture, including the chapter 'Revelation'. While the simple truth is, noone can ever claim that he understand the Scripture in full, no matter how spiritual he is.

I don't believe that anyone has made that claim, including any prophets. But any, and every single verse, in itself, can have the truth in it revealed by God, to whomever He sees fit to reveal it.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 02:10 AM
I'm not sure what you are saying in the first sentance. I can acknowledge what Paul wrote was from the Lord, because I have the Spirit of the Lord in me. If the "spiritual person" and the "prophet" had the Spirit of God in them, then they would acknowledge it as well, if not, they wouldn't.

I don't believe that anyone has made that claim, including any prophets. But any, and every single verse, in itself, can have the truth in it revealed by God, to whomever He sees fit to reveal it.

So you are clueless. Let's start with the simplest. Do you agree that there are parts in Paul's letters which are difficult to understand, even to those spiritual Christians like you? Or do you simply claim that you understand everything said in Paul's letters?

Do you claim that you understand everything said in Paul's letters?

If you choose to ignore or explain away the strong tone in 2 Peter 3:16. I can't help.

livingword26
Sep 18th 2008, 02:12 AM
Do you want me to quote again?

things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction

I'm not sure what your point is.

2Pe 3:13-18
(13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
(14) Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
(15) And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
(16) As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.
(17) Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.
(18) But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 02:14 AM
some things

So now you admit that some things are hard to understand in Paul's letters? Now what are they?

They are those still controversial till this moment, such as,

- thorn, and Christ's sign mentioned by Paul
- women as preachers
- ... etc. etc.

livingword26
Sep 18th 2008, 02:14 AM
So you are clueless. Let's start with the simplest. Do you agree that there are parts in Paul's letters which are difficult to understand, even to those spiritual Christians like you? Or do you simply claim that you understand everything said in Paul's letters?

Do you claim that you understand everything said in Paul's letters?

If you choose to ignore or explain away the strong tone in 2 Peter 3:16. I can't help.

No need to get nasty. All parts of the bible contain verses which can be hard to understand. Understanding it in entirety was not a condition set by Paul, only acknowledging that it was from the Lord.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 02:16 AM
No need to get nasty. All parts of the bible contain verses which can be hard to understand. Understanding it in entirety was not a condition set by Paul, only acknowledging that it was from the Lord.

I am not getting nasty. I am saying that you fail to see the obvious yet keep arguing.

livingword26
Sep 18th 2008, 02:21 AM
I am not getting nasty. I am saying that you fail to see the obvious yet keep arguing.

Okay. I'm not clueless and I'm not arguing. I am posting my beliefs in what the scripture says on a forum. That is what the forum is for. If you don't like the fact that I think the "messenger from Satan" is clearly talking about the demonic, that is your right. More power to ya and God bless you.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 02:23 AM
Okay. I'm not clueless and I'm not arguing. I am posting my beliefs in what the scripture says on a forum. That is what the forum is for. If you don't like the fact that I think the "messenger from Satan" is clearly talking about the demonic, that is your right. More power to ya and God bless you.

I agree with you on that the demonic will say that he understand all about what are said in Paul's letters, to lead to their own destructions.

By the same token you said, I am here to post my belief on my part, and to point out the obvious for everyone to judge.

VerticalReality
Sep 18th 2008, 02:25 AM
Cool off on the personal comments, folks. Just address the topic of the thread and your interpretation of those Scriptures.

Thanks.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 02:28 AM
Cool off on the personal comments, folks. Just address the topic of the thread and your interpretation of those Scriptures.

Thanks.

Nothing personal, but

2 Peter 3:16
He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Should that be taken lightly? That's the point.

VerticalReality
Sep 18th 2008, 02:37 AM
Nothing personal, but

2 Peter 3:16
He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Should that be taken lightly? That's the point.

I don't believe anyone here is trying to take Scriptures lightly, nor do they need to be accused of doing so.

The topic of this thread can be addressed, and rebuttals to others' interpretation established without the inclusion of personal remarks.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 02:38 AM
I don't believe anyone here is trying to take Scriptures lightly, nor do they need to be accused of doing so.

The topic of this thread can be addressed, and rebuttals to others' interpretation established without the inclusion of personal remarks.

So who started frist the remark of 'angel', 'demonic' and etc.? Read back before you direct your finger (accusation?) at me.

livingword26
Sep 18th 2008, 02:42 AM
So who started frist the remark of 'angel', 'demonic' and etc.? Read back before you direct your finger (accusation?) at me.

The only thing that has been referred to as a demon is the "messenger of Satan" that is being discussed.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 02:43 AM
The only thing that has been referred to as a demon is the "messenger of Satan" that is being discussed.

And you don't even receive a 'off-topic' warning by doing so. ;) And am I simply extending that discussion?

VerticalReality
Sep 18th 2008, 02:45 AM
So who started frist the remark of 'angel', 'demonic' and etc.? Read back before you direct your finger (accusation?) at me.

Thus far I have not directed my finger toward anyone specifically. If you would like to discuss the moderation of these forums you may begin a thread in the chat to moderators section and I would be happy to discuss things with you. As for the present, I would appreciate it if everyone involved would refrain from the personal remarks and discuss the topic of the thread.

livingword26
Sep 18th 2008, 02:46 AM
And you don't even receive a 'off-topic' warning by doing so. ;) And am I simply extending that discussion?

That is what the topic is about:

2Co 12:6-7
(6) For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
(7) And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 02:47 AM
Thus far I have not directed my finger toward anyone specifically. If you would like to discuss the moderation of these forums you may begin a thread in the chat to moderators section and I would be happy to discuss things with you. As for the present, I would appreciate it if everyone involved would refrain from the personal remarks and discuss the topic of the thread.

Cool, and you realize that nothing personal was ever intended.

Along the discussion, all I want to say is that Peter's comment about Paul's letters shall not be taken lightly.

VerticalReality
Sep 18th 2008, 02:49 AM
Cool

Thank you for your help in keeping these topics on a positive track.

threebigrocks
Sep 18th 2008, 02:53 AM
The problem with Paul's eyes as he depicted when he wrote the Galatians was a result of the stoning he had just received in Lystra, IMO.

Humm...

Galatians was written in 49 (some date it at 53) and I Corinthians in 56, according to my Bible. Could it not be that his eyesight, if that is indeed the thorn (not saying it was, I've never come by anything that hinted at what it was yet) could it not have been given him from the stoning in Galatians?

Or, it could be that this isn't the thorn at all and Paul just lost part of his eyesight because of the beatings he took. I'm guessing that this is most likely the scenario. IMHO, that is.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 02:53 AM
Thank you for your help in keeping these topics on a positive track.

I always try to post something I think it's valuable yet might have been overlooked. Nothing personal is intended indeed.

This forum/site is cool, amongst one of the most spiritual. Amen to His Grace.

VerticalReality
Sep 18th 2008, 02:58 AM
Or, it could be that this isn't the thorn at all and Paul just lost part of his eyesight because of the beatings he took. I'm guessing that this is most likely the scenario. IMHO, that is.

It's certainly possible. My belief that Paul's thorn was persecution stems mainly from his declaration of his infirmity at the end of 2 Corinthians 11.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 03:10 AM
It's certainly possible. My belief that Paul's thorn was persecution stems mainly from his declaration of his infirmity at the end of 2 Corinthians 11.

IMO, it could be anything, most likely one of his weakness, vulnerable to the attacks from someone from the dark side. My bet is, he has certain characteristics that one may easily accussed him of not from our Lord. As a result, he might find difficulties in preaching the Gospel when his authentication becomes questionable, and the messenger from Satan might have intendedly magnified that question.

threebigrocks
Sep 18th 2008, 03:25 AM
IMO, it could be anything, most likely one of his weakness, vulnerable to the attacks from someone from the dark side. My bet is, he has certain characteristics that one may easily accussed him of not from our Lord. As a result, he might find difficulties in preaching the Gospel when his authentication becomes questionable, and the messenger from Satan might have intendedly magnified that question.


If the thorn was Paul's check and balance in humility, and together with the way he claimed that his words were not his own but of God, then why would a man so submitted to Christ have characteristics of evil?

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 03:28 AM
If the thorn was Paul's check and balance in humility, and together with the way he claimed that his words were not his own but of God, then why would a man so submitted to Christ have characteristics of evil?

We can't be sinless, we thus all have weakness. I think that when Paul viewed it positively, after being refused 3 times for the removal, the thorn kept him from his own over-pride.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

cdo
Sep 18th 2008, 03:58 AM
:hmm:
I've read about 20% of the post.I' m glad I came across it !!!
I always wondered about Paul's thorn in his flesh but, really never knowing the real truth about it and why.Maybe I looked over the scriptures and didn't see the answers to it,I don't know !! I knew there was a reason.

But, I feel I have a thorn in my flesh that has not ever went away:(.I'm saying this in all humility and to a degree of embarrassment to whoever reads this.I have suffered from all stages of depression in my entire life (from a toddler on up) and a few other M.I. which I am treated for.It's like I was born with this to a sense,why?I have so many unanswered ???:hmm:

Why or would God place this thorn in my flesh if He did?I lose so much a part of our relationship when I'm like this.

Just thanks for listening and hopefully I will know.
in Christ,Darlene:hug:

livingword26
Sep 18th 2008, 04:02 AM
:hmm:
I've read about 20% of the post.I' m glad I came across it !!!
I always wondered about Paul's thorn in his flesh but, really never knowing the real truth about it and why.Maybe I looked over the scriptures and didn't see the answers to it,I don't know !! I knew there was a reason.

But, I feel I have a thorn in my flesh that has not ever went away:(.I'm saying this in all humility and to a degree of embarrassment to whoever reads this.I have suffered from all stages of depression in my entire life (from a toddler on up) and a few other M.I. which I am treated for.It's like I was born with this to a sense,why?I have so many unanswered ???:hmm:

Why or would God place this thorn in my flesh if He did?I lose so much a part of our relationship when I'm like this.

Just thanks for listening and hopefully I will know.
in Christ,Darlene:hug:

I have also suffered deep depressions, all my life. While I will not attempt to address what you have said specifically, I will say that His grace is sufficient. He will be there even when you cannot be. He will hold you even when you have fallen. He will love you even when you are angry. God bless you.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 05:51 AM
:hmm:
I've read about 20% of the post.I' m glad I came across it !!!
I always wondered about Paul's thorn in his flesh but, really never knowing the real truth about it and why.Maybe I looked over the scriptures and didn't see the answers to it,I don't know !! I knew there was a reason.

But, I feel I have a thorn in my flesh that has not ever went away:(.I'm saying this in all humility and to a degree of embarrassment to whoever reads this.I have suffered from all stages of depression in my entire life (from a toddler on up) and a few other M.I. which I am treated for.It's like I was born with this to a sense,why?I have so many unanswered ???:hmm:

Why or would God place this thorn in my flesh if He did?I lose so much a part of our relationship when I'm like this.

Just thanks for listening and hopefully I will know.
in Christ,Darlene:hug:

Sad to hear that. Please keep fighting. See the doctors, put it to your prayers. Find yourself a reliable church, to live a Christian life with the help from church is important. Group prayings usually help a lot. So how's your church life by far, is it ok?

God Bless You.

joztok
Sep 18th 2008, 06:15 AM
So you are clueless. Let's start with the simplest. Do you agree that there are parts in Paul's letters which are difficult to understand, even to those spiritual Christians like you? Or do you simply claim that you understand everything said in Paul's letters?

Do you claim that you understand everything said in Paul's letters?

If you choose to ignore or explain away the strong tone in 2 Peter 3:16. I can't help.

Of course there are some hard things in his letters to understand. But he's not a gnostic. He wrote what he wrote so that we may understand God, His mysteries and revelations, Christian living and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit, etc.

We do our best to understand them to the best of our abilities so we don't live in error.


We can't be sinless, we thus all have weakness. I think that when Paul viewed it positively, after being refused 3 times for the removal, the thorn kept him from his own over-pride.

We are made sinless through Christ. However, we are weak. Christ was weak and fragile in his time here on earth. He cried and bled. Our weakness causes us to sin.


Do you understand the meaning of all you said here? They are prophesied to show that Paul is sent by our Lord.

I don't know what you mean here Hawkins. What? Please explain. Is what I said good, bad, off topic or what?

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 06:24 AM
Of course there are some hard things in his letters to understand. But he's not a gnostic. He wrote what he wrote so that we may understand God, His mysteries and revelations, Christian living and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit, etc.


I almost give up on this. Ok, a last try. Let me put it another way,

Why He has to write something difficult to understand. When you are asked to write a letter to a church, will you write something hard to understand to them?

You will not write something hard to understand to your addressed audience. I think that I've already brought it to the most obvious. If you don't see the obvious, I can't help.

Hawkins
Sep 18th 2008, 06:27 AM
I have also suffered deep depressions, all my life.

Sad to hear this too. May God be with you, bro.

BroRog
Sep 18th 2008, 02:53 PM
The passage taken any way other than literally does not make sense. Why would the phrase "an angel of Satan" be added to thorn in the flesh if not for literal clarification as to what the thorn was?

If I were to say "I was given vegetables today, green beans;" would you then say what was the vegetable he was given? When Paul was given a "thorn, an angel of Satan," why do you then as what the thorn was?

This is a good question because it addresses the methodology of Bible study and interpretation, which is often times overlooked. And I think it's good, sometimes, to check ourselves in terms of our assumptions and the apparent dissonance in the text itself.

You asked why I question the literal meaning of "angel of Satan." I don't know if you read my earlier, lengthy analysis of the passage. If not, let me summarize my thoughts. The main reason I questioned the phrase has to do with the flow of ideas Paul presents. I don't normally question everything in the text, but often times, as I read a passage, a couple of phrases seem dissonant with each other, like two notes played out of tune. If I come across phrases that don't seem to match, I then try to figure out why.

In this instance, the idea that Paul had an harassing demon following him around, was in dissonance with the idea that Paul had a weakness. Not all of our frustrations and challenges are demonic in nature. Some of us are just too short to play basketball, or too tall to fit into a sports car. Some of us are too weak to qualify as Olympic weight lifters. It isn't Satan's fault. He is not to blame for everything we find frustrating, challenging, or difficult. Some of us are born blind from birth (not that I am personally), having nothing to do with the sin of our parents, the way we live, or Satanic attack. Some of us just live with weaknesses that we pray about, attempt to fix, or learn to accept eventually, which have nothing to do with outside agencies such as Satan or his demons.

In this case, I had to decide whether to take the Satanic demon literally, or the fact that Paul had a weakness literally. I chose to take the idea that Paul had a weakness as a literal reality because of what Jesus said to Paul in response to his petition to have it removed. It seemed highly unlikely that Jesus would praise a Satanic demon for spreading the Gospel or that Jesus and Paul would consider demonic harassment a weakness of Paul's.

What seemed to make the most sense of the rest of the context is to understand both "thorn in the flesh" AND "messenger of satan" as figures of speech, which help to describe both the effect and the significance of his ordeal with his weakness. It also helps to know that the term "Satan" is both a name and a common noun associated with accusing someone of something. The term "satan" with a small 's' simply means "accuser", which seems to be Satan's (capital 'S') role in life, known in scripture as "the accuser of our brethren."

I was open to the possiblity that Paul was using the term with a small 's', as in "accuser", not the capital 'S' person who is the chief of the accusers.

Reynolds357
Sep 18th 2008, 03:24 PM
This is a good question because it addresses the methodology of Bible study and interpretation, which is often times overlooked. And I think it's good, sometimes, to check ourselves in terms of our assumptions and the apparent dissonance in the text itself.

You asked why I question the literal meaning of "angel of Satan." I don't know if you read my earlier, lengthy analysis of the passage. If not, let me summarize my thoughts. The main reason I questioned the phrase has to do with the flow of ideas Paul presents. I don't normally question everything in the text, but often times, as I read a passage, a couple of phrases seem dissonant with each other, like two notes played out of tune. If I come across phrases that don't seem to match, I then try to figure out why.

In this instance, the idea that Paul had an harassing demon following him around, was in dissonance with the idea that Paul had a weakness. Not all of our frustrations and challenges are demonic in nature. Some of us are just too short to play basketball, or too tall to fit into a sports car. Some of us are too weak to qualify as Olympic weight lifters. It isn't Satan's fault. He is not to blame for everything we find frustrating, challenging, or difficult. Some of us are born blind from birth (not that I am personally), having nothing to do with the sin of our parents, the way we live, or Satanic attack. Some of us just live with weaknesses that we pray about, attempt to fix, or learn to accept eventually, which have nothing to do with outside agencies such as Satan or his demons.

In this case, I had to decide whether to take the Satanic demon literally, or the fact that Paul had a weakness literally. I chose to take the idea that Paul had a weakness as a literal reality because of what Jesus said to Paul in response to his petition to have it removed. It seemed highly unlikely that Jesus would praise a Satanic demon for spreading the Gospel or that Jesus and Paul would consider demonic harassment a weakness of Paul's.

What seemed to make the most sense of the rest of the context is to understand both "thorn in the flesh" AND "messenger of satan" as figures of speech, which help to describe both the effect and the significance of his ordeal with his weakness. It also helps to know that the term "Satan" is both a name and a common noun associated with accusing someone of something. The term "satan" with a small 's' simply means "accuser", which seems to be Satan's (capital 'S') role in life, known in scripture as "the accuser of our brethren."

I was open to the possiblity that Paul was using the term with a small 's', as in "accuser", not the capital 'S' person who is the chief of the accusers.

The points you bring out are precisely why I feel the text is making reference to a demon. In logical context, if Paul did not insert an explanation, we would miss that his thorn was a demon. Had Paul left out "A messenger of Satan," then I would agree with what you say. Without this clarifier, which Paul so thoughtfully included, we would come to the false conclusion about what the thorn was. We might think the thorn was a physical infirmity or some other ailment. However, Paul plainly clarified for us what the thorn was to make sure we did not make a mistake in identifying it when we read the passage.

legoman
Sep 19th 2008, 01:18 PM
Yes it does. It was a messenger of Satan, but it was given to him - who gave it? God. Satan doesn't give us ANYTHING! It's very like Job's and Peter's experience, when Satan had to ASK God/Jesus for permission to buffet God's servant - God/Jesus GAVE the permission, because He had a greater purpose to bless Job/Peter - and Paul!



Immediately, yes, but ultimately, no - it was from God. As are all Satanic attacks - nothing happens without His permission - He is in ultimate control of every aspect of our lives.



No - none of the above translations gives that impression at all. It is true of course that Satan tries to hinder gospel ministry, but that is not the truth of this text.



That is 100% not the case. It was given (by God) to keep Paul from becoming conceited (ie to keep him humble). In fact, since you seem to object to the very idea of God keeping us humble, Paul actually mentions the experience later on in the chapter!

Lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you... 2 Cor 12:21a NKJV



No.

Hi,

I'm jumping into this thread a bit late, but just wanted to say I think you are 100% right 9MarksFan.

It seems clear to me that from the verse that Paul's thorn was a messenger from Satan.

Paul's revelation was so great and raised him up so much, that God needed to humble him. As others have said it was Satan who did the humbling, but only in that God allowed Satan to do it. It was a persistent humbling, in that a thorn is a persistent pain in your flesh.

This is from another article I read, but it illustrated the point of the "persistent humbling":
--
Paul's Bizarre Life


Paul’s suffered:
weariness - more exceedingly
jails - more exceedingly
blows - inordinately
deaths - often
thirty-nine lashes - 5 times
flogged with rods - 3 times
stoned - 1 time
shipwrecked - 3 times
day & night in swamp - 1 time
journeys - often
dangers of rivers - often
dangers of robbers - often
dangers of my race - often
dangers of the nations - often
dangers in the city - often
dangers in wilderness - often
dangers in the sea - often
dangers/false brethren - often
toil and labor - often
vigils - often
famine and thirst - often
fasts - often
cold and nakedness - often

When it says often above, we can assume it was more than 5 times, or too many times for Paul to remember.

--
The amount of toil and danger he faced was excessive, to say the least.

Imagine you go on a business trip overseas. The plane crashes in the ocean. Somehow you survive in the water, managing to avoid the sharks. A rescue ship picks you up, but on the way to the mainland it sinks! You manage to make it to land, where you are promptly beaten and have your wallet stolen (which you somehow held onto this far). You acquire extra finances at a local bank, and go to a hospital to tend your wounds, and are charged $5000 for some bandages and medical work. In the mean time you miss your business meeting, lose a big client, and get fired.

And this sort of thing keeps happening to you your whole life. If that happened to anyone of us, we would think we are cursed. And in a sense, Paul was cursed - a messenger of satan was sent to him to be a persistent thorn, causing persistent trials.

Only to keep him humble.

Cheers,
Legoman

VerticalReality
Sep 19th 2008, 01:53 PM
I just have a difficult time accepting that Paul, a man who had been brought basically to nothing on the road to Damascus, would have had an issue with pride or exalting himself after his conversion. I believe it is more likely, IMO, that without this thorn Paul would have been exalted above measure into something he wasn't . . . God. I believe folks would have witnessed the power of the Lord he was walking in and exalted him into divine status unless they could see that in his flesh he was weak. Therefore, when he took those beatings and stonings being brought to "deaths often" everyone could see clearly that he was merely a man being used by a mighty God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That's my view on the matter anyway.

billy-brown 2
Feb 13th 2009, 09:56 PM
I have been looking for a thread like this--because it reveals much about the temperament of the Apostle Paul--for our learning . . .

The passage in question--that all have made great points on:

II Cor. 12:7-10

7 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/12-7.htm) Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/12-8.htm) Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/12-9.htm) And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/12-10.htm) Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

What sticks out to me here is this:

Paul asked the Lord three times for this thorn to "leave him"--as if he was weary of it.

When the Lord said to Paul,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”,

then Paul does the unthinkable.

Paul indicates (in defense of his ministry to the Corinthians) that He will most gladly, therefore, boast in and be well content

" . . . with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, . . .

Interesting . . .

Now at first, Paul does not want this "thorn" at all (" . . . Lord, take it away!").

Then, Paul realizes something--as the Lord is teaching Paul a significant thing.

What does Paul learn?

Paul learns that all his "weakness and persecution"--is TRUE STRENGTH.

What?

Is this some kind of double talk? How is "weakness and persecution" to be "strength?'

What kind of man is Paul?

Well, Paul is a man that LEARNED contentment--and that from God.

After all, Paul had written already in the same book (II Cor.) the following:

II Cor. 4:17-18, 5:1

17 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/4-17.htm) For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/4-18.htm) while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.1 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/5-1.htm) For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Light affliction . . .

Anyway, here are some passages concerning the "Thorn" at work on Paul:

II Tim 3:10-12

10 (http://bible.cc/2_timothy/3-10.htm) Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 (http://bible.cc/2_timothy/3-11.htm) persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 (http://bible.cc/2_timothy/3-12.htm) Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Antioch, Iconium, Lystra . . . hmmm . . . let's look at

Acts 14:1-26 (see context from Acts 13 also):

1 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-1.htm) In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. 2 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-2.htm) But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. 3 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-3.htm) Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. 4 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-4.htm) But the people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. 5 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-5.htm) And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, 6 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-6.htm) they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; 7 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-7.htm) and there they continued to preach the gospel.
8 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-8.htm) At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-9.htm) This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, 10 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-10.htm) said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk. 11 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-11.htm) When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” 12 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-12.htm) And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-13.htm) The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-14.htm) But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out 15 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-15.htm) and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM. 16 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-16.htm) “In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; 17 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-17.htm) and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-18.htm) Even saying these things, with difficulty they restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.
19 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-19.htm) But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-20.htm) But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-21.htm) After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-22.htm) strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” 23 (http://bible.cc/acts/14-23.htm) When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Foundational to all of these "thorn" examples is the reality that the "thorn" activity came to Paul specifically because he was NOT ASHAMED TO OBEY THE COMMAND OF GOD TO PREACH THE GOSPEL.

Paul was faithful to obey the Lord--and he looked forward to the attainment of the recompense:

Phil. 3:10-11

10 (http://bible.cc/philippians/3-10.htm) that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 (http://bible.cc/philippians/3-11.htm) in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

May the "thorn" be with you . . .

CommanderRobey
Feb 14th 2009, 05:16 AM
I believe Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was Alexander the Coppersmith who "did me much evil."

The thorn had to have been a person rather than a trial. Paul called it 'a messenger of satan,' not 'a message of satan.'

CommanderRobey
Feb 14th 2009, 05:34 AM
Actually, the Greek word 'aggelos' can be translated either 'messenger' or 'angel.'

Since the Greek word 'aggelos' is translated as 'angel' many other times in the New Testament, I would say that 'messenger' is not speaking of an angel, but rather one who carries a message.
Epaphroditus was also called a 'messenger' in Philippians 2. We know Epaphroditus was not an angel, of course. The point is, Paul used the word angel in 2 Corinthians 11... the Chapter just prior to his mentioning the messenger of satan.

I believe had it been a demonic being or one of satan's angels, Paul would most certainly have used the word 'angel' in the 12th Chapter.

CommanderRobey
Feb 14th 2009, 05:42 AM
Another reason I do not believe Paul was being tormented by one of satan's angels is because of 2 Peter 2 and Jude. Both tell us that the angels that sinned were cast into hell and are reserved under darkness in chains unto the day of judgment.


2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but
cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness,
to be reserved unto judgment;
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but
left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains
under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.How could it be one of satan's angels (demons) if they are in hell?

billy-brown 2
Feb 14th 2009, 01:27 PM
Another reason I do not believe Paul was being tormented by one of satan's angels is because of 2 Peter 2 and Jude. Both tell us that the angels that sinned were cast into hell and are reserved under darkness in chains unto the day of judgment.


2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but
cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness,
to be reserved unto judgment;
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but
left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains
under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.How could it be one of satan's angels (demons) if they are in hell?


Very interesting ^^^^^. . . I'll have to think about what you are saying above ^^^^^ . . .

Nevertheless, I tend to concentrate on the parallels implied in verses 8-10 when I read about the issues of the OP--not that I discount verse 7 (that's not possible, really), but I am really interested in Paul's response to the "thorn" rather than what the "thorn" might be in itself.

Congrats!;)

CommanderRobey
Feb 14th 2009, 06:28 PM
Paul's initial response to the thorn:


2 Corinthians 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

Paul's ultimate response to the thorn:


2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

billy-brown 2
Feb 15th 2009, 12:20 AM
Paul's initial response to the thorn:

2 Corinthians 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

Apparently, Paul did not like the "thorn" at all.


Paul's ultimate response to the thorn:

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

This is amazing!

So, Paul "takes pleasure in all these things---

in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:

and calls (apparently) these things

"weakness"

and is only "strong"

when he is experiencing

"weakness" . . . !

Is this a paradox?

Well, how different are Paul's

"infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:"

from those of Peter and John in Acts 5?

(I am not getting away from the OP--I have an appropriate question below . . .)

Acts 5:14-42

14 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-14.htm) And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number,15 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-15.htm) to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-16.htm) Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

17 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-17.htm) But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. 18 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-18.htm) They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. 19 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-19.htm) But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, 20 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-20.htm) “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.”21 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-21.htm) Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach.

(What obedience is here!--this is holy faith at work, indeed . . . )

Continuing:

Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought. 22 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-22.htm) But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back, 23 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-23.htm) saying, “We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside.” 24 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-24.htm) Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this. 25 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-25.htm) But someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” 26 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-26.htm) Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned).

27 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-27.htm) When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, 28 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-28.htm) saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-29.htm) But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-30.htm) “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-31.htm) “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-32.htm) “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

33 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-33.htm) But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them. 34 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-34.htm) But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. 35 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-35.htm) And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. 36 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-36.htm) “For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-37.htm) “After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered.38 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-38.htm) “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-39.htm) but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

40 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-40.htm) They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-41.htm) So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 (http://bible.cc/acts/5-42.htm) And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Now, an Angel of the Lord (!) gave a command to Peter and John to proclaim the Gospel of Christ Jesus in the Temple.

Look at the trouble that they endured--for obedience to and faith in the Lord their God!

Peter and John were beaten--just like Paul was beaten.

(Did God stop the beatings? No. Besides, He told Peter and John to proclaim the Gospel in the Temple in the first place.)

Peter and John rejoiced (i. e., took pleasure in) suffering shame for The Name--just like like Paul did.

(Did God stop the suffering of shame for His name? No.)

The overarching question is this:

Is there any difference in the "thorn" activity of Paul and Peter/John?

:help:

CommanderRobey
Feb 15th 2009, 12:42 AM
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you
If one looks at the rain, the day is blearier. But if one looks to the rainbow at the end of the rain, the day is not as hard to face.

Paul did say he would glory in his infirmities. He was that he was made stronger each minute he endured them.

I do not doubt for one minute that which Paul wrote concerning the thorn in the flesh and his objective to be strengthened in those trials. His strength was not from the trial itself, but from the Lord Jesus Christ.

billy-brown 2
Feb 15th 2009, 02:37 AM
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:

If one looks at the rain, the day is blearier. But if one looks to the rainbow at the end of the rain, the day is not as hard to face.

Paul did say he would glory in his infirmities. He was that he was made stronger each minute he endured them.

I do not doubt for one minute that which Paul wrote concerning the thorn in the flesh and his objective to be strengthened in those trials. His strength was not from the trial itself, but from the Lord Jesus Christ.


So be it . . . that's quite powerful what you say there ^^^^. . .

And so we come to the passage here again:

II Cor 12:9

9 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/12-9.htm) And He (the Lord Jesus Christ) has said to me, “My (the Lord's) grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Is this not the same (or similar) to this below?

(In the Greek New Testament, this passage below is one sentence and thought.)

II Cor. 4:7-12

7 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/4-7.htm) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/4-8.htm) we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/4-9.htm) persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/4-10.htm) always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/4-11.htm) For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 (http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/4-12.htm) So death works in us, but life in you.

Interesting . . .