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RollTide21
Jul 20th 2011, 01:46 PM
2 Corinthians 12:


1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What was this "thorn" in Paul's flesh? I have previously thought that it was some sort of temptation that he was susceptible to, considering his use of the term "flesh" to describe the carnal nature. But...that is merely a guess. It could be any number of things. Physical ailment? Depression?

What do you think?

VerticalReality
Jul 20th 2011, 01:52 PM
2 Corinthians 12:


1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What was this "thorn" in Paul's flesh? I have previously thought that it was some sort of temptation that he was susceptible to, considering his use of the term "flesh" to describe the carnal nature. But...that is merely a guess. It could be any number of things. Physical ailment? Depression?

What do you think?

I believe the end of 2 Corinthians 11 reveals Paul's thorn, and with the continuation into chapter 12 it makes perfect sense to me that Paul's thorn was persecution that he endured for His name's sake.

RollTide21
Jul 20th 2011, 02:00 PM
I believe the end of 2 Corinthians 11 reveals Paul's thorn, and with the continuation into chapter 12 it makes perfect sense to me that Paul's thorn was persecution that he endured for His name's sake.Perhaps. It just seems to be something more specific, however. The prick of a thorn is sharp and specific, with the pain isolated to a particular area. The use of the word "thorn" makes me think he's got a particular problem that he's having to deal with.

shepherdsword
Jul 20th 2011, 02:06 PM
Perhaps. It just seems to be something more specific, however. The prick of a thorn is sharp and specific, with the pain isolated to a particular area. The use of the word "thorn" makes me think he's got a particular problem that he's having to deal with.

Persecution such as being stoned and having your life sought out by some who swore to kill you sounds like an intense and specific pain to me. But who knows? We can only speculate.

Reynolds357
Jul 20th 2011, 02:17 PM
2 Corinthians 12:


1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What was this "thorn" in Paul's flesh? I have previously thought that it was some sort of temptation that he was susceptible to, considering his use of the term "flesh" to describe the carnal nature. But...that is merely a guess. It could be any number of things. Physical ailment? Depression?

What do you think?
The text is quite plain. The thorn was a demon. The text plainly says that. Following Paul's ministry we see what the thorn did, it stirred up men to persecute Paul.

Reynolds357
Jul 20th 2011, 02:19 PM
Perhaps. It just seems to be something more specific, however. The prick of a thorn is sharp and specific, with the pain isolated to a particular area. The use of the word "thorn" makes me think he's got a particular problem that he's having to deal with.
The same word usage in the following passage does not support your view.

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.

VerticalReality
Jul 20th 2011, 02:19 PM
Perhaps. It just seems to be something more specific, however. The prick of a thorn is sharp and specific, with the pain isolated to a particular area. The use of the word "thorn" makes me think he's got a particular problem that he's having to deal with.

I think that may be over-analyzing it a bit in my opinion. The main context of the end of chapter 11 and into chapter 12 is Paul's infirmity. He also implies that this "thorn" strikes against him which is what the term "buffet" means. A literal thorn technically doesn't really strike against anything, so if we were to get extremely technical like that then the passage wouldn't make much sense at all. With that said, all the difficulties that Paul refers to at the end of chapter 11 are described as his "infirmity," and leading into chapter 12 he continues to describe further what he again terms as "infirmity" in chapter 12 verse 5 and verses 9 and 10. Furthermore, in verse 10 he applies more definition to "infirmity" when he expounds with "reproaches", "needs", "persecutions", and "distresses" for Christ's sake.

In my view, the context fits perfectly insisting that Paul's train of thought at the end of chapter 11 is logically flowing into further exposition in chapter 12.

RollTide21
Jul 20th 2011, 02:21 PM
The same word usage in the following passage does not support your view.

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.OK. But...the people in this verse are referred to as "thorns". Paul is very specific to say he has "a thorn" in his flesh. Maybe it is a particular person who is persecuting him.

RollTide21
Jul 20th 2011, 02:24 PM
The text is quite plain. The thorn was a demon. The text plainly says that. Following Paul's ministry we see what the thorn did, it stirred up men to persecute Paul.This makes sense. It also satisfies any insinuation of specificity that he might have been trying to suggest.

VerticalReality
Jul 20th 2011, 02:33 PM
OK. But...the people in this verse are referred to as "thorns". Paul is very specific to say he has "a thorn" in his flesh. Maybe it is a particular person who is persecuting him.

Or a particular spirit who is inspiring the persecution.

Reynolds357
Jul 20th 2011, 02:35 PM
The people are referred to as "pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides." The demon is referred to as a "thorn in the flesh." The references are identical.

Nihil Obstat
Jul 20th 2011, 02:39 PM
Paul's thorn has a similar ring to it as the OTs use of the word, as in Jos. 23:12-13. I understand his thorn to be his persecutors who bring confusion to the churches he establishes, the Judaizers. Often Paul uses "Satan" as a metonym to speak of these false teachers.

Beckrl
Jul 20th 2011, 09:17 PM
Paul's thorn in his flesh was a reminder of how he onces persecuted the chirstians and how himself now is persecuted. Therefore keeping him abase and not thinking to high of himself. I see this thorn as his persecutor's which persecute him in his flesh as he described by his infirmity. He speaks of them as messengers of Satan [flesh]. In other words those that taught the laws as he onces did and persecuted those that didn't follow.

nzyr
Jul 20th 2011, 09:22 PM
The scripture doesn't say what Paul's thorn in the flesh was. It may have been an injury that he got from being attacked. I believe he was beaten unconscious on at least one occasion. (Acts 14:19) (2 Corinthians 11:25) Some scholars think it may have left him an epileptic.

Butch5
Jul 21st 2011, 12:28 AM
2 Corinthians 12:


1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What was this "thorn" in Paul's flesh? I have previously thought that it was some sort of temptation that he was susceptible to, considering his use of the term "flesh" to describe the carnal nature. But...that is merely a guess. It could be any number of things. Physical ailment? Depression?

What do you think?

Hi Tide,

Paul's thorn in the flesh is most likely his eyesight. It seems after his sight was restored it wasn't brough back perfectly, Consider his words.


Galatians 4:14-16(NKJV)
14And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
15£What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.
16Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?


Galatians 6:11(NKJV)
11See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!

It seems Paul had no one to write this epistle and wrote it himself, notice his words, “See with what large letters I have written to you”. It seems his eyesight was not very good and he had to write this epistle in large letters. I believe this is the thorn he speaks of.

Reynolds357
Jul 21st 2011, 12:30 AM
The scripture doesn't say what Paul's thorn in the flesh was. It may have been an injury that he got from being attacked. I believe he was beaten unconscious on at least one occasion. (Acts 14:19) (2 Corinthians 11:25) Some scholars think it may have left him an epileptic.
The scripture does say what it was. It plainly says it was the "messenger of Satan."
I really do not understand why people refuse to acknowledge what the scripture says. Suppose I said "I am sending you a gun, a Colt 1911 Gold Cup, for you to use in a match. Someone then asked you "what kind of gun is Reynolds sending you?" You would say "I do not know?"
The passage says "A thorn in the flesh, THE MESSENGER OF SATAN." Messenger was translated from "angelos." Angelos is most commonly translated angel. Who is an angel of Satan? This passage is so simple one really has to try hard to complicate it.

Reynolds357
Jul 21st 2011, 12:32 AM
Hi Tide,

Paul's thorn in the flesh is most likely his eyesight. It seems after his sight was restored it wasn't brough back perfectly, Consider his words.


Galatians 4:14-16(NKJV)
14And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
15£What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.
16Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?




Galatians 6:11(NKJV)
11See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!

It seems Paul had no one to write this epistle and wrote it himself, notice his words, “See with what large letters I have written to you”. It seems his eyesight was not very good and he had to write this epistle in large letters. I believe this is the thorn he speaks of.

It is because it was a large letter to be handwritten by his own hand and not the use of a scribe. Poor eyesight does not cause someone to write with large letters.

Butch5
Jul 21st 2011, 12:36 AM
It is because it was a large letter to be handwritten by his own hand and not the use of a scribe. Poor eyesight does not cause someone to write with large letters.

What exact do you think would cause one to write with large letters if not eyesight? Why do you think Paul didn't write the other letters? The other aposltes wrote their own.

Reynolds357
Jul 21st 2011, 12:42 AM
What exact do you think would cause one to write with large letters if not eyesight? Why do you think Paul didn't write the other letters? The other aposltes wrote their own.

Being in kindergarten would cause you to write with large letters. The size of the letters you write with have to do with your motor skills and coordination, not your eyesight.
You are sure every other apostle wrote their own letter without the use of a scribe?

VerticalReality
Jul 21st 2011, 01:32 AM
Why go on the speculation of eyesight being the thorn in the flesh when the scriptures plainly tell us what the thorn in the flesh was? People invent many wild theories about Paul's thorn like it being some mysterious eye disease that caused his eyes to seep when the scriptures plainly tell us exactly what his thorn was. Why invent elaborate theories when we can just take scripture for what it says?

Slug1
Jul 21st 2011, 01:41 AM
I have a question... when Paul prayed three times for this "thorn" to be removed... at what point of time was Paul in his ministry? In other words, was he just beginning to receive persecution, or was he years into his ministry and had years of persecution against him and then suddenly decided he'd had enough?

Reynolds357
Jul 21st 2011, 01:56 AM
I have a question... when Paul prayed three times for this "thorn" to be removed... at what point of time was Paul in his ministry? In other words, was he just beginning to receive persecution, or was he years into his ministry and had years of persecution against him and then suddenly decided he'd had enough?
Scripture does not answer that. God's answer to that prayer was interesting. I imagine many followers of Christ found that His grace was sufficient for them when they were facing persecution and death.

Slug1
Jul 21st 2011, 02:01 AM
Scripture does not answer that. God's answer to that prayer was interesting. I imagine many followers of Christ found that His grace was sufficient for them when they were facing persecution and death.I agree... since the source of that Paul called his "thorn" was demonic it was clearly an oppression.

It can't be a physical ailment because Paul wasn't no dummy and would pray for "healing" if it was his eyesight.

Here's a second question since I'm not learned in time-line events of his epistles in relation to the moment of time when he was praying about this thorn. When the Holy Spirit revealed to Paul all about the Armor of God and all that revelation about satan and all the forces that he has available to use against mankind and the Body of Christ... was what we read in Ephesians 6 before or after Paul's prayer for this oppression (thorn = demon) to be removed from him?

Reynolds357
Jul 21st 2011, 02:08 AM
I agree... since the source of that Paul called his "thorn" was demonic it was clearly an oppression.

It can't be a physical ailment because Paul wasn't no dummy and would pray for "healing" if it was his eyesight.

Here's a second question since I'm not learned in time-line events of his epistles in relation to the moment of time when he was praying about this thorn. When the Holy Spirit revealed to Paul all about the Armor of God and all that revelation about satan and all the forces that he has available to use against mankind and the Body of Christ... was what we read in Ephesians 6 before or after Paul's prayer for this oppression (thorn = demon) to be removed from him?
Nowhere in scripture are we promised that we can have a ministry that is free from the hindrance of Satan. It seems in scripture that Satan is allowed by God to oppose the spread of the Gospel.

Slug1
Jul 21st 2011, 02:23 AM
Nowhere in scripture are we promised that we can have a ministry that is free from the hindrance of Satan. It seems in scripture that Satan is allowed by God to oppose the spread of the Gospel.I agree and here is why I'm asking these questions. Here are my "thoughts" about this whole situation concerning the "thorn"...

Paul had to be oppressed by a demon because God was going to rid him of that demon a different way than what Paul wanted or even expected. Instead of just answering the prayer as Paul voiced and meant (God, cast out the demon), the plan was to have this demon pester Paul enough that when the revelation about the Armour of God and the Sword of the Spirit was given to Paul, he not only received this revelation and taught it to everyone, he put the meaning into action.

While God gave him hope in the fact that God was made strong in his weakness, so this motivated Paul to drive on and he preached the way he did... "Hey, I have this problem, I'm weak, I admit it to you all and even boast about it... but it's OK because God said so..." It's about Christ being our strength during the weakness(es) in our lives.

Yet by the scripture we know this wasn't any normal (physical) weakness but something that a demon was allowed to inflict upon Paul. Yeah, I know I'd get tired to because a demon affects physical, emotional and SPIRITUAL levels of ourselves and we all would reach a point that we'd say.... ENOUGH.

God gave Paul an answer that enabled him to keep on, keeping on (as the saying goes).

Anyway... when was the revelation we read in Ephesians 6 given to Paul in relation to the timing of the "thorn" prayer? This is an open question and I hope anyone answers it ;)

Al_S
Jul 21st 2011, 02:51 AM
I agree and here is why I'm asking these questions. Here are my "thoughts" about this whole situation concerning the "thorn"...

Paul had to be oppressed by a demon because God was going to rid him of that demon a different way than what Paul wanted or even expected. Instead of just answering the prayer as Paul voiced and meant (God, cast out the demon), the plan was to have this demon pester Paul enough that when the revelation about the Armour of God and the Sword of the Spirit was given to Paul, he not only received this revelation and taught it to everyone, he put the meaning into action.

While God gave him hope in the fact that God was made strong in his weakness, so this motivated Paul to drive on and he preached the way he did... "Hey, I have this problem, I'm weak, I admit it to you all and even boast about it... but it's OK because God said so..." It's about Christ being our strength during the weakness(es) in our lives.

Yet by the scripture we know this wasn't any normal (physical) weakness but something that a demon was allowed to inflict upon Paul. Yeah, I know I'd get tired to because a demon affects physical, emotional and SPIRITUAL levels of ourselves and we all would reach a point that we'd say.... ENOUGH.

God gave Paul an answer that enabled him to keep on, keeping on (as the saying goes).

Anyway... when was the revelation we read in Ephesians 6 given to Paul in relation to the timing of the "thorn" prayer? This is an open question and I hope anyone answers it ;)

quick google search turned this up: http://www.matthewmcgee.org/paultime.html I'm not familiar with the writer, but he seems to have a well-reasoned chronology. Interesting discussion and I'd like to hear the thoughts of others.

Slug1
Jul 21st 2011, 03:00 AM
quick google search turned this up: http://www.matthewmcgee.org/paultime.html I'm not familiar with the writer, but he seems to have a well-reasoned chronology. Interesting discussion and I'd like to hear the thoughts of others.So based on this time-line, it was 5 years later when the completed revelations concerning the Armor of God was given to Paul.

The initial ministering's concerning the Armor of God was given to Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 and then while imprisoned and guarded round the clock, then the full understanding of the Armor was given to him. About 10 years after the initial understanding concerning the Armor. Much of the greatest work that Paul was led to do was while being persecuted and he always seemed to always revel in this... so, if persecution was the "thorn", then why complain to God about persecution when he's always thrived in it?

Treasured
Jul 21st 2011, 11:11 AM
Ok so here’s the thing...what if the thorn wasn’t the persecutions...but Paul’s response and vulnerability to the persecutions and highlighted by satan's messenger? Sometimes when we’ve walked with the Lord for a time, we get quite confident in our ability to deal with certain issues...for example when others insult us...eventually we come to a place where we learn to respond with love and grace and forgiveness (well maybe not all do but some do!...true story!)...and for those who find themselves scoring ‘spiritual goals’ somehow it becomes easier to slip into Christlikeness in some or many areas...almost to the point where we can be tempted to say “you know what Lord...I think I’m getting quite good at this forgiveness lark...I almost don’t need You any more!...not that I’d ever lose sight of you Father but somehow this is all just getting ‘easier’...I really don’t need to fast and pray about this like I used to ‘cause I think I’ve got it conquered...passed that test...what’s next Lord?!” I’m wondering if Paul didn’t have a constant struggle with his flesh and his emotions when enduring persecutions...dealing with pain...when you’ve endured suffering long enough it can almost become easier...perhaps this wasn’t the case for Paul...dealing with hurt and unforgiveness in our emotions can become ‘easier’ as we ‘mature’ in Christ...and again perhaps this wasn’t the case for Paul.


So based on this time-line, it was 5 years later when the completed revelations concerning the Armor of God was given to Paul.

The initial ministering's concerning the Armor of God was given to Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 and then while imprisoned and guarded round the clock, then the full understanding of the Armor was given to him. About 10 years after the initial understanding concerning the Armor. Much of the greatest work that Paul was led to do was while being persecuted and he always seemed to always revel in this... so, if persecution was the "thorn", then why complain to God about persecution when he's always thrived in it?


Slug...what comes to mind when Paul ‘complained’ to God about the persecutions...have you ever had a personal trainer...they flog you something shocking in a PT session and you’re left half dead at the end of it...if you weren’t Christian you’d be adding some choice new swear words to your vocabulary because of the perceived cruelty of your trainer...however...the reality is you have asked your trainer to take you to your limits (and beyond if possible) in order to achieve your potential... and they are only responding to your requests...and the truth is you are growing and getting stronger and fitter...but your trainer just keeps taking you up a level and up a level and so on and so forth...is that perhaps what Paul are experiencing?...he had prayed and sought God to grow him and stretch him and break him...in order to develop spiritual muscle...(you ever prayed a prayer and then thought “Oh my lord what have I just asked for, I’m so for it now!!!?)...and because of the constant challenge of demonic and physical and emotional attack Paul lived in a state of ‘stretch’ and ‘vulnerability’ where he always absolutely had to turn to God...maybe he even saw other Christians apparently cope with these issues better or at least more easily than he did and for that he remained humble and consciously dependent on God to get him through.

We expect to grow in all areas of our lives...Paul was teaching multitudes how to grow strong and score goals in Christ...maybe for some the ‘transition’ to the victory ‘experience’ was just that bit ‘easier’...and yet he learned to boast all the more gladly about his weaknesses...maybe it was so much more apparent in his walk that God was fully responsible for any and all of his accomplishments and victories? He could never take the credit...not one bit of it...maybe the demon constantly reminded him of this?...reminded him just how weak and fragile and vulnerable he truly was...that’s a dint in any man’s ego...and considering Pauls background as outlined in Philippians 3:5,6 he was learning to have NO confidence in the flesh whatsoever...everything he once counted valuable and to his own credit he now referred to as dung!...maybe the demon reminded him how much he used to revel and achieve status in dung!...that’s enough to keep a man humble me thinks...makes sense? Maybe... :dunno:

Treasured :)

nzyr
Jul 21st 2011, 01:00 PM
The scripture does say what it was. It plainly says it was the "messenger of Satan."
I really do not understand why people refuse to acknowledge what the scripture says. Suppose I said "I am sending you a gun, a Colt 1911 Gold Cup, for you to use in a match. Someone then asked you "what kind of gun is Reynolds sending you?" You would say "I do not know?"
The passage says "A thorn in the flesh, THE MESSENGER OF SATAN." Messenger was translated from "angelos." Angelos is most commonly translated angel. Who is an angel of Satan? This passage is so simple one really has to try hard to complicate it.
But it doesn't say what the thorn was. Yes a messenger of Satan hit (buffet) him. But Paul doesn't go into detail about what exactly the injury was.

ProjectPeter
Jul 21st 2011, 01:19 PM
What was the point of Paul's thorn in the side?

VerticalReality
Jul 21st 2011, 01:29 PM
But it doesn't say what the thorn was. Yes a messenger of Satan hit (buffet) him. But Paul doesn't go into detail about what exactly the injury was.

Yes, he does. He goes into quite a bit of detail at the end of 2 Corinthians 11 through 2 Corinthians 12:10.

VerticalReality
Jul 21st 2011, 01:31 PM
What was the point of Paul's thorn in the side?

So that he would not be exalted above measure. Some people say that means so that Paul would not think of himself more highly than he ought to think. Others believe the purpose was so that other people wouldn't exalt Paul into something higher than a mere man (i.e. People thinking of him as being divine and the author of the powerful works God used him for).

ProjectPeter
Jul 21st 2011, 01:40 PM
So that he would not be exalted above measure. Some people say that means so that Paul would not think of himself more highly than he ought to think. Others believe the purpose was so that other people wouldn't exalt Paul into something higher than a mere man (i.e. People thinking of him as being divine and the author of the powerful works God used him for). Safe to say that Scripture says that was the reason so that is the one fact that we do know. God's grace was sufficient for him. Personally... I believe it was a man, probably Alexander the Coppersmith that Paul was speaking of (wrote of him to Timothy and that timing would be pretty right too). Could have been a sickness such as he obviously had the eye thing going on of some sort... not totally discounting that. But the "what was the thorn" is a question that all of us can only take a guess on since he doesn't say straight up. I don't think the "who" or "what was the thorn" is the point we need to even ponder on though. WHAT was the point... that's where the meat is. :)

Treasured
Jul 21st 2011, 02:06 PM
What was the point of Paul's thorn in the side?

"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me."


Many tend to look at the Apostle Paul and think “Wow what a superstar!” What a mighty man of God!...in 1 Corinthians 3 we find early Christians boasting that they are 'of Paul'...and while he rejects and discourages that carnal thinking suggesting "neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters but God Who gives the increase", in 1 Corinthians 11:1 we find him suggesting “imitate me as I imitate Christ”...you’ve got to be pretty confident that you’ve got it nailed to encourage others to imitate you...and he was strong in Christ...incredibly so...he just knew that his strength was not of any ‘source’ but Christ Himself. He didn't say imitate me because I'm all that and more...but rather imitate me as I gain all my worth and value in and from Christ...imitate me as I imitate Him! God’s strength being made perfect in his weakness...he was fully aware of his weakness...and just in case he was ever tempted to forget, as I mentioned above, I suspect his ‘thorn’ was demonically inspired ‘recollection’ of his own inability to ‘cut the spiritual mustard’...he knew full well that God had landed him on his derriere in the dirt to grab his attention...how great and mighty was he then?!...a humbling experience for sure! Perhaps he would be thinking to himself, “I can’t achieve a thing...not a thing worth anything...in and of myself...how I used to boast in all I had 'achieved' in the eyes of the religious world, but not any more...I am nothing but a frail earthen vessel...but man oh man I have some awesome treasure on the inside! I am full of Heaven’s riches! Just so he wouldn’t get ‘proud’ of the treasure he was so privileged to carry, he was constantly reminded of the fact that he was a vessel. Or he saw himself as a humble sponge who carried priceless life-giving Living Water...without water a sponge dries up and can’t function...the water it carries gives it ‘life’ and value and purpose...it’s pretty useless until it carries water... I think we all need to understand that we are chosen to be carriers of treasure because of God’s goodness and not because we are potential or budding superstars! Paul was never spiritually defeated in his weakness...his key was to remember where his strength came from to overcome...same applies to us.

2 Corinthians 3:4,5 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.

His grace...everything His grace imparts into us...is our sufficiency.

Treasured :)

RollTide21
Jul 21st 2011, 03:17 PM
What was the point of Paul's thorn in the side?To keep him from being too haughty with himself.

RollTide21
Jul 21st 2011, 03:22 PM
Safe to say that Scripture says that was the reason so that is the one fact that we do know. God's grace was sufficient for him. Personally... I believe it was a man, probably Alexander the Coppersmith that Paul was speaking of (wrote of him to Timothy and that timing would be pretty right too). Could have been a sickness such as he obviously had the eye thing going on of some sort... not totally discounting that. But the "what was the thorn" is a question that all of us can only take a guess on since he doesn't say straight up. I don't think the "who" or "what was the thorn" is the point we need to even ponder on though. WHAT was the point... that's where the meat is. :)In my view, the most important part of that passage is "My Grace is sufficient for you".

It's an instruction for when we go through difficult trials and, it appears that, God isn't miraculously delivering us. We should understand that there are things that we must endure for the Will of God, and we can take comfort from this verse knowing that He is in control, working, and will ultimately glorify Himself in us, even if it SEEMS that He is ignoring us.

Treasured
Jul 21st 2011, 03:54 PM
In my view, the most important part of that passage is "My Grace is sufficient for you".

It's an instruction for when we go through difficult trials and, it appears that, God isn't miraculously delivering us. We should understand that there are things that we must endure for the Will of God, and we can take comfort from this verse knowing that He is in control, working, and will ultimately glorify Himself in us, even if it SEEMS that He is ignoring us.

Yup...that right there is truth! And how many times do we find ourselves in that place?!!...way too many and then we read James! Scheeech....and we need to get with the program and consider it pure joy! What's with that! Except that His grace is sufficient...and that He is working all things together for good...He will not miss one single opportunity to mould us into vessels fit for the Master's use...that, we can depend on! :yes:

Reynolds357
Jul 21st 2011, 06:53 PM
What was the point of Paul's thorn in the side?
The point from Satan's perspective was to hinder and stop the spread of the Gospel.
God, as He usually does, takes what Satan intends for harm and turns it for our good.

Reynolds357
Jul 21st 2011, 06:55 PM
Safe to say that Scripture says that was the reason so that is the one fact that we do know. God's grace was sufficient for him. Personally... I believe it was a man, probably Alexander the Coppersmith that Paul was speaking of (wrote of him to Timothy and that timing would be pretty right too). Could have been a sickness such as he obviously had the eye thing going on of some sort... not totally discounting that. But the "what was the thorn" is a question that all of us can only take a guess on since he doesn't say straight up. I don't think the "who" or "what was the thorn" is the point we need to even ponder on though. WHAT was the point... that's where the meat is. :)
I have never really understood why it is "obvious" that Paul had eye problems. I have never seen anything in scripture that even remotely suggests that.

ProjectPeter
Jul 21st 2011, 08:33 PM
I have never really understood why it is "obvious" that Paul had eye problems. I have never seen anything in scripture that even remotely suggests that.The Galatians passage pretty much lets us know there was an issue there at least at some point in time.

Reynolds357
Jul 22nd 2011, 12:44 AM
The Galatians passage pretty much lets us know there was an issue there at least at some point in time.
I do not get that from the passage. I need to brush up on my Pauline history, but he had either just been rodded or stoned (forgot which) when he wrote Galatians. I am sure he had many short term physical problems at that time due to the beating.

VerticalReality
Jul 22nd 2011, 01:49 AM
I do not get that from the passage. I need to brush up on my Pauline history, but he had either just been rodded or stoned (forgot which) when he wrote Galatians. I am sure he had many short term physical problems at that time due to the beating.

He had been stoned in Lystra.

divaD
Jul 22nd 2011, 02:16 PM
Just some observations on my part. First of all it seems unlikely that Paul's vision would have anything to do with the thorn in his flesh. The reason I conclude that is because of the reasons for the thorn in the first place.


2 Corinthians 12:6 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.

If Paul desired to glory because he found himself exceptionally special, or gave that impression of him to others, then what would his eyesite have to do with that? Even blind people could glory if they somehow found themselves to be extra special. So I would think we can rule bad vision out.


I also tend to think this passage could be understood from the perspective of 1 Peter:2. Verse 20 states the following.

1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

This might be why the Lord told Paul My grace is sufficient for thee.

So I would think the thorn in the flesh might be suffering wrongly because one is doing rightly. IOW
suffering at the hand of the enemy who is persecuting you, even tho you are doing well in God's eyes.

when Paul finally understood, after seeking the Lord about it thrice, one can then see there are more than one reason for the suffering, even when someone is doing well. So in my mind, it's not so much what the thorn in Paul's side was, but why was it there to begin with. IMO, Paul, as well as 1: Peter 2 adequately tells us the reasons why.

These are just my own thoughts and opinions. No one is obligated to agree. It wouldn't be like I was never wrong before. I guess it all comes down to perspective..what perspective one is seeing when they read this passage.

Butch5
Jul 23rd 2011, 01:47 AM
Being in kindergarten would cause you to write with large letters. The size of the letters you write with have to do with your motor skills and coordination, not your eyesight.
You are sure every other apostle wrote their own letter without the use of a scribe?

Really, Paul wasn't in kindergarten. I don't know where you got the idea that eyesight would not case one to write with large letters. As my eyesight gets worse I find myself increasing the font size on my computer, I find myself wearing reading glasses that magnify the size of the text. You've heard of the phone called Jitterbug for the elderly? The selling point is the large size of the numbers. You've heard of large print Bibles for those with poor eyesight? I mean, in order to write you need to be able to see what your writing. If Paul couldn't see very well it seems he would have much difficulty writing in 8.5 font. Don't you read what you write as you are writing it? Don't you look it over to make sure it says what you wnat to say? How would you do that if you wrote it in such small print that you couldn't see what you wrote?

Butch5
Jul 23rd 2011, 01:50 AM
Why go on the speculation of eyesight being the thorn in the flesh when the scriptures plainly tell us what the thorn in the flesh was? People invent many wild theories about Paul's thorn like it being some mysterious eye disease that caused his eyes to seep when the scriptures plainly tell us exactly what his thorn was. Why invent elaborate theories when we can just take scripture for what it says?

One reason is because Paul used a lot of metaphors.

Reynolds357
Jul 23rd 2011, 02:12 AM
Really, Paul wasn't in kindergarten. I don't know where you got the idea that eyesight would not case one to write with large letters. As my eyesight gets worse I find myself increasing the font size on my computer, I find myself wearing reading glasses that magnify the size of the text. You've heard of the phone called Jitterbug for the elderly? The selling point is the large size of the numbers. You've heard of large print Bibles for those with poor eyesight? I mean, in order to write you need to be able to see what your writing. If Paul couldn't see very well it seems he would have much difficulty writing in 8.5 font. Don't you read what you write as you are writing it? Don't you look it over to make sure it says what you wnat to say? How would you do that if you wrote it in such small print that you couldn't see what you wrote?

Typing letters on a computer screen large enough for you to see and the size of the letter you write by hand are entirely two different comparisons. I do not proof read what I hand write.

Reynolds357
Jul 23rd 2011, 02:14 AM
One reason is because Paul used a lot of metaphors.
The thorn was a metaphor for the demon. The same as the prick was a metaphor for the Cannanite.

VerticalReality
Jul 23rd 2011, 06:12 AM
One reason is because Paul used a lot of metaphors.

Yes, but I wouldn't say that Paul is using much metaphor at the end of 2 Corinthians 11 up to 2 Corinthians 12:10 when describing his "infirmity." He speaks very clearly and gives numerous examples of things described as his infirmity.

ProjectPeter
Jul 23rd 2011, 02:00 PM
I do not get that from the passage. I need to brush up on my Pauline history, but he had either just been rodded or stoned (forgot which) when he wrote Galatians. I am sure he had many short term physical problems at that time due to the beating.Wasn't about when Paul wrote Galatians. It was about when Paul was actually there with them in Galatia that first time. :)

Butch5
Jul 23rd 2011, 07:01 PM
Typing letters on a computer screen large enough for you to see and the size of the letter you write by hand are entirely two different comparisons. I do not proof read what I hand write.

The length of the letter is irrelevant. Paul said, see with what large "Letters" I write to you. Letters plural, it's clear he is speaking of writing in large letters. I can't speak for you, but, I think the rest of the world probably finds this Paul easier to see that this Paul.

Butch5
Jul 23rd 2011, 07:07 PM
Yes, but I wouldn't say that Paul is using much metaphor at the end of 2 Corinthians 11 up to 2 Corinthians 12:10 when describing his "infirmity." He speaks very clearly and gives numerous examples of things described as his infirmity.

Are you suggesting that God sent a demon to hinder Paul?

VerticalReality
Jul 23rd 2011, 10:32 PM
Are you suggesting that God sent a demon to hinder Paul?

The passage says it is a messenger of Satan.

Butch5
Jul 23rd 2011, 10:46 PM
The passage says it is a messenger of Satan.

Yes, it does. However, Paul said that he was given the thorn to keep him from exalting himself beyond what he should.

2 Corinthians 12:1-7(KJV)
1It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
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.

The thorn is so that Paul is not exalted above measure. it would be in Satan's interest for Paul to be exalted, that would take way from the glory of God. However, Paul seems to indicate that this thorn came from God in order to keep him from becoming proud based on the visions and revelations that he was given. The purpose of the thorn was to keep Paul's ego in check. Keeping Paul's ego in check is beneficial to God not to Satan. It would be in Satan's best interest if Paul did exhalt Himself which would be sin against God and it would hinder the Gospel. Paul's thorn actually worked to the good for the gospel. I don't think Satan would be interested in working for the good of the Gospel.

shepherdsword
Jul 23rd 2011, 10:59 PM
I once thought it was eyesight as well. Due to the very scriptures Butch posted.However,looking at the context it does appear like it was the messenger of Satan. Whatever it was it was irritating enough for him to seek God three times on it.Then again God's answer "My strength is perfected in weakness" could be used to define the thorn as something relating to a weakness of Paul,like eyesight perhaps.

Man,I am sure rock solid in my position on this issue,aren't I...:lol:

Slug1
Jul 23rd 2011, 11:03 PM
Paul's thorn actually worked to the good for the gospel. I don't think Satan would be interested in working for the good of the Gospel.Butch I will have to disagree with you on this statement. satan has been used by God to further the Word of God since the beginning. The entire Book of Job is all about allowing satan to be a "messenger" that brings infliction upon a man so God can utilize the work that satan does to glorify Himself and teach Job and all of us to read that book, a lesson.

God utilizes satan because satan is a creation and to say...


I don't think Satan would be interested in working for the good of the Gospel.

Well, even though this may be true... I don't think satan has any choice in the matter.

Soon, satan is gonna be given the green light and he'll be doing NOTHING but working for the GOOD OF THE GOSPEL and seven years later, his use will be done with for almost 1000 years and then after the last task... then he's out of a purpose and will be punished for his pride.

VerticalReality
Jul 23rd 2011, 11:07 PM
Yes, it does. However, Paul said that he was given the thorn to keep him from exalting himself beyond what he should.

2 Corinthians 12:1-7(KJV)
1It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
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.

The thorn is so that Paul is not exalted above measure. it would be in Satan's interest for Paul to be exalted, that would take way from the glory of God. However, Paul seems to indicate that this thorn came from God in order to keep him from becoming proud based on the visions and revelations that he was given. The purpose of the thorn was to keep Paul's ego in check. Keeping Paul's ego in check is beneficial to God not to Satan. It would be in Satan's best interest if Paul did exhalt Himself which would be sin against God and it would hinder the Gospel. Paul's thorn actually worked to the good for the gospel. I don't think Satan would be interested in working for the good of the Gospel.

That would seem to be the logical conclusion. However, why would Satan also desire to sift the disciples as wheat? Sifting wheat is not a bad thing either, so why would the devil ask to do it?

Slug1
Jul 23rd 2011, 11:12 PM
That would seem to be the logical conclusion. However, why would Satan also desire to sift the disciples as wheat? Sifting wheat is not a bad thing either, so why would the devil ask to do it?Ha... I was gonna bring this up next. Peter is SUCH a good example of being a punching bag for satan until Jesus was to step back in and pick him back up. Through all this... teach us a lesson.

We as the church also have the authorization to turn a person over to satan. All for the purpose of "helping" that person.

God surely uses satan for this purpose and Paul new it the most probably since he not only had a messenger from satan but he also executed the turning of people over to satan.

Butch5
Jul 24th 2011, 02:08 AM
That would seem to be the logical conclusion. However, why would Satan also desire to sift the disciples as wheat? Sifting wheat is not a bad thing either, so why would the devil ask to do it?


Sifting them is simply testing them. He wnats to sift them to see if he can get them to turn from Christ. He sifted Peter and we see what happened yet Peter was restored.

VerticalReality
Jul 24th 2011, 04:30 AM
Sifting them is simply testing them. He wnats to sift them to see if he can get them to turn from Christ. He sifted Peter and we see what happened yet Peter was restored.

When I think about the process of sifting wheat, I don't think of merely a test. I think of getting rid of the bad to get to the good. Have you ever looked into the process of how they used to sift wheat back in that time? It's pretty interesting, and it adds a whole other dimension to Jesus' statement.

nzyr
Aug 12th 2011, 08:15 AM
Yes, he does. He goes into quite a bit of detail at the end of 2 Corinthians 11 through 2 Corinthians 12:10.No he doesn't explain what it was. But the term 'thorn' seems to suggest it was something painful.

Desperaux
Aug 12th 2011, 11:08 AM
In answer to the OP, the thorn that Paul suffered was persecution for the sake of his great revelation. It wasn't a sickness, or malady of any kind, for he, as our example, had the knowledge and ability to appropriate his own healing.

The only trouble that God promises us and doesn't promise deliverance from is persecution, for which He gives the ability to endure.

Desperaux
Aug 12th 2011, 11:28 AM
The length of the letter is irrelevant. Paul said, see with what large "Letters" I write to you. Letters plural, it's clear he is speaking of writing in large letters. I can't speak for you, but, I think the rest of the world probably finds this Paul easier to see that this Paul.

Paul, to emphasize what he was saying, deliberately said he was writing with his own hand, and also with large letters. Two points of emphasis, which was the reason, and nothing else.

VerticalReality
Aug 12th 2011, 01:02 PM
No he doesn't explain what it was. But the term 'thorn' seems to suggest it was something painful.

Okay. We'll have to agree to disagree on this point.

shepherdsword
Aug 12th 2011, 01:06 PM
When I think about the process of sifting wheat, I don't think of merely a test. I think of getting rid of the bad to get to the good. Have you ever looked into the process of how they used to sift wheat back in that time? It's pretty interesting, and it adds a whole other dimension to Jesus' statement.

the chaff is the womb of the wheat

RollTide21
Aug 12th 2011, 04:22 PM
It wasn't a sickness, or malady of any kind, for he, as our example, had the knowledge and ability to appropriate his own healing.
What do you mean, here? Paul's "ability and knowledge" was appropriated to Him by God. If God saw fit for Paul to suffer some sort of ailment so as to keep him humble, then Paul had no say in the matter.

Desperaux
Aug 12th 2011, 05:08 PM
What do you mean, here? Paul's "ability and knowledge" was appropriated to Him by God. If God saw fit for Paul to suffer some sort of ailment so as to keep him humble, then Paul had no say in the matter.

We already have God's promise of healing in our spirits when we receive Him. Paul did, too. He knew how to appropriate it from his spirit to his mind to his body. That is something many countless Christians need to learn to do.

That is why what Paul said that he suffered was not an illness or malady of any kind. God doesn;t ever cause anyone to be sick, least of all to make someone humble! That would make God a schizophrenic, as His will is that all be well. To say that God brought illness to bear upon Paul is just an excuse to believe the lie that it is God's will that we be sick.

VerticalReality
Aug 12th 2011, 05:12 PM
What do you mean, here? Paul's "ability and knowledge" was appropriated to Him by God. If God saw fit for Paul to suffer some sort of ailment so as to keep him humble, then Paul had no say in the matter.

I'm not saying it's a definite as the passage doesn't really affirm one way or the other, but I would suggest that the thorn may have not been given to Paul because he would have been conceited otherwise as much as it was for the purposes of preventing other people from exalting Paul into being more than a mere man. I would refer to Peter healing the man at the gate called Beautiful as an example. Peter was quick to cast off any praise for himself as the source of the crippled man's healing. He was quick to give all the glory to God. Could it be that such demonstrations of supernatural power have a tendency to cause people to exalt the person being used as opposed to our Lord who has supplied the power?