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Paul's Thorn in the flesh

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  • Paul's Thorn in the flesh

    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
    It takes love to embrace those ones who are weak, and strength to endure the weakness, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

  • #2
    I believe Paul tells us at the end of 2 Corinthians 11 what the thorn in his flesh was. I believe it was persecution.
    "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

    -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

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    • #3
      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.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Reynolds357 View Post
        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.
        "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

        -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

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        • #5
          Originally posted by VerticalReality View Post
          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
          It takes love to embrace those ones who are weak, and strength to endure the weakness, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Reynolds357 View Post
            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
            It takes love to embrace those ones who are weak, and strength to endure the weakness, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by always View Post
              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.

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              • #8
                Reaping, and Sowing...

                Originally posted by Reynolds357 View Post
                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]...

                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...
                "...For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict, or resist...Luke 21:15"...I am looking for the remnant....sigpic

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lady Ashanti View Post
                  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]...

                  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.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Reynolds357 View Post
                    "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...
                    "...For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict, or resist...Luke 21:15"...I am looking for the remnant....sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lady Ashanti View Post
                      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?
                      It takes love to embrace those ones who are weak, and strength to endure the weakness, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by always View Post
                        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.”

                        "...For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict, or resist...Luke 21:15"...I am looking for the remnant....sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lady Ashanti View Post
                            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.
                            Last edited by Reynolds357; Sep 17th 2008, 12:49 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ProjectPeter View Post
                              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."

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