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  • Paul's Thorn

    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?

  • #2
    Re: Paul's Thorn

    Originally posted by RollTide21 View Post
    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.
    "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

    -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Paul's Thorn

      Originally posted by VerticalReality View Post
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Paul's Thorn

        Originally posted by RollTide21 View Post
        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.
        Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Paul's Thorn

          Originally posted by RollTide21 View Post
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Paul's Thorn

            Originally posted by RollTide21 View Post
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Paul's Thorn

              Originally posted by RollTide21 View Post
              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.
              "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

              -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Paul's Thorn

                Originally posted by Reynolds357 View Post
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Paul's Thorn

                  Originally posted by Reynolds357 View Post
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Paul's Thorn

                    Originally posted by RollTide21 View Post
                    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.
                    "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

                    -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Paul's Thorn

                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Paul's Thorn

                        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.
                        analyze. synthesize. repeat.

                        *It is the next chapter of my life, whether I'm ready or not. My time here in these forums has come to its close. I bless you as I go!*

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Paul's Thorn

                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Paul's Thorn

                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Paul's Thorn

                              Originally posted by RollTide21 View Post
                              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.

                              Comment

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