Paul's thorn

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Phillip, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have heard many different thoughts as to what Paul's "thorn in the side" is, that is to keep him humble.

    The infirmity that he prayed three times to remove, but the Lord told him it had a purpose for it, etc.

    I have heard it was a speech impediment, or possibly an ugly growth on his face that made him hard to look at. I tend to believe that it was something very painful. I may be wrong, but it would be my guess that this would humble Paul.

    Then again, so would a lack of being able to speak of his revelations well. But, we know he taught in synagogues, so this doesn't seem likely.

    Are there any other historical writings that refer to Paul's infirmity and/or early church fathers that have mentioned it in their writings, that would be believeable?
     
  2. rjprince

    rjprince
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    John MacArthur suggests that it is an individual based on the fact that "messenger" (Gr. angelos) is always used of a personality. This "person" made ministry difficult for the Apostle Paul and was therefore his "thorn in the flesh".

    Not sure I agree, but it is one other possibility.

    Curious, what version says, "thorn in the side"?
     
  3. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    I quoted it wrong -- "Thorn in the flesh" NKJV
    sorry. My mistake.
     
  4. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    You may be exactly right rjprince, in taking the whole verse in context:

    "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."

    I know you already quoted the "messenger", but I thought I would print it all together so others can see the context.

    Thanks for pointing that out.
     
  5. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    5,500
    Likes Received:
    20
    Many have thought that the thorn was epilepsy or poor vision. Chrysostom and Jerome supposed that it was headaches, Tertullian earaches, Cyprian, carnis et corporis multa ac gravia tormenta (many and grievous bodily torments). Others have supposed malaria, insomnia, gout, a facial paralysis, etc.

    Poor vision may be suggested in Galatians. Compare:

    Gal. 4:13. but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time;
    14. and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself.
    15. 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.

    Gal. 6: 11. See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. (NASB, 1995)

    [​IMG]
     
  6. rjprince

    rjprince
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    Personally, I believe that it was left unclear so that no matter what our own personal "thorn in the flesh" was, we would be able to identify with Paul's weakness AND God's grace!
     
  7. Link

    Link
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Messages:
    695
    Likes Received:
    0
    We need to go with what the text says. The thorn was a messenger of Satan. Messenger is the same word for angel.

    Maybe it was a demon spirit that stirred up persecution for Saul. Maybe the messenger of Satan was one of the servants of Satan that Paul talked about in the earlier chapter when he dealt with the issue of false apostles. Maybe there was a false apostle going around causing trouble for Paul, stirring up crowds-- some kind of Judaizer provacatuer.

    I do not see anything in the passage to indicate that the thorn was a sickness.
     
  8. LadyEagle

    LadyEagle
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b> <img src =/israel.gif>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    22,028
    Likes Received:
    1
    Paul's thorn? He didn't have a wife. :D :eek:

    ...well, we aren't sure if he did or not. Men need wives, though, because we are the better halves, LOL. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. James_Newman

    James_Newman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Messages:
    5,013
    Likes Received:
    0
    Then I guess that rules her out... ;)

    I jest. A man who finds a wife finds a good thing.
     
  10. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    In order to be a member of the Sanhedrin, a Jew had to be married and have a male heir. Maybe when Paul said he "suffered the loss of all things", it included losing his family??

    Or not.

    I believe his thorn in the flesh was "profound peripheral neuropathy" where he was slowly losing the function of his feet/legs and hands/arms. Thankfully, Nero lopped his head before he died of the disease.
     
  11. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    Poor vision could have been caused by the blinding light on the road to Damascus. Bright light causes cataracts which steal vision. (I can vouch for that since my left eye is 20/400 WITH lenses)
     
  12. Link

    Link
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Messages:
    695
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dr. Bob,

    Are you being serious about your guess at what the 'thorn' was, or are you being humorous by just pulling something out of the air?

    Btw, is there any reason to think that Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin? Couldn't he have cast a vote against Christians at a lower court, or else as a witness against them if he had testified to a confession of faith they had made or participation in Christian activities when he was hauling people out of houses.

    My memory is a bit fuzzy. Did one need to be married to be a judge, or to be a member of the Sanhedrin? Also, how do we know that the requirements for Israelite judge written by Maimoinodes in the 300's were actually followed to the letter int he first century? Isn't he the source of where we get our information about requirements for this position? Is there another source?
     
  13. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,158
    Likes Received:
    322
    It is possible and even compatible with your view...

    Luke 13
    11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
    12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity...
    13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
    14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.
    15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
    16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

    HankD
     
  14. robycop3

    robycop3
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    7,573
    Likes Received:
    10
    I will stick to poor eyesight, most likely extreme nearsightedness, as that's the one physical prob Paul himself mentions in Scripture.
     
  15. Phillip

    Phillip
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Robycop3, would that be considered as a "messenger from Satan"?
     
  16. Link

    Link
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Messages:
    695
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hank D.

    The problem with that view is that makes Paul 'demonized'-- or 'demon possessed' in traditional language, doesn't it?

    There is nothing in the context to indicate that Paul's thorn was a sickness. There is plenty in the context talking about the tribulations and persecutions Paul suffered. If the messenger of Satan, whether human or demonic or 'fallen angelic' were buffeting him through stirring up persecution, that fits well into the passage.
     
  17. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,158
    Likes Received:
    322
    I don't think so, demonic possession is significantly different than demonic persecution.

    HankD
     
  18. rjprince

    rjprince
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    Link,

    Re Paul's marital status, see thread Saul/Paul...
     

Share This Page

Loading...