Paul's Thorn

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by plain_n_simple, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. plain_n_simple

    plain_n_simple
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    2 Corinthians 12
    7And 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.
    8Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
    9And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
    10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong
    .



    I've heard Christians say all kinds of things about Paul's thorn, like he had an eye problem, or another illness, or even sinful lusts. Many say that God gave him this affliction to test him or to keep him humble. What is your understanding?
     
  2. kyredneck

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    There is scriptural support for the notion that this 'thorn in the flesh' was most likely a speech impediment (like Moses), and not bad eyesight.

    And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch. 2 Cor 12:7

    For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made void. 1 Cor 1:17

    1 And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
    3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
    4 And my speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
    13 Which things also we speak, not in words which man`s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words. 1 Cor 2

    For, His letters, they say, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account. 2 Cor 10:10

    But though I be rude in speech, yet am I not in knowledge; nay, in every way have we made this manifest unto you in all things. 2 Cor 11:6
     
  3. Scarlett O.

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    My understanding?

    I think that trying to pinpoint the exactness of the thorn is moot. The importance of the passage to you and I today doesn't lie in the nature of the thorn, but in it's cause and purpose. Its nature is purposefully ambiguous. Are there some hints? Yes. But vague.

    kyredneck made some valid points, but points could also be made for vision problems and struggles with opponents to his ministry.

    My understanding is that there is a reason for this being in the Bible. It's for us to emulate Paul's reaction to the thorn. According to the passage you cited -

    • Paul recognized that this was an attack from the devil and that God allowed it in His permissive will.
    • He understood that God allowed it to keep him humble and from behaving in a conceited manner.
    • He didn't try to combat the devil, but went to God because ultimately it was all part of God's permissive will.
    • He came to accept God's will even though it was painful and actually got to the point where he could BOAST in that thorn because he understood that in his (Paul's) weaknesses, Christ rested His power there and God's grace sustained him there.
    • He finally came to the mature spiritual understanding of what true strength was and what true weakness was.
    Here's a good commentary from gotquestions.org



     
  4. plain_n_simple

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    We should point out that in 12:7 where the NKJ reads, “lest I should be exalted above measure,” the NIV curiously reads, “To keep me from becoming conceited.…” Huh? Given the definition of that word, wouldn’t Satan be the one who would want Paul to become “conceited”? Yes, so why would he send a “messenger” to stop that from happening?
     
  5. The Biblicist

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    Satan did not send the messenger but God did. Just as God permitted Satan to attack Job in the Old Testament. Satan is on a leash and serves God even though he consciously refuses to serve God. God uses Satan in sanctifying and chastening his children and in carrying out justice upon the nations of the world.
     
  6. kyredneck

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    Good answer.

    Even Peter was turned over to Satan that so that he could 'sift him as wheat'.

    Satan and the spirits were used a lot.
     
  7. Amy.G

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    My opinion, which amounts to.....pretty much nothin' :tongue3:, is that the thorn was Satan's constant reminder to Paul that he had imprisoned and killed many of God's saints in the church, making him feel constant remorse and keeping him humble. He probably never understood why God would choose a man like him to spread the gospel. In fact he wrote about his unworthiness more than once.

    I know from my own experience, that Satan brings up my past sins and it makes me feel worthless and unworthy, even though I know God has forgiven me. It's one of Satan's tools to try to make a Christian an ineffective witness.
     
  8. plain_n_simple

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    "...the thorn was Satan's constant reminder to Paul that he had imprisoned and killed many of God's saints in the church, making him feel constant remorse and keeping him humble."

    I would struggle with that reason because it would indicate he did not fully grasp that when God forgives, He also totally forgets. Their is no need for prior sin awareness if we are set free with the truth. Paul wrote about remembering sin. He said it would lead to death.

    Corinthians 7:10
    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
     
  9. exscentric

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    Have been reading on I Cor. 2.3 and some commentaries suggest the "trembling" relates to epileptic problems, also they point out his Acts meeting on the road and your passage of the thorn.

    Not that I buy it, just thought it might catch your interest :)
     
  10. billwald

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    My understanding is that no one knows and anyone who claims they know is blowing smoke.
     
  11. Amy.G

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    ?????? So if a believer has sorrow over a past sin he will die?

    Everyone feel sorrow over past sins. God forgets but we don't.
     
  12. plain_n_simple

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    ?????? So if a believer has sorrow over a past sin he will die?

    Everyone feel sorrow over past sins. God forgets but we don't.


    It will lead to death. Regret once, then repent. You should forget your sins. If you are forgiven, and God erased the sin, then the devil is reminding you. Take captive every thought.
     
  13. Salty

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    I know for a fact what the problem was - Liberal Democrats!
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  14. Tom Butler

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    I wouldn't blow off the eyesight problem so quickly.

    Paul used an emanuensis for more than one of his letters.

    In one of them, at the end, Paul said he was writing some words in his own hand. The rest he had obviously dictated.

    We really don't know for sure, but it's interesting to speculate, using what evidence we can glean from the scriptures.
     
  15. billwald

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    That's the problem! Half of Christian doctrine is derived from Paul's sloppy writings.
     

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