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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Bro. Ruben, Dec 17, 2005.
A chronic opthalmia or epilepsy? Or something else?
To answer my own question, my guess it was a chronic opthalmia, an eye illness. He got it when he was going to Damascus and "found" the Lord along the way. He was blind for couple of days and his eyesight didn't return to normal.
The text doesn't tell us....any thing beyond that will be speculation. There have been many things speculated. But in reality no one knows.
When Paul mentions that the reader should notice that he is using big letters and writing in his own hand, this is at least a clue that something was wrong with his eyes.
I'm am not aware of these verses. Could you give us a reference? Thanks.
Galatians 4:15 -- For I bear you witnesess that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.
Amen to that. I was about to quote the verse to prove my stand.
Someone told me it might be an ulcer; when Paul advised Timothy to take small quantity of wine, was he (Paul) advising him because of Tim's trouble in his stomach or because Paul was basing his advice from personal experience that wine is good for stomach and relieve an ulcer (which might be his thorn in the flesh)?
I'm in the dark here. Thanks.
Probably for Timothy. And it was definitely alcoholic wine.
Today we know that most ulcers are bacteria-related. Wine, with its alcohol is a great antibacterial agent when applied topically. Drinking a LITTLE can definitely help bacterial ulcers.
Although I doubt Paul had the reasons listed for the antidote, 'folk wisdom' often proves true and the fact that ulcers responded to this treatment is pretty ancient knowledge.
It's taken science awhile to catch up, but we're getting there!
I'm with the camp that the Bible doesn't say so all is speculation. We do know that Paul had some physical issues that had to be dealt with, but whether or not they were his thorn, no one knows.
Some speculate that it was an actual person that caused Paul trouble, following him from place to place or it was a demon.
Thanks. This is the first time I have heard this interpretation and connection of these verses to the "thorn". This may be what Paul was referring to but that would be speculation.
I also vote for admitting we don't know, and I also speculate it was an eye problem, but it might have been something as simple as chronic migraines.
Although it probably has no bearing on what Paul's heath issues were, since I was in the motorcycle wreck that almost killed at age 14, I have seen the xrays of my hip and the pin that was put there more than 30 years ago, and it has the shape of a thorn. So the pain I lived in until 1997, when I had replacement surgery, I have always related to a "thorn in the flesh." I had several fights in high school-- most of them with black students who took a strange pleasure in mocking my limp and cursing me and degrading me constantly-- but that never deterred me from using my cane as a weapon to rap them with, and in one case, in giving a concussion. Nevertheless, the way I was treated in my younger years does-- even now-- cause me rage and defensivenness in my 'middle age.'
The word more properly means a stake, a surgical instrument, a fishook; not a thorn.
But, I think the Bible is specifically vague because not a single one of us today knows what Paul's thorn was, but we all have our own; this vagueness lets us relate.
Because of Galatians 4:15 quoted above by Helen, I had come to the conclusion years ago that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" may have been an eye problem. But I agree with what has already been posted - none of us know for sure. But one day we will be able to ask Paul about it...at least if we're not too busy praising God!
Could it be the Scripture is vague here because the focus is not on Paul's thorn, but on "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
It really matters now what the thorn was, as the focus of this passage is the grace of God being powerful in man's weakness.
We all have weakness of some kind or another,
Pastorsbc1303 hit it on the nail,
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
I'm in general agreement with PastorSBC, et al. It's not necessary that we know exactly what the thorn was in order to understand the point and teaching of the passage.
Bro. Ruben, it has been the general consensus among Baptists that I know around here that the eye problem was the thorn - or at least it is the best possibility we'd ever know. And, like you, they think of the road to Damascus experience as the beginnings of the eye problem. But I offer this just for consideration. Is it likely that Paul would call something that originated with God's work in his life "the messenger of Satan"?
Barry and I were talking about this and Barry mentioned the time Paul was stoned and left for dead. Certainly eye or ear or other damage could have resulted from that which would have been permanent! And that could certainly have been a 'messenger of Satan'!
A good idea.