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Thorn In the Flesh

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Denadii Cho, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. Thorn In the Flesh

    2 Corinthians 12:7 (King James Version)

    7 And 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.

    So what was the thorn in the flesh?

    Why did he not get rid of it?

    Is it possible he got rid of it after the place when he spoke of it?

    If God put this ugly thing on him, why doesn't He put it on us too, to keep us from being puffed up.

    Why would God put that on Paul while telling us to get rid of that junk?

    This verse is so talked about, but I think, so misunderstood.

  2. most of your answers are in the text before & after the verse...

    He does...

    I don't think He "put it on" Paul at that time...more likely He revealed it to him...it was already there...just hidden within his character. In saying that it was given to him, Paul is acknowledging that God created him...with all of his flaws.

    Flaws like sin are to be overcome...Sin needs Jesus to overcome it.

  3. Its my belief that Paul did get rid of this thing.

    2 Corinthians 12:5-11 (Young's Literal Translation)

    5 Of such an one I will boast, and of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities,
    6 for if I may wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for truth I will say; but I forebear, lest any one in regard to me may think anything above what he doth see me, or doth hear anything of me;
    7 and that by the exceeding greatness of the revelations I might not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of the Adversary, that he might buffet me, that I might not be exalted overmuch.
    8 Concerning this thing thrice the Lord did I call upon, that it might depart from me,
    9 and He said to me, `Sufficient for thee is My grace, for My power in infirmity is perfected;' most gladly, therefore, will I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of the Christ may rest on me:
    10 wherefore I am well pleased in infirmities, in damages, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses -- for Christ; for whenever I am infirm, then I am powerful;
    11 I have become a fool -- boasting; ye -- ye did compel me; for I ought by you to have been commended, for in nothing was I behind the very chiefest apostles -- even if I am nothing.

    --Paul besought the Lord to get rid of the thing for him and was told "My grace (Gods empowering Presence) is sufficient to get rid of it. Paul was to stand against it and get rid of it in the anointing. In Christ.

    --I see that the 'thorn in the flesh was a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him. A devil sent to buffet him.

    --I see where Paul is pleased infirmities etc because he knows that the power of God is sufficient to get rid of he thing. That makes him strong even when he's weak.

    --I believe that Paul took advantage of that strength in the anointing and got rid of that devil that was harassing him

    --I also know that God does not put devil on us. Ever.

    What do you think?:)
  4. I don't think Paul got rid of the thing, the overall impression when the passage is read as a whole is that after asking three times, he accepted it, and God was revealed through Pauls accepting of it. The other things he mentions (infirmities, in damages, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses), which are grouped together with this specific thing, we know from the rest of Pauls writing, that they were normal for him to experience and he seemed to glory in them, he certainly didn't ask for them to be removed as well. This thorn in the flesh seems to be something that hindered his work, some folk think it was a vision impairment or something similar, and he attributed it to satan, but I don't think that's significant, I think it's normal for satan to attack Christians, and the more effective they are, the more powerful the attacks I guess.
  5. Swiss If you had a problem and you knew what it was, and you had the wherewithall to get rid of it. Would you keep it? No? Why would Paul keep his? He knew what it was and God showed him how to get rid of it.
  6. I think sometimes , and we really do not know for sure, what this thorn was . It could have been physical or spiritual. It is very unclear. Fact of the matter is that it made Paul more effective for the Kingdom and as he accepted it because he more on fire for the Lord.

    What I am saying is sometimes we are afflicted with sickness or what ever and because we totally rely on God , that affliction is not removed. God knows why and if it brings us closer to a more personal relationship with Him then I too would be accepting.

    When we are going through our vallies is the time we are closer to God than on the mountain tops.
  7. Actually the verse says quite clearly what the thorn was.

    2 Corinthians 12:7 (Amplified Bible)

    a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.

    I know that you know that Satan does not work for God but against Him
    You also know that God does not employ Satan to accomplish His goal for us.

    We see that Paul was being harrassed by one of Satan's minions. A devil. Now do you think Paul would have just accepted it? Nah...

    No to be feisty or anything. Sorry if I came on too strong.:eek:
  8. "9 and He said to me, `Sufficient for thee is My grace, for My power in infirmity is perfected;"

    -This verse indicates what the 'thorn' was, an infirmity, which I've always thought was a disability. Paul recognizes it wasn't from God, therefore was from satan.

    "7 and that by the exceeding greatness of the revelations I might not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of the Adversary, that he might buffet me, that I might not be exalted overmuch"

    -And this verse indicates why God allowed satan to do it, so Paul wouldn't be seen as great, due to the revelations God was giving to the Church through him, and the focus would be on the message.

    I think your issue is whether the devil can have any lasting impact on a Spirit filled Christian, and if so, how can this happen, seeing the Christian is filled with the Spirit of God. And if so, then why, when Christ died to set us free from all this, would God allow it, it's like diminishing the effect of the death of Christ on the cross, on our lives. I can't answer that, but from my own meeting of older Christians, and from what I've read, I do know that some of the most Christ-like Christians, and effective fruit-bearers for God, have gone through their life with amazing handicaps, chronic disease etc.
  9. Whatever. If thats what you want to believe.
  10. The thorn was a messegar if satan that caused him great grief but God said that His grace was sufficient for His strenght is made perfect in weakness God does not need our strenght He needs our humble obedience in all circumstances. He alone is worthy.
  11. Hi everyone-

    On the contrary, Scriptures clearly show what this "Thorn" was-

    12:7- "there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure."

    The "thorn in the flesh- "the messenger of Satan"-

    The word "messenger" tranlates to someone who brings a message. Paul was ministering to groups the Gospel. This "messenger of Satan" was a doctrinal' demon or or speech type demon, sent to influence or possess a person to follow Paul around and cause verbal disruptions during his ministering.

    Some have taught this "thorn" was a deformity, a disease, an affliction of other sort. No, Scriptures do not support such beliefs.

    Rather Scriptures support it being a fallen Angel sent by Satan to "buffet"- (irritate) Paul by pointing out his infirmities. probems with teachings, etc.

    If were a deformity or affliction or disease of some sort, it would not have been a "messenger of Satan".

    Don't forget Gabriel, God's highest level "Messenger Angel" who visited Daniel and other of God's Children.

    This is why Paul speaks of how this "thorn" was to keep him from being exhaulted above measure.

    Also, most people back in those days, had little to do with or paid much attention to those who were seriously sick, deformed or otherwise. (Read in God's Word about the blind man and others who were claimed not to have really been aflicted, but only decievers, etc).

    Also, Early Church documentaries have also spoken of this "thorn" being some speech specialized demon influencing or possessing a person to afflict Paul during his ministry.

    Not to mention, if were a disease or deformity, they had doctors back then who could've done something to an extent to help- (Luke the physican). But no, Paul saught God 3 times to remove the "Thorn".

    "Buffet"- Grk. 2852- "to strike with a fist, beat, torment- (verbal), etc...."

    "Thorn [in] the flesh"- most likely a demon possessing a person since the thorn is "in" the flesh. When the Disciples once asked Christ who would betray Him, He declares- "haven't I chosen you twelve and one of you is "Diabolis"?- (translated means- the devil in human flesh).

    So, the "buffeting Paul recieved could've been physical as well as verbal abuse from this "Messenger of Satan".

    So, this proves it wasn't a disease or deformity or otherwise, but abusive treatment by that demon thru a human being.

    God Bless!!
  12. Good point but Paul said it was in him how do you explain that dont forget Paula past although forgiven the roaring lion would have tried to cause him continual grief as PPPeter experienced the roaring lion as wellPeter denied Jesus three times and although he was forgiven and completley restsored the accuser of the brethren does not cease day nor night to accuse Gods dear people we need to pray and ask god to grant us discernment.My thought only but i believe it is strongly supported by the scriptures and those whom God chooses and uses for His glory.
  13. CHAPTER 9
    In the second epistle to the Corinthians, twelfth chapter, is the record of
    Paul’s "thorn in the flesh." This fact in the experience of the great apostle
    has caused a great deal of comment, and has been fearfully wrested and
    misunderstood. Among the different opinions extant concerning what it
    was, and certainly the least tenable, is the one which claims that it was the
    "old man;" or, in other words, inbred sin. A little careful study on this
    subject would no doubt satisfy any one as to what it was, how, when and
    where he received it. Certainly it can he shown that it was nothing in
    connection with sin.
    In introducing the subject, he says: "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen
    years ago (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I
    cannot tell; God knoweth); such an one caught up to the third heaven. And
    I knew such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell;
    God knoweth); how that He was caught up into Paradise, and heard
    unspeakable words, which it is not lawful (margin, possible) for a man to
    utter." He then goes on to say: "And 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."
    As every one knows, the man of whom he speaks, that was caught up into
    the third heaven, was himself. In this state he had great revelations of the
    glories of the heavenly world. No doubt the apostle’s meaning when he
    speaks of making known those revelations was that it was impossible,
    rather than unlawful, to do so. The first thing we wish to settle in this
    lesson is, that this thorn was not carnality.
    1. He states that the thorn came in connection with those revelations.
    Then, if it came at the time of the revelations, he certainly did not have it
    before. If the thorn was carnality, he did not have carnality just before the
    heavenly revelations.
    He said it was a thorn in the flesh. The word flesh in the Scriptures has
    two meanings — physical corporeity and carnality. In reference to the
    physical he says:
    "The life which I now live in the flesh
    I live by the faith of the Son of God." Galatians 2:20.
    In reference to the carnal he says:
    "So they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:8.
    Flesh in both of these expressions cannot mean the same, else it would be
    an irreconcilable contradiction. To which flesh did the apostle have
    reference in the expression, "thorn in the flesh"? To say that he meant
    carnality is nonsense. It would be the same as saying he had carnality in
    carnality if the thorn in the flesh was such. Then it must have been
    something which happened to his physical being.
    3. It was given him lest he "should be exalted above measure through the
    abundance of the revelations." In other words, it was given him to keep
    him humble. If the thorn in the flesh was inbred sin, then inbred sin was
    given him to keep him humble. But the very root of pride, which is the
    opposite of humility, is inbred sin. Strange that something which produces
    pride should be given him to prevent the same. If carnality keeps people
    humble, then unsanctified people are more humble than the sanctified, and
    the more carnality the better.
    4. He prayed three times that it might be removed, but the Lord saw it to
    be best that it should remain. Now
    "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject
    to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7.
    Strange that God would want something to remain in him that was not
    subject to His law, but was real enmity against Himself. Paul had written
    to the Romans about the time in which he had these revelations, and had
    declared that the "old man" was crucified, and that the body of sin was
    destroyed; so then he must have been free from it.
    5. The best thing God could do then, consistent with His will, was to let
    the thorn remain, and to say, "My grace is sufficient for thee." Is this the
    way that God deals with the question of carnality? This is the way some
    people deal with it. They think that we must battle against it all our life;
    that God’s grace is sufficient for us; but that lie will not destroy this
    element till we die. But the teaching of His Word throughout is, that we
    must have it destroyed now.
    6. Paul, in the ninth verse, defines the thorn in the flesh, and names it
    "infirmities," showing that it was a combination of things rather than one
    in particular. Is there any Scripture that makes inbred sin synonymous
    with infirmities? We have never seen it.
    7. He said he would glory in the infirmities, meaning the thorn in the flesh.
    The idea of Paul, after he had said so much in regard to getting rid of this
    awful fungus of the soul, turning around and saying, most gladly would he
    glory in it. This he does, if the thorn is carnality.
    8. He had scarcely finished the sentence of glorying in it, till we hear him
    say he takes pleasure in the same. What! take pleasure in carnality? Just
    so, if the thorn in the flesh is such. Anyway, we may wonder how he
    could take pleasure in that which a little while before he was so anxious to
    be rid of. Here we have the blessed proof of God’s abounding grace, which
    is not only sufficient to make us endure for Jesus’ sake the trials of life,
    but will also enable us actually to take pleasure in them.
    We think we have given sufficient proof that the thorn in the flesh was not
    carnality. What, then, was it? If it was not inbred sin, then it was
    something in connection with his physical body. He said it took place
    fourteen years previous. In the margin of the Oxford Bibles are these
    words: "AD. 46. At Lystra, Acts 14:6." Turning to this fourteenth
    chapter of Acts, we find the account of Paul being stoned at Lystra, and
    dragged out of the city as a dead man. There is no doubt but that Paul was
    stoned to death at this time. Here he was caught up into Paradise, and saw
    and heard things that no mortal tongue could utter. What a change from the
    scenes of a moment before! With a howling mob around him, throwing
    brickbats, and filling the air with their fiendish yells, it seems that he
    departs this life, and the next moment he finds himself amid the glories of
    the third heaven. God had a purpose in it all, of course, but was not ready
    for Paul to leave the toils of soul-saving down here. One might imagine the
    Lord saying, "Paul, what are you doing here? I am not quite ready for you
    to come home. There are some more souls for you to save down there, and
    you will have to spend a little more time in the work; then I will send for
    you." We think Paul, without any word of reluctance, said, "Amen," and
    while the waiting disciples were viewing his mangled remains, life came
    into the body again and Paul arose to his feet Right here let me say that
    Paul evidently believed one could be absent from the body, and yet be in a
    state of consciousness. He was not a soul-sleeper.
    We see little opportunity for doubt that Paul had direct reference to his
    stoning at Lystra, being the time that he had the revelations, and
    consequently at this time he received the thorn in the flesh. Then, what
    was the thorn? Just what any one would naturally suppose, viz., some
    physical affliction as a result of the stoning. We could hardly suppose that
    one could undergo such maltreatment, resulting in death (at least for a little
    time), without some disfigurement of the body. It would not take many
    blows upon the face to render it more or less shapeless throughout life,
    even if it did get well. There are some Scriptural evidences which show
    very conclusively that such was the case with Paul, and, having these
    things to contend with throughout the latter portion of his life, we may
    well suppose it occurred at the time of his stoning, and hence, was the
    thorn in his flesh.
    Immediately after speaking of the thorn and praying for its removal, he
    breaks forth in these words: "Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in
    injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake, for
    when I am weak, then am I strong." (Revelation Ver.) It is evident that
    every word used here is in connection with this disagreeable thorn. First,
    through it he had weaknesses. Surely, there was some weakness as a result
    of that awful stoning. Second, he said he had injuries. Natural enough.
    Injuries that disfigured him, as we shall soon see. Then follows the word
    necessities. These were the natural result of his weaknesses and injuries.
    He was under the necessity of having certain care and help, which he
    otherwise no doubt would have dispensed with. Then he mentions
    persecutions. These persecutions came, no doubt, as a result of the thorn
    of which he speaks. Even some of the professed followers of the Lord
    brought about persecutions on account of his appearance. "For his letters,
    say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and
    his speech contemptible." — 2 Corinthians 10:10. Persecutions from the
    brethren are worse by far than from the world. Following persecutions, he
    speaks of distresses. It is reasonable to suppose that this affliction, the
    thorn in the flesh, was a constant mortification, in a sense, to him. The
    distressing fact of his facial appearance was continually confronting him.
    But this is not the only evidence concerning the nature of the thorn.
    According to some statements he makes to the Galatian church, it leaves
    little room for doubt that his trouble was a mutilated condition of his face,
    particularly affecting his eyes. We do not mean to infer that he had sore
    eyes, but a scarred face and weakened eye sight, that made him appear
    unsightly. Hear him in his address to that church:
    "And my temptation, which was in my flesh, ye despised not, nor
    rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus."
    Galatians 4:13.
    He seemed so thankful to them that they did not reject him on account of
    his physical condition. In the next verse he even feels that they would
    have been willing to make an exchange of what was complete in them for
    what was so afflicted in Paul. "For I bear you record, that, if it had been
    possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them
    to me." It seems quite conclusive that his trouble was mainly with his
    eyes. As a further proof of this, we would call attention to the fact that
    Paul almost constantly had a companion with him, probably not only as
    an amanuensis, but a helper, because of impaired eye sight Probably the
    only epistle Paul wrote with his own hands was to these Galatians.
    Evidently the reason why he did not write more was his practical inability.
    He did write the letter to these Galatians, for they had drifted into a sad
    state spiritually, and Paul, to prove that it was his own epistle, wrote it
    with his own hand, so that it would carry with it as much weight as
    possible. In our Authorized Version he says, in the sixth chapter and
    eleventh verse: "Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with
    mine own hand." But the Revised Version brings a further proof
    concerning the weakness of his eyes, when it says: "See how large letters I
    write unto you with mine own hand." This shows not only that he wrote
    the letter with his own hand, but that it was written in large characters.
    Why large letters? Because on account of impaired vision, he could do the
    work easier and better. Probably the only way he could write at all.
    Again, a little later in this last chapter of Galatians, he calls attention to his
    disfigurement, and says: "I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus."
    — Galatians 6:17 (Revelation Ver.). Stockmen brand their stock in order to
    prove their ownership. Surely Paul had the marks of Christ’s ownership.
    The injuries he sustained, especially at Lystra, were most conclusive and
    lasting evidences of the fact of his loyalty and blessed relationship to our
    Lord Jesus Christ. He had inward evidences in his own heart that he was
    fully saved, and he not only manifested to the outward world the fact by a
    holy life, but he had the very brand stamped upon him; something which
    the world was not carrying.
    We would not like to lay this lesson aside without calling attention briefly
    to a few helpful suggestions. We learn from Paul’s experience here that
    God does not always answer our prayers with a "Yes." If we would get
    the most out of our praying we must be so submissive to God that we will
    be as willing that He should say "No" as "Yes." If He answered in the
    negative, He will place alongside of the refusal, "My grace is sufficient for
    thee." There should be a continual understanding between every soul and
    the Lord, that wherever a negative answer is best at should be given. Of
    course, it will be done anyway, but with that previous understanding it
    would save one from the disappointment. Another lesson we may learn is,
    that the very things we naturally dislike the most may be so changed when
    God reveals His will in them, that we may glory and take pleasure in them.
    To live in the praise life, where one can "rejoice evermore" and "in
    everything give thanks," is a lesson which many Christians have not yet
    learned. Yet, with His sufficient grace, one can so live above the trials, or,
    rather in spite of them, that there will be constant victory and rejoicing.
    Like Paul in this experience, one may have much need to undergo severe
    trials, not only to keep him where he should be in grace, but also to bring
    him out into much larger fields of usefulness, and thus prove God’s all-sufficient
    grace. There are heights and depths for all of us to reach, which
    we have not yet seen. If we are only true to God, He will be pleased in one
    way or other to bring us into these places of further grace and glory. If we
    have some thorn in the flesh, instead of allowing it to trouble us and hinder
    us in the work, let us look to God, as Paul did, and if the Blessed Lord
    does not see best to remove it, then He certainly will give grace to endure
    it; and not only to endure, but actually to joy and rejoice in the midst of it.
    by W. E.Shepard

  15. [1] The Bible doesn't say what the thorn in the flesh was, only that it was a buffeting from the devil.

    [2] who said he didn't get rid of it?? only people.

    [3] God didn't put it on Paul.

    [4]God wont put it on us because He loves us, and sent Jesus to deliver us.

    [5] You're right, This verse has been misunderstood.
  16. Insightful commentary!
  17. Wounded, that commentary seems to have answered the question sufficiently for me. I always wondered what the story of the man who "went to the third heaven" meant. It explained it well and it makes sense that Paul had been beaten "to death" and should not have come back, had it not been God's will. And of course his face would have probably taken a lot of beating and most likely caused eye injury. The fact that he refers to this vision he had as a revelation and connects it with his beating, is proof enough for me that a thorn in the flesh was what he was referring to. This was a long post, but worth reading. Thanx. Bonnie
  18. Thanks sweet orrender i hope it helped you all God bless.
  19. i tried reading that long commentary but I can't concentrate so I don't understand it much.. but what I got out of it was that the thorn was there to make Paul humble himself.. to keep him under God's will.
  20. Sorry a lot of my posts are long but the truth they present will set us ree if we aloow them to.

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