Paul’s thorn: what was it?

Discussion in 'Controversial' started by devilslayer365, Jan 9, 2018.

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  1. devilslayer365

    devilslayer365 Wazzup?!

    In scripture, 2 Corinthians 12, Paul remarks that he had a “messenger from Satan” as a “thorn in his flesh” in order to keep him humble and relying on God. Has anybody ever figured out what that “thorn” was?
  2. teddyv

    teddyv The horse is in the barn. Staff Member

    Lots of speculation, I'm sure. But I don't think anyone really knows.
  3. Kierkegaard

    Kierkegaard Life is not a problem to be solved Staff Member

    This. We won't know for sure until we meet up again with Paul, and then we probably won't care.
  4. teddyv

    teddyv The horse is in the barn. Staff Member

    And ultimately the actual issue is irrelevant. The relevancy is that Paul had an issue he clearly struggled with and it was to keep him humble and rely on the grace of God. I think we all can take something from that.
  5. devilslayer365

    devilslayer365 Wazzup?!

    True enough. I’ve heard some people speculate that the thorn was homosexual attraction, that Paul knew was wrong, and he had to constantly fight it and rely on God to help him not engage in gay sexual relations. Of course, that was probably somebody in the gay community making the claim. :rolleyes:
  6. TrustGzus

    TrustGzus Don't make me hangry Staff Member

    But that would imply something is wrong with that attraction and activity and that “community” denies that it’s wrong. So I don’t think it’s there idea. And there is zero reason to think that is what the issue was. That’s sensationalism trying to sell merchandise.
  7. Scooby_Snax

    Scooby_Snax Rut-Roh

    It seems to me many people avoid Paul's claim that a messenger of Satan was sent by God as a thorn in the flesh by providing an explanation for this via physical ailment of some kind.
    I have always disagreed with this stance personally.
    If it is a messenger of Satan that God sent to Paul-- this should be explored, rather than disease, IMO.
    I would like to know what was on Paul's heart, and to me, Paul is providing what God wishes us to know, avoiding the absolute clear circumstance: God CAN allow Satan to do His bidding when it will mold His child in the manner He intends.

    IMINXTC Time Bandit

    Agreed. The text is clear - a buffetting agent of Satan. Otherwise, every physical ailment can ultimately be assumed to be a messenger of Satan.
  9. teddyv

    teddyv The horse is in the barn. Staff Member

    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. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor. 12:7-10)

    Not sure what version that came from, but the point of the thorn was "lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations". That does not suggest (to me) a personal physical affliction, but perhaps a perhaps a potential to arrogance or conceit in his knowledge.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
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  10. TomH

    TomH Active Member

    I've heard that because of it being a "messenger" from Satan, it was perhaps a speech impediment. (Which probably, out of love for Paul, wouldn't have been mentioned).
    As everyone though, it's speculation.
  11. RabbiKnife

    RabbiKnife Open the pod bay door, please HAL.

    Many believe it was an eye ailment. It was an "it", not a "who."

    Whatever it was, it appears from the text that it was something that affected or impacted his body. It was, as Paul calls it, an "infirmity", which typically means a physical defect or weakness.
  12. Cloudwalker

    Cloudwalker The genuine, original, one and only Cloudwalker Staff Member

    There is some indication that Paul had bad vision. Some have suggested that as the "thorn"
  13. TrustGzus

    TrustGzus Don't make me hangry Staff Member

    7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

    A thorn sounds like a “What”.
    A messenger to harass sounds like a “who.”

    I don’t know what it is but both to begin and end that verse the goal was to keep Paul from being conceited.

    There are no people with eye troubles that are conceited, right?

    Who knows what or who it was? God knows. Paul knows. No one else does.
  14. RabbiKnife

    RabbiKnife Open the pod bay door, please HAL.

    It wasn't pleasant, whatever it is.
  15. ProDeo

    ProDeo What a day for a day dream

    No problem if you score 50 out of 50 in the Asperger thread, Paul during one of his travelings stepped on a thorn which got deeply into his flesh which made it impossible for him to spread the Gospel which he blamed on the devil. Simple....
  16. DaniH

    DaniH You're probably fine.

    The most logical explanation, to me, is that it was some person, or group of people, who made life particularly difficult for Paul and his companions. Like the Jewish leadership and other people that would turn against them, put them in prison, stone them and leave them for dead, etc. That sort of thing. I mean he was constantly being persecuted. Which God permitted to keep him humble. I mean if you're raising people from the dead and healing people from all manner of diseases, then you need a constant source of humility. Even though yes we know it's God's power, not Paul's, but still ... being powerfully used that way can go to someone's head very easily.

    At last the time came for Paul to lay down his life for the Gospel by being put to death by the Romans. Which he was ready for. He went into the whole thing as a "dead man walking" from the start, because he understood that he had committed blasphemy by persecuting believers and so forfeit his life under Jewish Law anyway. Even though he had done so from a place of ignorance and unbelief and so obviously received mercy.

    I can't imagine Paul calling some physical ailment like weakening eyesight "a messenger from satan". We're all dealing with illness and physical degeneration of one sort of another, that are just part of life, and Paul was an extremely hardy and strong person, who I doubt very much would blow some random ailment out of proportion like that. He would have probably been like "yea ok my eyes aren't what they used to be ... let's go preach the Gospel!". At least that's the sense I have of him as the kind of person he was.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018

    IMINXTC Time Bandit

    Paul was also not immune from anxieties. While the text here does not directly address that and lists fears within as a common experience among his fellow - travellers, it does lend insight into the possible nature of his suffering.

    "For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears." 2 Co 7:5
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  18. Scooby_Snax

    Scooby_Snax Rut-Roh

    I also thought of anxiety and of what Dani said about persecutors of the Gospel, messengers of opposition toward Paul , The Apostles or followers of Christ.
    Weird thing about anxiety, knowing it myself, spiritually, having no fear of final destination does not always make the path there smooth or without things like physical or mental pain and anguish that is severe or littered with doubt (during trials) even in the smallest form.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
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  19. teddyv

    teddyv The horse is in the barn. Staff Member

    I think if the path were smooth, I'd probably question whether I was on the right one.
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  20. פNIʞƎƎS

    פNIʞƎƎS Connoisseur of Memes Staff Member

    Every once in a while you say something that leaves me scratching my head. Here, you've outdone yourself. Who the heck are these "some people" you give your ear to?
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