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Paul's Thorn In The Flesh

What was the thorn in the flesh that was given to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7.

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Looking at this phrase,"the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure" and the word buffet used here does not indicate to me that it was poor eyesight!!
---Mima on 7/17/08


The thorn in the flesh was ofcourse caused by Satan, but it should go further than that: Some believes it was poor eyesight which Satan used and caused because of Paul's temporary blindness when he was converted. Paul also said that this affliction kept him humble. His affliction God used to eliminate spiritual arrogance in Paul [2Corin. 12:9,Gal.4:13-15].
---catherine on 7/16/08


The thorn in his flesh was Satan.
---Deb on 7/15/08


james, I never said that passage said anything about Paul's eyesight. Warwick and I were simply speculating, because it cant be proven either way. Rickey was saying this passage proves that Paul didn't have bad eyesight, that's what I was arguing. Anyway, we're just trying to have an interesting conversation. :-)
---Todd1 on 6/16/08


todd1, and you can't find anything to do with eyesight either in this text. Nor can you find anything to do with sickness. Paul said Jesus personally appeard to him BUT Jesus said He would be in Heaven until the end. Why would Jesus appear to Saul (an evil man) and not to John (Rev.1:1)? (or Peter?)
---james on 6/16/08




Todd, no. What I am saying is that a Christian shouldn't be suffering from sickness or disability. God cannot put sickness on a person . He cannot oppose His word.(1Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:3-5, Matthew 8:17, Psalm 103:3)

IF folks believe that God put sickness on them to humble them then they are sinning by going to the doctor for treatment. IF they believe that then they are being disobedient.
---Rickey on 6/16/08


Many do say that 1peter 2:24 is only talking about spiritual healing. That is incorrect too. If he was talking about spiritual healing then Matthew lied in Matthew 8:17.
Jesus sacrificed His spiritual life(fellowship w/ the Father) & His physical body so that we could be redeemed.
He died spiritually so that we could live spiritually. He died physically so that we could have redemption & healing & prosperity.
---Rickey on 6/16/08


James keep your shirt on. We are all speculation about an event which is not foundational to faith, as already explained.
---Warwick on 6/16/08


"Aggelos" is translated "messenger" and transliterated "angel". All things mentioned are persecutions. Satan hindered Paul.I Thess. 2:18. The majority of Satan's work, through his minions, is done externally, rather than possession. Temptations are often in the form of thoughts of fear,unbelief,lust,pride,etc. Persecutions come through Satanic influence. Shamefully, much persecution comes from the religiously fervent. God forbid that Christians should be the source.
---Larry on 6/15/08


james, what points are we failing to address? He said to read 2 Cor 12:7-10...we've all been reading that, obviously, since that's what the discussion is about.
No where in that passage does it say that Paul didn't have bad eyesight.
If there's a point that needs to be addressed it is how someone could POSSIBLY believe that someone suffering from sickness, poverty or disability is not a Christian.
---Todd1 on 6/15/08




What is this nonsense I see from Warick and Todd? (and others) Rickey had some good points and you could not answer him either. Yes, Paul said what the thorn in the flesh was, he called it an angel from Satan which we call a demon. It appears as though you guys are more blind then Saul was.
---james on 6/14/08


The bible does not specify this thorn in Paul's side. But it is something God has done to keep Paul humble and from boasting because after all Paul was given great revelations from God. He easily could have begun to think highly of himself. It says messenger from Satan...could be a reminder of all the times he has done evil things to Christians before his conversion to keep him humble.He keeps saying he thinks of himself as the greatest of sinners.Hope this is of some help.
---Gail on 6/14/08


Rickey, are you saying that if someone is suffering from a sickness or a disability then they are not Christians?
---Todd1 on 6/13/08


Something like this isn't even something to speculate about. Speculating about this is what brings doubt & confusion in the church today.
These speculations are what hinder people from being healed today. Scriptures do show that he did not have poor eye sight. Read 2Corinthians 12:7-10.
Healing shouldn't even be a debate in the church. Folks say they believe the word, but responses to blogs & situations truly differ.
---Rickey on 6/13/08


True. Adversity does bring humility, but sickness isn't an adversity from God. Sickness isn't a "thorn in the flesh". Can God go back on His word? Can God lie? His word says that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law(sickness, poverty, spiritual death).(Galatians 3:13)
Is that not true?
---Rickey on 6/13/08


Todd yes there are things we can speculate about and you are right they are no basis on which to base our theology. Just interesting to ponder.

I have had a mostly blessed life but it was the hard times which brought me closer to God.
---Warwick on 6/13/08


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Warwick, I agree! Its kinda fun to speculate on Biblical things, as long as we dont base any theology on speculation.
I think you're right about Paul's thorn being his eyesight, due to the reasons you've examined.
Rickey, since the Bible doesn't indicate what Paul's thorn was, how can you say "he didn't have poor eyesight"? You dont know he didn't, like we dont know he did. Speculation :-)
I think adversity brings humility if we have a Christ-like character.
---Todd1 on 6/12/08


Rickey we aren't told what Paul's 'thorn' was and it isn't important, but we can speculate, can't we?

I've a spinal injury ,painful, but not incapacitating. It reminds me daily of my mortality,causing me to spend time in prayer for healing. It makes me sensitive towards suffering of others.

Paul was given this 'thorn' and God refused to take it away. There for a purpose as explained in 2 Co.12:7-9

I think my speculation fits with Scripture and is as good as any.
---Warwick on 6/12/08


Warwick, I am glad that you wrote about Galatians 6:11, but it isn't giving any proof that Paul had poor eye sight from God.
All he said was, "Now, in these last sentences, I want to emphasize in the bold scrawls of my personal handwriting the immense importance of what I have written to you."

He didn't have poor eye-sight. Sickness doesn't bring humility. If anything it brings frustration. No one will serve a god who puts sickness on them. Jesus paid for our healing.
---Rickey on 6/12/08


Ask this question, "If God sacrificed His own Son to redeem us from sickness, poverty, & spiritual death, why would He put sickness on a person?"(Galatians 3:13, Deuteronomy 28)

He cannot be the Lord Who heals & a God who puts sickness on folks.(Exodus 15:26, Psalm 103:3)
---Rickey on 6/12/08


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Linda, we know that Paul's EYES blinded by the brightness of His Glory on the road to Damascus were never healed by God, and Paul talked about this many times, having others pen his letters.

We also know Paul instructed Timothy to take wine for his stomach...too an illness.

If perfect health were in the atonement...YOU would never get a cold, headache, or age. Aging is a degenerative disease, brought on by the fall of Adam & Eve, regardless of our now salvation.
---kathr4453 on 6/12/08


Linda, In the atonement is the promise of the complete redemption of our bodies, fashioned like His...We don't even know what we will be, but we will be like Him, but we are still in our fallen FLESH now.

Satan asked to buffet Peter's flesh, and Job was buffeted by Satan....in his flesh.

Did Job have before that these great revelations from God? NO!

Jesus suffered IN THE FLESH, as do we...Read 1st Peter 4.
---kathr4453 on 6/12/08


James 5:11
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Why use Job as an example if christians don't suffer...even in the flesh?
---kathr4453 on 6/12/08


#3
Linda, Paul said be ye followers of me the way I am of Christ. Now, Christ suffered in the flesh, correct. Paul's thorn was in the FLESH, correct.

So exaclty what flesh are we talking about here....

If it means the old man, well, I would think the CROSS in our life is painful, continually putting and keeping that old man mortified...keeping IT from exalting itself in pride. All Christians have to endure that.
---kathr4453 on 6/12/08


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It is understandable Paul would consider this thorn a hindrance to wider or more effective ministry (Galatians 5:14-16) and that he would repeatedly petition God for its removal (2 Corinthians 12:8). But he learned from this experience the lesson that dominates this letter: divine power is best displayed against the backdrop of human weakness (2 Corinthians 4:7) so that God alone is praised (2 Corinthians 10:17). Rather than removing the problem God gave him grace and strength in it and through it.
---kathr4453 on 6/12/08


James, You claim to know your Bible, to have these interesting questions (that you see as contradictions) so you want us to say 'Oh, my goodness, James is right and the Bible is mistaken.' But we are not going to do that. Jesus did not appear to Saul/Paul, it was his voice that was heard, with a bright light (blinding). When describing supernatural experiences some people experience what can only be described as light but is unseen by others. The man with Paul heard a voice only. No physical body.
---frances008 on 6/12/08


There is good Biblical evidence that Paul's thorn in the flesh was poor eyes-see Gal. 6:11 where he comments he writes with large letters when he does it with his own hand. The most obvious reason for him writing with large letters is that he could not see smaller ones.

I wonder if his eye problem was a hang-over from when he was blinded by God. A thorn in the flesh to remind him of his violent anti-Christian past and to keep him humble? See 2 Co. 12:7.
---Warwick on 6/11/08


Here is something to ponder on: Jesus told His disciples that He had told them everything beforehand and the Holy Spirit would cause them to remember. (John 14:26) Jesus NEVER appeared to anyone, even John who wrote Revelation (who Jesus loved) (See Rev. 1:1-3) and Jesus said He was going to Heaven and would not be back until the wedding feast. So, how come He came back for Saul/Paul? Why didn't He get Saul to follow Him while He was here? Interesting? I think so.
---james on 6/11/08


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Consider this possibility. The (IT) is a spiritual demon manifestation causing problems and difficulties of various natures for Paul.
---Mima on 6/9/08


He was a Roman defect. After his conversion, he was not well-liked or quickly accepted by either camp. The Romans would say, "how much have you betrayed Rome in becoming a Christian?", and likewise would say his old religious pharisaic associates to him, and also the Christians whom he persecuted would say, "how do you a Roman whom persecutes us come to us professing now you are on our side?" Yes a great humbling thorn indeed.
---Eloy on 6/9/08


Unless you have an abundance of revelations like Paul, you don't even qualify for the thorn in the flesh. That pretty much disqualifies a lot of people, even those who want to retain that sickness is a thorn in their own flesh. Unbelief that we were healed by His stripes is just that....unbelief. And for those who would be so emboldened to say that those stripes were for spiritual healing only, let me be so emboldened to say that whole Scripture in 1 Peter 2:24 is regarding what happened in His BODY.
---Linda on 6/8/08


2 Corinthians 12:7 The Thorn in the flesh for Paul was: His Eye Sight was bad

Gabby8758
---Gabby on 6/8/08


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I find it interesting that Paul taught that there was a difference between the flesh and spirit. (the flesh being evil and the spirit being good) If it were truely a demon, and it seems clear it was, then Paul would have been correct (in his mind) that it was "in the flesh" and not in the spirit. In context with this is verse 3. Paul said he did not know if he (14 years ago) went to the 3rd heaven in body or spirit. Google "revelation of Paul" and read it and then you tell me?
---james on 6/8/08


Verse 8 (2ndCor.12) says, "Concerning this..." (concerning the "messenger of Satan"), "I entreated the Lord THREE times that IT might depart from me." Paul said this thing was an "IT", and his god would not make it depart even though Paul asked three times. So, if Paul's visions came from Jesus, was there ever a time when Jesus never cast out any demon? Am I the only one that sees that this can't be any illness or persecution? It has to be a demon.
---james on 6/7/08


Have you not went to school to learn English? What does "a thorn in my side(flesh)" mean? It simply means trouble. The next phrase separated by commas, was by whom - Satan's messenger who buffet Paul continuslously. Paul lists such "thorns" as imprisonment, stripes, shipwrecks, and stonings, none of these speak of sickness. All this was allowed by God to keep Paul humble.
---Steveng on 6/5/08


Thank you Ed. Paul's thorn in the flesh was not a form of sickness or pride. Reading the entire chapter shows that it was persecution.

With that said, that disqualifies sickness, what people today call his/her thorn in the flesh, out of that erroneous belief.
---Rickey on 6/5/08


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We are not told about the specific "thorn in the flesh" but do know that it was given to Paul to keep his pride intact. It is an example for us to remember to not trust our flesh but rather to rely upon the Lord. We are all week in the flesh but Christ has conquered everything! Praise God!:)
---jody on 6/5/08


Mathew from LA, must be correct in that the thorn must be a demon. Which then leads me to wonder what Paul was talking about in the verses above this about the third heaven. All of this sure is interesting!
---james on 6/5/08


When a word or phrase in a scripture is difficult to understand, you must search the scriptures to see if it's been used before. In the case of Paul's thorn in the flesh, similar phrasiology has been used before and it was always in reference to inhabitants (unbelievers) around someone, giving them a rough time. In Pauls case, they were trying to kill him ("to buffet me").
---Cindi on 6/5/08


Paul called it a messenger from Satan. Satan's message has always been a message of deception, therefore, one of his messengers would bring deception. I believe Paul's thorn was his propensity to rely on his flesh and not find God's strength in his weakness. He also suffered a lot of persecution in the form of chains, stripes, shipwreck, etc.
---Linda on 6/5/08


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I believe Pauls Thorn in the flesh was an eye problem.
---Marcia on 8/17/07


The Lord tells us what Paul's thorn in the flesh was. Look at Judges 2:3 and Joshua 23:13 or Numbers 33:55. Paul's thorn were the Jews! In 2 Cor 11:24-26 we read, "24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes...." You have to follow God's rules for Bible interpretation-1 Cor. 2:13.
---ED_from_IL on 8/17/07


From the old Scofield referance bible: It has been conjectured that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was chronic ophthalmia, inducing bodily weakness, and a repulsive appearance (Gal. 4:15, 1 cor 2:3-4, 2 cor 10:10). This cannot be positively known, and the reserve of Scripture is as sure a mark of inspiration as its revelations. Paul's particular "thorn" is not described that his consolations may avail for all to whom any thorn is given.
---Cynthia on 8/14/07


Pauls thorn in the flesh was Pride and Haughtiness of heart. He makes it clear as he talks about his visions and revelations of the Lord in 2 Cor 12 1:6. He himself is the person he refers to in verse 2 as revealed in verse 5 & 6. In verse 7 Pauls tells how a messenger of Satan is buffeting him so that he will not exalt himself above the Glory of God. A weakness (thorn in the flesh) that all Christians experience.
---dave on 8/11/07


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Lets remember it was given to him by Satan, and not by God.
Looking elsewhere in the Bible, I see the thorn in the flesh always refers to people who persecuted. As with the surrounding evil nations that were always thorns in the flesh to Israel.
---john on 7/25/07


*why would a holy god give paul a demoned*

I don't question God. God has done it before.

Judges 9:23
23Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem, and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:

1 Samuel 16:14



14But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.


And of course the book of Job. Job is a little different though in that God let it happen.
---Matthew_from_LA on 7/24/07


paul s thorn in the flesh was a physical thing like eye trouble,though are sufferings we stay closer then ever to god so the lord gave him a thorn knowing that paul would stay close,why would a holy god give paul a demoned
---nikki on 7/24/07


It was clearly a demon.
---Matthew_from_LA on 7/23/07


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Reading verses 7-10 shows that Paul "thorn in the flesh" was persecution.
---Rickey on 7/23/07


Noone knows. The fact that he was nearly stoned to death could have been what it was or in relationship to it.
---catherine on 7/22/07


(1) When I have been with people and the subject of "Paul's thorn" came up, people have seemed stunned and intimidated, in considering what could have been this "thorn in the flesh" that Paul had. He says he could not make it go away. He, Paul, so great in faith for working miracles, was not able to work the miracle of getting rid of this thorn. So, what, ever, could this thorn have been? >
---Bill_bila5659 on 7/22/07


(2) "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.

"Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me." (2 Corinthinas 12:7-8)
---Bill_bila5659 on 7/22/07


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(3) Yes, we have people who believe "Paul's thorn" was an eye problem . . .
"an infirmity" they call it. And ones of them have a scripture that they feel might support that Paul's thorn in the flesh was a problem with eyesight > in Galatians chapter 4 >

"What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me." (Galatians 4:15)
---Bill_bila5659 on 7/22/07


(4) I heard one person say that Paul's thorn in the flesh may have been a problem with lust.

Different people relate in different ways with what Pual's thorn might have been. I think each of us can consider what each of us feels would be the hardest thing to deal with.

Some are so impressed with medical troubles, that they might consider something medical like an eye trouble, while others of us struggle most with our sin problems, and so one might consider a lust problem.
---Bill_bila5659 on 7/22/07


(5) Each person is relating personally with Paul . . . seeing how he so great and spiritual could have a problem that was hard for him to handle . . . like we all can > Paul could have problems, too. He tells us this, and this helps us to identify with Paul. And so, his telling us this has helped people to love him, and not just exalt him as some more than human religious hero.

And we can love people, too, by sharing how we have problems, so they can relate and have love with us.
---Bill_bila5659 on 7/22/07


Scripture does not tell us what the thorn was. It is silent on that subject.

My theory is it is not mentioned so that we can better relate to having a thorn along with Paul.
---Madison1101 on 7/22/07


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It's not known for sure, but from what I've read in other books dealing with this subject, it may have been his eye sight. The reason for this is the fact most of his letters to the churches where composed for him, and in some cases he made it a point to write the greeting or saluation himself.
(1 Cor. 16:21, Col. 4:18, 2 Th. 3:17 and Phm.1:19)
---wivv on 7/22/07




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