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Paul's Thorn In The Flesh

Paul said if it wasn't for the law, he would not have know coventness was a sin. In Romans 7 he talked about doing the very things he didn't want to and attributed it to the sin that dwelled in his flesh. What do you think was the thorn in his flesh?

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//Paul tells us that the thorn in his flesh was a messenger from satan
He does??? not per Holy Scripture. ---Rhonda on 8/5/11a

that is EXACTLY what it says per our Holy scripture "thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me"

messes with your doctrine doesn't it?

you are railing against others and doing exactly what you accuse others of.

---aka on 8/5/11

According to your question I would suppose that you feel Paul was an adulterer.

That is total speculation on my part but it seems you were setting the stage for that analogy.
The thorn is clearly a messenger of/from satan to discourage Paul by constantly buffeting him with reminders of who Paul once was.

We can surmise through Paul's writings that he was terribly regretful for who he once was as a persecuter of the body of Christ.
satan is well adapt at minimizing mans worth to God due to past failures.

God allowed this to prevent Paul from being carried away in pride for all the good he had done for the body in his ministry.
Reminding Paul that God's grace is sufficient, therefore God deserves all glory
---paul on 8/5/11

Rhonda: O.K.,so you were mistaken about Paul's religious origin but I think the rest of your point is valid. Paul is very clear regarding the ongoing struggle man experiences between the dual nature of spirit and flesh. The good news is that "He who started a good work in you will finish it" even up until that glorious day when He returns.
---jody on 8/5/11

I think the thorn in his flesh was from a thorn bush he fell into when a little boy playing around Tarsus (his home town).

It lodged too deeply to be removed, and formed a painful cyst that would drain foul-spelling pus and other effluvia every so often.

Isn't that the most logical explanation?

Glory to Jesus Christ!
---Cluny on 8/6/11

The repeated hardships Paul encountered for the gospel' sake were the buffetings. BUFFET: "To repeatedly strike with an open-hand." The closest word most us are familiar with, that's similar to "buffet", is the word SLAP. A slap causes one to feel a certain way. A thorn prick causes one to feel a certain way too.
Paul used the word "buffet" to convey a visual image of how it felt to him to repeatedly get slapped over and over again by shipwrecks, stonings, demonic persecutions from religious leaders, snake-bites, being left for dead, spending days and nights in the deep,etc.
One minor point: Paul was never a gentile. He was an unbelieving Jewish leader that met Jesus, became a messianic Jew. Wasn't a Gentile.
---Legend on 8/5/11

Rhonda, I want you to know that I'm not following you but saw your response. You said,
"Paul tells us that the thorn in his flesh was a messenger from satan

and WHAT was the message????


the THORN was a messenger???

no the THORN was and is and always will be sin say the thorn was a messenger is absurd and how convenient to ignore the message from the messenger if the thorn represents Satan ...yet that's what false christianity does ...a slight twist and spin of the written word to absolve one of any responsibility ...because NOW if the thorn is Satan the messenger one can simply say they sin because Satan made me do it
---Rhonda on 8/5/11

To say that God will not allow satan to buffet or test His followers may want to REVIEW the Book of Job. We see TOO Job did NOT have a demon.

Some believe Paul's eyes was that thorn. His eyes were burned remember, and always had issues with his eyes. Paul could not write his own letters but dictated them, and signed them, and maybe that was the thorn that he had to DEPEND on another. Maybe he prayed 3 times for healing. God's answer was " My strength is made Perfect in weakness.
---kathr4453 on 8/5/11

Rhonda, I want you to know that I'm not following you but saw your response. You said,
"Paul tells us that the thorn in his flesh was a messenger from satan
*****He does??? not per Holy Scripture"

Holy Scripture says,
"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"
Maybe you have a different Bible that does not say that. But according to mine, it does.
---Mark_V. on 8/5/11

Paul tells us that the thorn in his flesh was a messenger from satan

He does??? not per Holy Scripture

the "thorn" represents sin ...seeing Paul was converted from a gentile to a Christian as Christs Apostle Paul was speaking to the brethren about sin and how to put it out of one's life is a LIFETIME of overcoming ...sadly counterfeit christianity teaches their christ 2Corin 4:11 did it all for them essentially they are sinning IN a christ which contradicts Paul and dozens of Scriptures
---Rhonda on 8/5/11

Paul doesn't tell us his thorn in the flesh. It's better that way. The truth is, we all have a thorn in the flesh. The thorn in the flesh for some of us is the temptation to steal, or curse, or get angry, or lust, or lie, or be lazy, or over eat, or be judgemental, etc. We all have our weakness or weaknesses that we wish the Lord would remove. For some of us it is a physical affliction that keeps us humble.

The Lord allows some of us to suffer physically or mentally, all to bring us closer to him. He doesn't glory in our suffering, but he does in our obedience and worship of him.
---trey on 8/3/11


You said: God does not and never will use Satan to correct his followers.

But see:

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

1 Samuel 16:14-15 (also 16:15,23, 18:10, 19:9)
"But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him."

Job 1:12 (also 2:6)
"And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD."
---StrongAxe on 8/3/11

In my opinion Paul could be attributing the thorn in his flesh as some form of trials and temptations he is experiencing.
---mj on 8/3/11

Paul tells us that the thorn in his flesh was a messenger from satan. A messenger from satan is a demon, therefore Paul had a demon and that demon came from Satan and had nothing whatever to do with God and His Son Jesus Christ. God does not and never will use Satan to correct his followers.
---barb on 8/2/11

Legends, what you said might have come to Pauls mind of what he did before he came to Christ. But he explained the sin within him was the old nature that had not been redeemed in Romans 7. He wanted to do right all the time but sin within him cause him to fail.
But the thorn on the side had a different context from 2 Cor. 11:10, "As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia" and insisted he would continue his boasting, and boasting against the false apostles. In (v. 17) he said "What I speak I speak not according to the Lord, but as if it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting" He was outside of God's will. He said it himself.
---Mark_V. on 8/1/11

Legends 2: what was said in the context of Romans 7 was different. Even Paul admitted that when he said, (v.7) "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations" meaning if he boasted by all that God was doing through him. "a thorn in the flesh was given to me" It was like saying "a pain in the butt" "a messenger of Satan to buffet me" the messenger was a demon indwelling the ring leader of the Corinthian conspiracy, the leader of the false apostles, through them he was tearing up Pauls beloved church and thus driving a stake through Paul. Because as I said, the word "buffet" always refers to ill treatment from other people.
---Mark_V. on 8/1/11

Even in Christians, like Paul, thoughts entering in like thorns tempt us to live a life filled with guilt. Even though our sins have been washed. When we allow our human minds to rule, guilt WILL prick.
Each persecution Paul received FOR PREACHING, attempted to remind him of the sowing and reaping principle. Saul handed out repeated beatings and The Adversarial mind of the flesh sent MESSAGES to Paul remember what he had done as SAUL.
BUT, God reminded Paul that grace is SUFFICIENT and it's also the higher law that supercedes the law of sin and it's consequences. GRACE, INSTEAD THE JUSTICE. Paul considered His persecutions a badge of honor and fought messengers of guilt tooth and nail.
---Legends on 8/1/11

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actually...i meant guilt from memories and actually a better word is humility from memories, which Paul expressed a few times. i know that in scripture God says that our sins are completely washed away to be no more, but he did not say the memory of those are. our memories good and bad keepp us humble and dependent on the Lord so they do not end in things like guilt and anything else the accuser can bring as a result.
---aka on 7/31/11

The thorn could not have been guilt. God clearly says that our sins are completely washed away to be no more. It is written that we all must share in Christ's suffering. Suffering and sacrifice keeps us humble and dependent on God. I believe it is a very private thing and God wouldnt generally share the specifics with us. Some things we are just not meant to know.
---WenRome on 7/31/11

Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong>2Corinthians 12:10

I believe this is the thorn he had to accept Gods grace to be sufficient for.

here's some examples:

..much greater labors, with far more imprisonments, with more severe beatings, facing death many times.Three times I was beaten with a rod. Once I received a stoning. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open hard work and toil, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, many times without food, in cold and without enough clothing>1Corinthians 11:23-33
---willa5568 on 7/31/11

Tanya, the reason I disagreed it was sin because of the context. When Paul said, "a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me" The verb translated "buffet" always refers to ill treatment from other people (Matt. 26:67: Mark 14:65: 1 Cor. 4:11: 1 Peter 2:20). The Old Testament describes Israel's opponents as thorns (Numbers 33:55: Josh 23:13: Judg 2:3: Eze. 28:24). The thorn was the false prophets which is found in chapters 10-13. This was sent to him by God to keep him humble, As with Job. Satan was the immediate cause, but God was the ultimate cause.
---Mark_V. on 7/31/11

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I think that Paul's thorn in his side had to be a sin. I think 'thorn' was a euphemism for a sin. I agree that in Romans7 he talks about doing the things he did not want to do and that he keeps doing. He didn't use it in the past tense at that time. This was something that was present and onging. I also agree that he attributed it to sin that lived in his flesh. I have heard it said that it was an affliction but I don't agree with that. A thorn is something that you get in and under you skin. You have to work it to get it out. This takes time. An affliction you can't work out. You have to live with it.
---Tanya_Partin_Lawton on 7/31/11

Thank you Lord. Psalm 63:7
Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
Psalm 23
1The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:
Matthew 10:34
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Ephesians 6:17
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
---Trav on 6/2/10

MarkV, thank you too. Our discussions give me a chance to dig too. It helps me sharpen my sword considering how dull it is compared to the Word.
---aka.joseph on 6/2/10

Aka, thank you for the discussions, I enjoyed studying and looking for as much information as I can on each subject. I will leave you peace and blessings brother.
---MarkV. on 6/1/10

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I apologize again. I had food poisoning over the weekend and I don't think I read your blog correctly. We do agree that 1 Cor 12 is about boasting...the church of visions and dreams and Paul of Christ. Boasting does come from pride. It all comes down to what you are proud of.

However, I do still agree with Legends. Even down to the Greek, I think guilt is the best explanation of thorns.

In the same letter, he expresses some pangs of guilt: 1 Corinthians 15:
9For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain..
---aka.joseph on 6/1/10

It may very well could have been physical either directly or severe spiritual opposition that would have also affected Paul physically.
"Thorn in the flesh" is metaphorical but "messenger of Satan" is literal and there speculation begins.
There is a whole list of ailments from commentators, however others believe the thorn grew out of severe opposition birthed at Corinth.
While we know about the examples of Job and Hosea in terms of "messenger of Satan" and "thorn" we can't be sure.
I would tend to lean toward physical over "lust" or "covetousness" as I find no record of God allowing sin for purposes of preventing other sins, i.e. pride.
---larry on 5/31/10

AKA, you had said,
Pride is what Satan presents to us, guilt is what he reminds us of."
indicating that Satan was representing pride in us, and that guilt is what he reminds us of. Which had nothing to do with the thorn on the side. What you added from 2 Cor. 11:16-18 has nothing to do with pride or guilt. It has to do with boasting as I had mentioned. Many were boasting as I said, and God did not want him to boast. He explained he went through a whole lot, prisons, bitten and so on and God in order to make sure he stop boasting put the thorn on the side. To keep him humble. The thron was the big pressure he was having with the false leaders attacking his belove Church. They were the thron.
---MarkV. on 5/31/10

I agree with John- The other usages of Thorns and Pricks refer to Humans. Paul said he doesn't even judge himself in Romans. There is therefore NOW no condemnation. Guilt is "self-condemnation" God doesn't want us to feel guilty to keep us humble. God puts our sins as far as the East is from the West and remembers them no more- He wants our Repentance. It's the goodness of God that leadeth men to repentance. "NOW, then, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us"! Realizing that, seeing His works keeps me humble. I know Paul saw way more than I. He didn't need a buffet for humility. I believe the messengers of Satan were people who were trying to silence or kill Paul to stop the movement of God's Word.
---DJ on 5/31/10

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//The thorn was not a physical illness. It was sent to him by God to keep him humble. //

I know the thorn is not physical. However, it was not God that sent it to him, it was a messenger of Satan that was allowed to continue by God. You say pride, I say guilt.

As far as boasting, this is the problem with verse and chapter. You say that there is no context. Read 2Cor 11:16-18. This is the setup for 2Cor12.

He was dealing with a church that was prideful or boastful. They were dwelling in the wonders, he was trying to bring them back to humility.
---aka.joseph on 5/31/10

Aka, the context before and after the passages has no bearing on what you said. The whole chapter is about "not boasting." messengers of satan do not operate without the permission of God. God was the one who put the thorn on his side. Paul beg God three times to take it away and God said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my Strength is made perfect in weakness" The thorn was not a physical illness. It was sent to him by God to keep him humble. As with Job, Satan was the immediate cause, but God was the ultimate cause. The throne consisted of a demon indwelling the ring leader of the Corinthians comspiracy, the leader of the false apostles. Through them they were tearing up Paul's beloved Church.
---MarkV. on 5/31/10

Because of Adam's original sin, thorns and thistles come "all the days of our lives".
Thorns= Guilty thoughts of regret.
Thistle= Implies a time period being caught in the snare of thorns.

God didn't have to remind Paul of his "old man of sin". He, like we, had those condemning memories strike him.SeeActs28
Thorns repeatedly wound us. Thorns point at us. By grace, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore. Not around His waste or hips or thighs but around His thinking facility... His head. Jesus redeemed us from guilt and shame of the memories of our sin. Thorns can be a paralysing venom in the form of condemnation. Grace is the answer!
We don't reside in Guiltville but Graceland.
---Legends on 5/30/10

Legends, that is very, very good and contains more revelation than many of us would like to admit. If we think of ourselves as what the skeletons dictate, we fail to esteem the Christ who is above. He was crucified at Golgotha, the place of the skull, for the very purpose of redeeming us from the skull bone mindset we allow to frame our lives. A skull is empty-headed, containing nothing but dead space. A good look at the person and work of Christ is the remedy. It is a whole new mind.
---Linda on 5/30/10

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Legends on 5/29/10, Paul was buffeted by guilt

Legends, I totally agree with this and your assessment. Because of a head injury that I suffered about 14 years ago, I had serious sight impairment. As severe as it was and difficult as it is, I would never describe it as a thorn in my flesh.

A thorn is a source of pain, and even though I am forgiven of my past, there are some memories that still make me cringe in pain. In consideration of Paul's past, I am sure Satan had a lot of fiery darts for Paul.

Donna66, if it were mother-in-law, Paul would have used the word for 'thorn in the upper thigh'. :~)
---aka.joseph on 5/30/10


Pride is what Satan presents to us, guilt is what he reminds us of. As far as pride (total opposite of guilt), his words were a continuation of chapter 11, where Paul was bragging about Christ and the Corinthians would not stop bragging about dreams and visions and would not listen to Paul. So, he, with as much humility as he could muster, told him of his visions and dreams which was real and could crush theirs. In that humility, he was able to turn it back to Christ.
---aka.joseph on 5/30/10

God did not continue to bring Paul's sins to his rememberance. I believe that Bill-bela and a few mentioned pride. I believe the context begins with 2 Cor. 12:1, "It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast" When Paul spoke of a man he knew, he was speaking of himself. How the man was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it was not lawful for man to utter. He later says, "For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool" If he had said the man was he, he would have been boasting about himself, so in order for him not to boast, he says, "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn on the flesh was given to me"
---MarkV. on 5/30/10

Legends--- OOOps , I am SO embarrassed! I don't know where my mind was. PETER's mother-in-law was healed in the New Testment. We don't know if Paul ever had a mother-in-law. I've heard somebody joke that the "thorn in the flesh" could be a
a mother-in-law (which, of course is debatable)
Thanks for correcting me!
---Donna66 on 5/29/10

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\\I kid you not! (we met her in the gospels)

And where is St. Paul's mother-in-law mentioned in the Gospels, Donna66?
---Cluny on 5/29/10

The Greek word for "thorn" clearly defines the issue. As already suggested, the issue was more spiritual(than physical) because it was a "messenger of Satan". But to be fair... most, if not all of satan's messages come to us as the result of something that has already occurred in the natural. For example, a Christian woman who has been saved and washed in the blood still wrestles with guilty feelings over an abortion she had many years ago maybe even before she was saved. The thorn that pokes is guilt. The answer is always grace.
Thorn: grk skol'-ops
Formed by two base words 1) skelos, Root of skeleton and skull. 2) optanomai, Root of optics
Skol'-ops = How I see myself on the inside
Paul was buffeted by guilt
---Legends on 5/29/10

Maybe St. Paul got a real thorn buried in his flesh, couldn't extract it, and it festered?

Sounds reasonable, and it is a literal interpretation of the verse.
---Cluny on 5/29/10

Peter 3584 -- Amen brother! There has always been speculation about Peter's thorn...everything from an eye his mother-in-law! I kid you not! (we met her in the gospels)

The nature of the "thorn" is NOT really important (I think that is why it was not revealed)) What IS important, is What Jesus told him:

2Cr 12:9 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.

Great comfort when we feel weak or helpless!
And a great reminder when we think we are strong enough, on our own, to overcome everything.
---Donna66 on 5/28/10

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A thorn in the flesh: We believe that it was a an eye condition which Satan gave him, which contributed to, when Paul was temporary blinded at his conversion....The flesh, you must "kill, kill, kill", it. The flesh is stupid, get you in a lot of trouble. Only the Spirit of God which lives in His people is life. Not death, but life. KILL THE FLESH, I SAY, "KILL IT"....A little testimony here, I complained about a thorn in my flesh to God, a long time ago, which Satan was pouring upon me. And God said, "my grace is sufficient". Not what I wanted to hear. I didn't even know that it was in the Bible. But He said the same thing to Paul. I was wanting God to make the thing go away. Praise the living God. Come on.
---catherine on 5/28/10

We know it is spiritual because Paul said... A messenger from Satan... could it be a constant reminder of what he was really into in secret as a Pharisee persecuting the church?
---aka.joseph on 5/28/10

We do know what it was! Paul explaned it was a messenger of the adversary sent to repeatedly strike him. Messengers bring MESSAGES so the messages(thorns) poked him over and over repeatedly.
The same answer to the problem was given Paul every time he asked the problem (thorn) be removed. By knowing the answer and the context of the chapter and the previous chapters, we know the problem.
Grace was the answer! Grace was also the surpassing revelation that Paul had above all other apostles because he persecuted the church with stonings, jailings, murders. The very things Paul was now experiencing as a member of the group he once persecuted.

---Legends on 5/28/10

Bob: We are not told (by Paul)

It could have been a physical problem, possible satan was allowed to cause Paul physical problems, as satan was allowed with Job - I do not know

It could also have been either spiritual or mental

Since we are not told, I take it that we need not know, but we do need to know that he HAD a thorn in the flesh (a messanger from satan)

What is was, I think we don't need to know
---peter3594 on 5/28/10

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If that were the case, does this mean that because the visions and revelations were so mighty that the Word of God was not sufficient in and of itself to keep Paul humble? Did God have to dim Pauls eyes to cool down his zeal for ministry by turning down his vision to keep him humble? Hasnt the Word with its power to correct behavior been abandoned here? The Bible teaches that the Word and the Holy Spirit alone were the controllers of Pauls ministry to direct his life and discern the thoughts and intents of his heart not dimmed eyes.
---mel on 5/28/10

If it was physical, it could have been eyesight, Gal, isnt that large quantity wise.
Gal.6:11 how large a letter I have written unto you with my own hand

Markv could be right about it not being physical.

---Mel on 5/26/10 There is a book though that shows what the thorn was. It can be found as: The Secret Behind Paul's Thorn in the Flesh
It isn't specific in the Bible, so I doubt you'll find it in another book
---michael_e on 5/27/10

How could it be possible for poor eye-sight to keep Paul in measure to the Gospel? A blind man once told me that when he was a daily sinner, he had lust of the flesh. His blindness didn't do anything to keep him in measure to the Word of God. He could sin just bad as sighted people. Look at all the claims people make and ask yourself...would any of these things keep you in measure. No! There is a book though that shows what the thorn was. It can be found as: The Secret Behind Paul's Thorn in the Flesh.
---Mel on 5/26/10

Paul's Thorn in his flesh,
was his Eyesight
---Gabby on 4/26/09

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Janine, your answer about the thorn in his flesh is correct. "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me," As with Job Satan was the immediate cause, but God was the ultimate cause. This was send by God to keep Paul humble after so many revelations he would not become prideful. "a messenager of satan to buffet me, lest I be exhalted above measure." Paul's use of the word messenger (greek- angellos or angels) was a demon person, not a physical illness. The angel was a demon afflicting Paul. The best explanation for this was that this demon was indwelling the ring leader of the Corinthians conspiracy, the leader of the false apostles.
---MarkV. on 3/10/09

I believe it came as a result from being caught up to the third heaven.He experienced pure,undefiled,flawless holiness.Paul referred to himself in romans chapter 7 vs 14-24 as I,me,andmy 34 times.He saw his sinful nature and carnal mind and heart in dramatic fashion.It was inescapable! Yes he was an overcomer by the spirit within. HE said lest i should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations,there was given me a thorn in the flesh.After praying 3 times God said My Grace is sufficient for thee:for My strength is made perfect in weakness.How can any believer never know brokeness.
---Dewaine on 3/8/09

Stevenq and Mima,
We all properly say , "don't beat yourself up over it." Even though God forgives and forgets, we the weaker vessels tend to remember and beat ourselves up over the past things we have done. In Paul's buffeting, studying his epistles, he "repeatedly" mentions how he once did so much damage to the church. These epistles were written years after Paul received his forgiveness. Like all Christians, circumstances(stonings, beatings, shipwrecks) caused Paul to repeatedly remember the guilt of his past sins(stonings, beatings, barborous actions), but God kept reminding him about grace.
Mima, you are correct to think this works well as something to be applied to you uniquely. In your weakness, God is strong!
---Legends on 2/20/09

Scripture, second Corinthians 1:7," 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." Uses the word BUFFET. And because of the use of the word buffet I believe we are talking about something physica.
---mima on 2/19/09

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I appreciate that the Lord did not specify what Paul's thorn actually was. It allows me to apply the II Corinthians verse about "Grace" to myself with my trials and adversities more readily.
---Trish9863 on 2/19/09

Legends: "Gold star... Bob! Thorns are memories of past sins, mistakes, stupid things we've done in the past."

When we repent of your sins, they are no longer remembered by God. Whatever Paul's past life was is no longer remembered by God. Paul was converted. His old self was washed away and a new person was born. Do you believe that God will remember all your sins that you repented? Of course not.
---Steveng on 2/18/09

Gold star... Bob! Thorns are memories of past sins, mistakes, stupid things we've done in the past. God originally told Adam "Because you (Adam) did something stupid... your ground shall yield thorns and thistles. "Thorns" (guilty memories of past actions i/e leading Stephen's stoning, terrorizing the church). Thorns pierce. "Thistle" (a time period caught in thorns' grasps) I do not know of a better example than guilt-filled women who, years ago, had an abortion. Being "weak" in "remembering" the message of grace, experiences remind her of dreadful decision(s). Like Paul, she prays repeatedly, "take it away" from her. God repeatedly responds, My Grace is more than enough!
---Legends on 2/14/09

It doesn't say what the "thorn" is in Paul's side, but let's use scripture as its own reference: Numbers33:55, Joshua23:13, Judges2:3, Psalm118:12, Isaiah9:18, Isaiah27:4, Ezekiel 2:6, Ezekiel 28:24, Matthew13:7, Matthew13:22, none of these are considered sicknesses. The thorns are actually unsaved people who rile, persecute, and kill God's people which is Paul's dilemma. Tribulation is normal for the Christian and God's grace is sufficient. The coming tribulation upon an unloving world is what will separate the true and faithful believers from the people who just say "Lord, Lord." Although you have tribulation in the world: be of good cheer for you have overcome the world.
---Steveng on 2/13/09

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Warwick, I am in complete agreement with you here! God bless.
---JohnnyB on 2/13/09

So to sum it up Paul's 'thorn in the flesh' was epilepsy, Satan, pride, poor vision, the circumcision group,lack of speaking ability, stress etc.

Maybe Satan knew Paul was prideful, but lacked the speaking ability to tell the circumcision group, they were wrong. In fact his poor eyesight meant he couldn't even find them to tell them off and the stress gave him epilepsy?

Please excuse my poor attempt at humour but does it really matter? Isn't this just a distraction from defending the word of God and preaching the gospel?
---Warwick on 2/13/09

I was wondering if Paul's thorn in the flesh might have been His sinful memories. After all he was involved in persecuting christians big time. He put them in prison and was on his way to Damascus to find more of them to bring back to Jerusalem. He was in hearty agreement with putting Stephen to death and watch him get stoned to death. We can't be sure, but maybe he was involved in other cruel treatment of those they imprisoned. Maybe he was haunted by those memories. Paul must have encountered family members of those he persecuted from time to time. He was probably reminded from time to time during his ministry by those whose lives were affected by his actions. Just a guess.
---Bob on 2/13/09

Footwashing...I looked could not find the blog. Please forgive me, for I will stick it on here...Foot-washing was given by Jesus as an example. Christ is not instituting an ordinance of footwashing, but is showing an example of humility. He does not command us to wash others smelly feet. A lot of people are doing these kinds of things, thinking it will save them, being religious, or out of ignorance. Take your pick.
---catherine on 2/13/09

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Paul's thorn in the flesh was Satan.
---Deb on 2/12/09

Ephesians 6:18: "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints, And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Paul of course knew that Moses got a spokesperson to surpass his speech. No, the bonds are not a speech impediment.
Just noticed your post John, and I agree.
---Nana on 2/12/09

Don't you think that if Paul had wanted us to know the nature of his Thorn In The Flesh, he would have described it? God bless you.
---JohnnyB on 2/11/09

The thorn in his flesh I think , was PRIDE.
People think that he had it forever, but it does say in the end of book that God healed him of it. I think that he got puffed up, and God had to humble him for awhile, to teach him a lesson, and then he healed him evenually. Sin can always open doors to sickness and disease.
---Janine on 2/11/09

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Paul's "thorn in the flesh" might have been the neurological disorder called Epilepsy.

Epileptic seizures could be the cause of Paul's temporary blindness and his seeing things on the Road to Damascus. Of course, we don't really know. Actually, all of the traveling and difficult situations that Paul endured would be quite dangerous for a person with Epilepsy.

However, when you are serving God, he makes ALL things possible. This is why Paul claims that God answered his prayer to removed the thorn with "my strength is made perfect in weakness". And Paul comes to realize that having a physical weakness leads to being stronger for God.
---Augie on 2/11/09

My understanding of "the thorn in his flesh" is that it was them "of the circumcision". I find validity to that assertion in 2 Corinthians 11. He had called them "my flesh". Galatians 4:14: "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." Then he adds, Galatians 4: 17: "They zealously affect you, but not well, yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them." Declared, Titus 1: 10_11:"For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."
---Nana on 2/11/09

It's interesting to speculate...but not necessary to know what it really was. Most Christians have one or more problems that seemingly can't be cured or resolved. When we end up living with something that hurts like a "thorn in the flesh" it helps to realize that Paul did too. God doesn't shield us from all discomforts....for without any we might never grow.
---Donna66 on 2/11/09

Just to throw another idea out there (as if we needed another, right?): I've heard it been said that the thorn in Paul's flesh refers to his lack of ability as a public speaker. A few verses in his second epistle to the Corinthians lend support to this notion.

2Cor10:10- For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

2Cor11:6- But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge, but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
---Bobby3 on 2/10/09

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"Thou shalt not covet" Paul is saying before grace he was not able to keep the laws of God [Why Jesus came]. [Grace through conversion] Note: We do not keep the laws of God because we fear Him, but because we love Him [A law of love written on our hearts].The thorn in the flesh some believes it was a bad eyesight, and Galatians 4:13-15 seems to support this. Was not painful but was rather disgusting. Also, Satan used the blindness at Paul's conversion in this. [Some believes].
---catherine on 2/10/09

After reading all the answers so for I want to agree with---Bill_bila5659. Also I would like to put A word tag on,"*only whenever Paul was acting in ego." And that word would be-- PRIDE --
---mima on 2/10/09

I believe that Paul didn't name his thorn in the flesh, in order that we might better identify with him. Do we all not have a thorn in the flesh, something that is a constant burden, something that we constantly struggle with? These thorns in the flesh help us to see our own weakness, they keep us humble, and encourage us to look to the God and see from where our true strength comes.

2 cor 12:10 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.

Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
---trey on 2/10/09

I tend to agree with John's comment, but, I add this, what difference does it make? If we are faithful to God's commands, He will show us things that will require us to be humbled also. We can speculate all day about Paul's "thorn in the flesh" and not gain one iota of benefit from it.
---tommy3007 on 2/10/09

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People have suggested various meanings but I have often wondered if Paul's 'thorn in the flesh' was poor eyesight. Galatians 6:11 gives some support to this.
---Warwick on 2/10/09

2 Corinthians 12:7 > "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." I'd say "a messenger of Satan" would be an invisible evil spirit who could get to Paul even while no people were around, and would have various powers to bring a variety of problems to work Paul over > buffeting Paul like an expert boxer using jabs and combinations, to find his weak spots. But this could work *only whenever Paul was acting in ego*. That thorn demon could parry past Paul's defenses and pop his ego, then inject him with frustration etc.exposing how he was not obeying in God's grace.
---Bill_bila5659 on 2/9/09

Many ideas on this subject but not much proof. The thorn was a messenger of Satan and was buffeting (smitting by the hand). My guess is that it was persecution by a person or group that was bent on Paul's destruction. This would also line up with every mention of the thorn in the flesh in the Old Testament which was always persecution. This is my thought but I'll check out the other replies also.
---john on 2/9/09

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