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Theology => General Theology => Topic started by: TwasGrace on May 19, 2003, 11:24:35 AM



Title: Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: TwasGrace on May 19, 2003, 11:24:35 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm new here and really enjoy it.  I hope some of you can enlighten me on a piece of scripture that I don't understand.
It is 2 Corinthians 12:7. Please help me to understand this particular sentence.   "...I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud..."

Thanks,
TwasGrace


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: Petro on May 19, 2003, 11:53:52 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm new here and really enjoy it.  I hope some of you can enlighten me on a piece of scripture that I don't understand.
It is 2 Corinthians 12:7. Please help me to understand this particular sentence.   "...I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud..."

Thanks,
TwasGrace


Welcome to this forum, TwasGrace,

I can help you with the first question.

The answer is found in the next few verses 8-11;

8  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.  (KJV)

This passage is speaking of the gifts given to each person whom the Holy Spirit adds to the Body of Christ.

Note verse 11, It is the Holy Spirit who gives them out, according to His will; verse 12-20, then goes on to, state that although all are individuals, comparing them to parts of the body, they are not all the same part, but as indivduals are all parts of the same body (reffering to the Body of Christ) and all have different functions, because of these gifts.

The end result and exhortation is that "all should care one for another"  vs 25.

Trusting this will help.

Blessings
Petro


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: TwasGrace on May 19, 2003, 05:28:42 PM
I understand that part...but I still don't "get" what he ment by "a thorn in my flesh...etc".


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: Tibby on May 19, 2003, 05:46:08 PM
People have wondered that for years. What was Paulís thorn? The truth is, we donít know for sure. It could be any number of things. All we know is that it is an aliment of some kind. Many believe is was a physical problem, some injury of some kind. Maybe when he was blinded on the road, God never fully healed his eyes.  Maybe when he said ďcame not with excellency of speech ď in 1 Corinthians, he was talking about some speech impediment he had. We know he was torture, maybe he has an inoperable injury from abuse. It might not be physical, but that is the most excepted theory.

Maybe he was haunted by his blood past. Maybe Alexander the coppersmith from 2 Timothy 4 is the ďthorn in his side.Ē Maybe dealing with all the problems with Church was having with the Jewish Authorities and newly formed heresies the  was the thorn.

The reason Paul didnít elaborate? Again, no one knows, but I have heard many a preacher say it was so we donít look at the to specifically. What if you have a leg injury, and this verse could help you, but Paul told us the verse was about his eyes? Then you might be inclined to pass over the verse as only for people with eye troubles.  

Over all, this verse and the following verse are a mini-Job. It is the Book of Job minus 41 chapters.


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: Symphony on May 19, 2003, 08:35:56 PM

Thanks, Tibby, and Petro. Hi, TwasGrace.

It's been said, Socrates, I believe, the ancient Greek philospher, deliberately married a difficult woman, to teach himself humility.

Paul's seems to be something along that line, albeit from God, and not something apparently that Paul did to himself, like Socrates.  But as Tibby implies, it was some physical malady.

The verse:  "And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch."

...seems to indicate that the impetuous, determined Paul might go the other extreme, from being proud of persecuting the Christians, to perhaps even persecuting now, the non-Christian.  Certainly church history is full of that unfortunate travesty!!   Especially now that he's been visited by God Himself, on the road to Damascus--a booming voice which everyone could hear, but no one could see.

Nope, better trim this guy's wick now while we can.  Unfortunately, this tendency happens to many or most of us--pride.  Paul had to learn so many lessons.  Perhaps we all do.


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: Allinall on May 20, 2003, 01:49:02 AM
Quote
I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows-- and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from being too elated by 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 being too elated. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Contextually speaking, Paul is speaking of boasting.  There are those who believe (and I with them  ;D ) that Paul is the man he speaks of in the first verses.  He states that he doesn't want to boast of such things, unless he would be more elated at the revelations he personally received, and to deal with this, God gave him the "thorn."  Why?  That God's strength might be made perfect in his weakness.  That in his difficulties, God might be praised and glorified.  Paul saw things we won't until we stand before our Savior.  And he didn't want glory for what was revealed to him - he wanted glory to be given to God.  He'd boast freely at the grace God gave him in his weakness, not the knowledge he personally had attained.  Does that help?


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: Tibby on May 20, 2003, 10:22:04 AM
But the question is, what is the thorn. We all argee that it was there to keep him from boasting, it is said in context, however, the question he asked, that we keep skipping over, is this: WHAT WAS THE THORN!?

We are looking to deeping into the verse, my friends. We are over analizing things. It is a simple question, one that doesn't require deep thought, just a little basic research.


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: John the Baptist on May 20, 2003, 11:55:23 AM
Hi John here: (a 'spiritual' friend of Pauls! ;))

Saul was blinded by Christs GLORY. See Acts 9:3-8. Although he received his sight after following orders, ( :)) he still needed some 'continual' reminder of his need
for dependance on the Master! (like Jacob thigh-See Gen. 32:25)

But let me ask you one, why did the Master not heal Saul (Paul) Himself?? ;)!
 
So Paul was 'humbled' continually. Check Gal. 4:13-15 with the our 'sight' of 'spiritual things are spiritually decerned, huh?
---John
******
But the question is, what is the thorn. We all argee that it was there to keep him from boasting, it is said in context, however, the question he asked, that we keep skipping over, is this: WHAT WAS THE THORN!?

We are looking to deeping into the verse, my friends. We are over analizing things. It is a simple question, one that doesn't require deep thought, just a little basic research.


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: Symphony on May 23, 2003, 05:25:50 PM

Thanks John.  Tibby, maybe it's just Paul's eyesight?  I think that's the majority opinion.

But....does it REALLY matter, I mean, for our walk in faith.  JUst that he had one, and that it wasn't removed, is meaningful in itself?


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: pnotc on May 23, 2003, 08:16:23 PM

Many scholars over the years have put forth the eyesight thing.  One interesting support of this that I've seen is Galatians 6:11 "See what large letters I have written to you in my own hand..."  Some have taken this to imply that Paul dictated his letters and did not write them due to his poor eyesight.  I've heard others speculate that he had migraines.

The funniest suggestion I've heard was put forth by Episcopal Bishop John Spong, who suggested that Paul's thorn was repressed homosexuality!  I got a kick out of that one when I first read it.  


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: GarColga on May 23, 2003, 08:56:05 PM
I've read that book, "Rescuing The Bible from Fundamentalism". Honestly, I though Spong put forth a halfway decent case, but anything to do with Paul is probably pure speculation, as almost all mainstream scholars have major problems with the integrity of Paul's 'corpus', thinking that he likely didn't write all that much of what is attributed to him.


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: John the Baptist on May 23, 2003, 09:26:13 PM

(removed for context)

John here: You surely do not mean that you think that this 'jerks' remark about Christ's servant was funny?
If the person really did say such a thing, even in suggestion? would doubt his creditability! :'(

And about Paul not being married? Just between me & the viewer's here, we know that Saul was trained at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3 & Acts 5:34) a Dr. of the top Israelia brass. We think that it was only those that were married that could be in membership? If this is all certain, (again question)
then Saul (Paul) was married.

And if that was so, what happened to Mrs. Saul?? Let me just suggest, that he was married. And we know of 'devoted' Saul from Acts 7:58 - Acts 8:3. Anyway he had great potential in the camp of Israel it seemed.

He also had a wife that loved to have it so, perhaps? (again an unprovable question) But, we see that Saul became Paul after his total SURRENDER in Acts 9:4-6! It appears the he had been putting up quite a 'kicking' against the Holy Ghost in the first few verses. He had surely HEARD Steven's testimony of Christ in the court cases with his colleague's! (remember that Saul DID HAVE THE TRUE VIRGIN SEED SOWN)  

Anyhow, perhaps if Saul was married, It was more than she could handle to accept Christ, & give up the prestige that she must of had? Read John 12:42-43 for some real believers that could not give this prestige thing up for Christ either! And so it is with todays professed! Rev. 18:4 :'(

Just some of my thoughts?

---John
******

The funniest suggestion I've heard was put forth by Episcopal Bishop John Spong, who suggested that Paul's thorn was repressed homosexuality!  I got a kick out of that one when I first read it.  


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: geralduk on May 24, 2003, 02:17:45 PM
Sometimes  it is good to just chew on a matter,that we dont understand.
A cow takes grass and chews on it and swallows it .But it is not yet digested all the goodnes sout of it.So iut briongs it up again and chews soem more and does it 3 times.
I have found that if I dont understand soemthing.Believeing it yet in not understanding I hold it and put it on the shelf as it were and bring it down and meditate on it some more  for as long as it takes and have always found great blessing in doing so when I finaly understand it.
The scriptures should be allowed to explain themsleves and the "thorn in the flesh" is a perculier saying  but can be found in the old testament relating to a certain peple.
Pauls "thorn in the flesh" was the "curcumcision party"
wh were a  continual trouble to the church and to the work and ministery of the gospel   then as it is now.For you will still find the same party doing what it did then even in these forums and others.


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: teddybear on May 24, 2003, 02:32:28 PM
2 Cor.12;7,-Paul's thorn in the flesh is characterized futher as a messenger of Satan.Just what Paul means by this is not clear.Among the views suggested are (1) temptations from the Devil, (2) Paul's opposition from his adversaries,(3) some intense bodily pain,(4) a recurring physical affliction such as eye trouble,or (5) even some form of mental or psychological distress.
Whatever the case,it was a tool of Satan,it was painful (thorn),and it was accompainied by shame or embarrassment to the apostle. A fairly strong argument can be sustained in favor of the view that it was eye trouble (ophthalmia).

I hope this answers your question.
God Bless.


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: pnotc on May 24, 2003, 05:26:14 PM
John-

Oh, I thought it was hilarious!  You have to understand, I was reading "Why Christianity Must Change or Die" for a class, and writing a 20 page reaction paper to it.  It was kind of like a thesis.  I spent several weeks pouring over that shoddy piece of speculative "scholarship" and had found so much of what he had to say completely ridiculous.  The man relies on sources which have been discounted for decades, and then adds his own shaky ideas to the mix, to come up with a completely worthless set of arguments.  So when I read that he thought Paul was a repressed homosexual, it was the straw that broke the camel's back and I did think it was immensely funny, only because it was so ridiculous.  

And yes, the argument he put forth was fairly well put together, but relied too much on pop psychology and shoddy linguistics to be of much use.  


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: John the Baptist on May 24, 2003, 05:53:02 PM
John-

Oh, I thought it was hilarious!  You have to understand, I was reading "Why Christianity Must Change or Die" for a class, and writing a 20 page reaction paper to it.  It was kind of like a thesis.  I spent several weeks pouring over that shoddy piece of speculative "scholarship" and had found so much of what he had to say completely ridiculous.  The man relies on sources which have been discounted for decades, and then adds his own shaky ideas to the mix, to come up with a completely worthless set of arguments.  So when I read that he thought Paul was a repressed homosexual, it was the straw that broke the camel's back and I did think it was immensely funny, only because it was so ridiculous.  

And yes, the argument he put forth was fairly well put together, but relied too much on pop psychology and shoddy linguistics to be
************
John here:
I will break into the sentence with  a correction of 'much use' to NO USE.
Sounds like the study of today is a waste of time? You young folk have it tough enough without 'spending several weeks of going over this piece of shoddy scholarship'!

Imagine of Eve telling Christ that she went to the forbidden tree in the garden to  research the ex/covering cherub that was at one time over Gods Ark in the throne room in heaven to see if she might learn some things? Or that she was just inquisitive?

Surely, time is short! See 2 Tim. 3:1-*5.
---John
******
 
 of much use.  


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: TwasGrace on May 24, 2003, 07:09:45 PM
Thanks everyone.  I wasn't sure if I was missing a scripture somewhere that possibly revealed the "thorn".  I understand that it teaches us a mighty lesson in humbling ourselves to our Lord.  Here's the main reason I asked:  I have a family member that believes in Jesus and has given his life to Him...baptized...goes to church regularly.. and is involved in the church in many ways... But, he also (occasionally..every year or so) will struggle with his old addictions.  Drinking and uppers.  When opproached about it, he brings up Paul's "thorn".  I think he uses it as an excuse.  He returns to Jesus for help every time and overcomes the problem...but only to have it creep back again in a year or so.  It is very embarrasing and shamful for him, and I feel that sometimes the guilt he feels over it keeps him from repenting and trusting in God sooner than he does. Any comments would be appreciated!

By His Grace Alone~


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: Shiro on May 26, 2003, 07:11:14 AM
Another thorn in Paul's side was his blindness, due to the light of Jesus christ as He asked why Paul was persecuting Him. That lasted a long time, and Paul even credited some people's kindness by saying that they would be willing to give him their eyes, were it possible.


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: John the Baptist on May 26, 2003, 08:25:20 AM
Thanks everyone.  I wasn't sure if I was missing a scripture somewhere that possibly revealed the "thorn".  I understand that it teaches us a mighty lesson in humbling ourselves to our Lord.  Here's the main reason I asked:  I have a family member that believes in Jesus and has given his life to Him...baptized...goes to church regularly.. and is involved in the church in many ways... But, he also (occasionally..every year or so) will struggle with his old addictions.  Drinking and uppers.  When opproached about it, he brings up Paul's "thorn".  I think he uses it as an excuse.  He returns to Jesus for help every time and overcomes the problem...but only to have it creep back again in a year or so.  It is very embarrasing and shamful for him, and I feel that sometimes the guilt he feels over it keeps him from repenting and trusting in God sooner than he does. Any comments would be appreciated!
*********
John here:
Phil. 4:13 & 2 Cor. 12:9 tells me that going back into [open sin] again is not Christ's plan for us! (Heb. 6:6) We have been 'rescued' [IF] we have been Born Agan?? (1 Cor. 6:11 for past/tense)

If one goes back to the slim pit, perhaps he should re/read Saul's TOTAL submission experience of asking the Master.. WHAT WILT THOU HAVE ME TO DO? Salvation IS a two party agreement, ALL PROVISION HAS BEEN MADE BY CHRIST FOR OUR STEADFASTNESS! But--- it 'still' is our decision to use HIS PROVISION!! See 1 Cor. 10:13.

That is why we see the OPENLY BREAKING of the Ten Commandments having such an evil effect today. They SURELY are being taught that one is UNDER GRACE to do so, so, don't worry, huh? James 2:8-12 for the real Truth!

We can 'ALL' still do as we WILL! Think of the desire to be that of another sin, instead of addictions?? Use murder as the thought, do you think that he might think that, that sin was just an overpowering addiction? Yet, [we] have NO IDEA of our little KNOWN sin amounting to much, such as the weekly violating of the Lord's True Sabbath day by keeping a man made tradition. Mark 7:7.

Now, I realize that we are told that there is a sin that easily besets us, yet, I do not believe that the reproach of open sin of Heb. 6:6 is one of these. I think that they are the Psalms 19:13 ones of non/presumption. We will never know how close David came to his END? Or Saul for that matter? See Gen. 4:7 for the one who did MATURELY do so! Can you see James 1:15 in both start to finish?

The poor chap that you are telling us about, is most likely Baptist in teaching, with their false Doctrine of once saved always saved, and ONLY BELIEVE? But if that was truth, what difference does it make?  
Matt. 28:20 was never believed or taught to mean much, huh? :'( :'(

If a person could just grasp what Saul (Paul) was COMMANDED by Christ to do??? Christ did not SPEAK the Word, 'RISE, RECEIVE THY SIGHT'! He sent him to the VERY ones that he had been killing! And he was to join THESE ONES in Baptism & MEMBERSHIP, PLUS to have his sight restored. why?

The ONLY WAY TO BE BORN AGAIN IS FOR 'TOTAL' SPIRITUAL SUICIDE! LORD, WHAT WILL YOU HAVE ME [TO DO]??? Acts 5:32

And, yes, I know that most 'only believe', and are miserable in their profession, like your friend! But that is NOT Everlasting Gospel & Everlasting Covenant doctrine!

---John

By His Grace Alone~


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: TwasGrace on May 26, 2003, 09:23:33 AM
Thanks for your reply John.  He was raised Baptist.  I hope I can get through to him with God's help.

In His Love,
TwasGrace


Title: Re:Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: Symphony on May 26, 2003, 08:02:56 PM

Hi TwasGrace.  Seems ultimately, he's the one who has to let it go.  I wonder if prodding him about it though will help.

Sometimes you can set circumstances up to help them "see"--and of course with prayer for that person, too!!

Sometimes other people such as you mention are put there for our learning as much as for their own.  Maybe your friend there is YOUR thorn!!  

(hehe)



Title: Re: Please Explain..to: Symphony
Post by: TwasGrace on June 01, 2003, 01:43:12 PM

Hi TwasGrace.  Seems ultimately, he's the one who has to let it go.  I wonder if prodding him about it though will help.

Sometimes you can set circumstances up to help them "see"--and of course with prayer for that person, too!!

Sometimes other people such as you mention are put there for our learning as much as for their own.  Maybe your friend there is YOUR thorn!!  

(hehe)



Of course I agree that ultimately, by God's Grace, he's the one that has to "let it go".  I was only questioning whether using the "Thorn" as an excuse was "appropriate" so to speak.  Also, by NO means, do I "prod" my family member.  He seeks prayer and guidance from us, and we continue to do so. Lest we forget that we ALL fall short of the Glory of God. I'm thankful he shares his burden, as we all should do.  I have seen God Almighty Himself put circumstances in his path to help him "see", but my family member will come to know in God's time...noone else's. He is certainly not my "thorn"...he is my brother in Christ that I will continue to edify as the Bible commands us to do with one another.  Which is to be done in a gentle, kind, and loving way.  Something that is shown here...most of the time. (ha ha).


Title: Re: Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: doc on July 08, 2006, 10:38:51 PM
Hey TwasGrace,

Hope you still look back here for input.

A fellow on another thread said he felt like Job and my take on Paul's thorn was part of my answer,  The Greek sheds some light on the extent of Paul's problem.  Check out:  http://forums.christiansunite.com/index.php?topic=12146.0  (reply #4)

Now to some followup.

I too have surmised what Paul's thorn was, but Scripture in silent here for a reason.  The real issue is not what it is, but why did he get it !!  God was dealing with a very common problem Paul shared with most Christians - PRIDE.  I agree with the commentary below and deal with my own pride daily.  I don't want any more thorns in my life, thank you God - you made your point.

[And lest I should be exalted]  " Lest I should be spiritually proud; lest I should become self-confident and vain, and suppose that I was a special favorite of Heaven. If Paul was in danger of spiritual pride, who is not? If it was necessary for God to adopt some special measures to keep him humble, we are not to be surprised that the same thing should occur in other cases. There is abundant reason to believe that Paul was naturally a proud man. He was by nature self-confident; trusting in his own talents and attainments, and eminently ambitious. When he became a Christian, therefore, one of his besetting sins would be pride; and as he had been especially favored in his call to the apostleship; in his success as a preacher; in the standing which he had among the other apostles, and in the revelations imparted to him, there was also special danger that he would become self-confident and proud of his attainments.

There is no danger that more constantly besets Christians, and even eminent Christians, than pride. There is no sin that is more subtile, insinuating, deceptive; none that lurks more constantly around the heart and that finds a more ready entrance, than pride. He who has been characterized by pride before his conversion will be in special danger of it afterward; he who has eminent gifts in prayer, or in conversation, or in preaching, will be in special danger of it; he who is eminently successful will be in danger of it; and he who has any extraordinary spiritual comforts will be in danger of it. Of this sin he who lives nearest to God may be in most special danger; and he who is most eminent in piety should feel that he also occupies a position where the enemy will approach him in a sly and subtile manner, and where he is in special danger of a fall. Possibly the fear that he might be in danger of being made proud by the flattery of his friends may have been one reason why Paul kept this thing concealed for 14 years; and if people wish to keep themselves from the danger of this sin, they should not be forward to speak even of the most favored moments of their communion with God."   (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Pride is idolatry, TwasGrace, and you know what happens to idolaters.

Your friend needs to learn his lesson if the thorn really is from God and not use it as an excuse if it isn't.  Self inflicted habits rarely resemble thorns.  Tell him to grow up !!

doc


Title: Re: Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: linssue55 on July 11, 2006, 10:36:49 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm new here and really enjoy it.  I hope some of you can enlighten me on a piece of scripture that I don't understand.
It is 2 Corinthians 12:7. Please help me to understand this particular sentence.   "...I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud..."

Thanks,
TwasGrace

Hope this helps.  The thorn in the Flesh.

7~~Therefore, for the purpose that
I should be not arrogant
by means of the abundance of the revelations,
there was given to me
- for my benefit -
a thorn in the flesh . . .
an angel from the source of Satan . . .
that he might keep on 'punching' me . . .
that I might not be arrogant.

{Note: Paul knew more doctrine then anyone else and it could become a source of arrogance for him. Satan was permitted by God to have a fallen angel keep Paul in pain.}


Title: Re: Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: Soldier4Christ on July 11, 2006, 11:05:18 AM
God does have His ways of keeping us humble, reminding us that without Him we are nothing and can do nothing.



Title: Re: Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: Shammu on July 11, 2006, 04:58:41 PM
God does have His ways of keeping us humble, reminding us that without Him we are nothing and can do nothing.


AMEN


Title: Re: Please explain 2Cor 12:7
Post by: airIam2worship on July 11, 2006, 05:33:59 PM
And another Amen.