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Author Topic: Please explain 2Cor 12:7  (Read 4330 times)
TwasGrace
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« 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
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Petro
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« Reply #1 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
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TwasGrace
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« Reply #2 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".
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Tibby
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« Reply #3 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.
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Symphony
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« Reply #4 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.
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« Reply #5 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  Grin ) 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?
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Tibby
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« Reply #6 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.
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John the Baptist
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2003, 11:55:23 AM »

Hi John here: (a 'spiritual' friend of Pauls! Wink)

Saul was blinded by Christs GLORY. See Acts 9:3-8. Although he received his sight after following orders, ( Smiley) 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?? Wink!
 
So Paul was 'humbled' continually. Check Gal. 4:13-15 with the our 'sight' of 'spiritual things are spiritually decerned, huh?
---John
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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.
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Symphony
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« Reply #8 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?
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pnotc
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« Reply #9 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.  
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GarColga
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« Reply #10 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.
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John the Baptist
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« Reply #11 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! Cry

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 Cry

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.  
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geralduk
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« Reply #12 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.
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teddybear
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« Reply #13 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.
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pnotc
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« Reply #14 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.  
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