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Old 07-30-2012, 12:16 PM
 
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One subject came to my mind yesterday. It was the "thorn in the flesh." In one of his letters, Paul talks about receiving a "thorn in the flesh" in order to keep from getting too proud due to the abundance of the revelations that he has received. He described it as a messenger of Satan, sent to "buffet and harass."

Paul petitioned the Lord 3 times and the Lord and the Lord said, "My Grace is sufficient." The Lord's strength is made complete in a man's weaknesses.

I remember that verse and I think about how I often feel weak, harassed, sick, etc. I have also prayed for a break. Sometimes I get a "break", but I must remember that "God's grace is sufficient.

I can't say for sure whether everyone has this "thorn in the flesh", but I can say that it is common for believers to have something that holds them back and "keeps them in their place" so to speak. If you have a "thorn in the flesh", then don't be discouraged. You have been given this thorn in order to learn to rely completely on the Lord.

I have to remind myself this all the time.
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:46 PM
 
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You know I think the "thorn in the flesh" is good for the individual spiritually. I have a feeling those that the world looks down upon as "inferior" because they have a particular defect are stronger spiritually. Those that are beautiful and rich are probably the worse off spiritually as they are clinging to the deception of this age letting it get to their heads. So one could very well be favored upon by God with these defects.

From my studies, one of the most dangerous sin of mankind is Pride. Pride keeps us from the truth of Salvation through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 5:5
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

I have a "thorn in the flesh" so to speak, and it very much humbles me as I realize I am imperfect and mortal and should be looking toward the eternal.
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Old 07-30-2012, 03:29 PM
 
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In Romans 7: 7 Apostle Paul said ``I had not known lust , except from the law. `you will not covet `...then in verse 21-24..Paul said ``I find then a law, that when I would be good , evil is present with me .... For I delight in the law of God , after the inward man .... But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind , and bringing me into captivity of the law of sin which is in my members....O wretched men that I am! who will deliver me from the body of this death?.......... See Apostle Paul struggled with the adversary spirit as the scripture from 2 Corinthians 12 were Apostle Paul said the gifts of Holy Spirit is the excuse that the adversary spirit was bothering Him...
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Quote:
II Corinthians 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
The first thing to notice is that nowhere in the entire section does it mention sickness as being the "thorn in the flesh."

However, the seventh verse states that this thorn in the flesh was a messenger of satan.

So we know that God did not send it, because had God sent it the verse would read, "a thorn in the flesh the messenger of God to buffet me." But it says, "... a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan ...."



Let us look at the word "messenger." Angelos is translated "angel" or "messenger" in the English. The word angelos is used 188 limes in the Bible: 181 times it is translated "angel"; 7 times it is translated "messenger." II Corinthians 12:7 is one of the seven times the word angelos is translated "messenger." The six other times where the word angelos is translated "messenger" it always refers to an individual or individuals. Why not here?

Let us go a step further: the key to the true interpretation of the Word of God is always in The Word itself.

The Word of God interprets itself where written or within the context or it has been used elsewhere at some earlier time.

Since the words "thorn in the flesh" in II Corinthians 12:7 are not explained in the verse itself or in the context, it must have been used previously in the Bible if the Word of God be true.



In Numbers 33 we note that God instructed Moses to speak to the children of Israel and to inform them regarding the inhabitants of the land into which the children of Israel were about to enter, that they must by all means refrain from fraternizing with the inhabitants. If not, the consequences are told.

Quote:
Numbers 33:55 ... then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides
The people, the inhabitants, would be pricks in eyes of the children of Israel and thorns in their sides. So the "thorn in the flesh" is in this passage definitely and distinctly people. "Thorn in the flesh" then is not a literal fact; but a figurative truth. It is similar to our current statement about a man who would give "the shirt off of his back." We do not mean that he would literally take his shirt off and give it away; we mean it to indicate figuratively that such a man is very good-hearted and generous. Likewise, "the thorn in the flesh," is a figure of speech [Hypocatastasis - Resemblance by implication. One noun is named, the other implied. It is the superlative degree of resemblance.] referring to how people hinder or obstruct.



Again in Joshua is another record about "thorns."

Quote:
Joshua 23:13 Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes ....
If you had a thorn in your eye, would you have it in your flesh? Again this is a figure of speech clearly indicating people.



Quote:
Judges 2:3 ... I will not drive them out [referring to inhabitants of the land] from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides
Again, it is people who are referred to as thorns.



So from Numbers 33:55, we can see that 'pricks and thorns' are people against G-d's People.

In Joshua 23:13 it is 'snares, traps, scourges and thorns' and they are all people.

In Judges 2:3 again we see 'thorns in your side' are people.

Clearly in G-d's Vocabulary all of these phrases are people working to deter the men of G-d.



Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was the fighting and opposition to his ministry by people. They were men trying to inflict the law of circumcision upon the Gentile converts and believers. These people were "messengers of Satan" buffeting the ministry of Paul.

II Corinthians 11:24 says,
Quote:
"... five times received I [Paul] forty stripes save one."
They whipped him five times, forty stripes save one. Forty stripes less one which would mean thirty-nine lashes five times. Do you think the Apostle Paul was human? Did he have feelings? Did he love to have people love him like you do? Like I do? Surely he did.

What do you think his back looked like after they beat him five different times 39 lashes each time? It says forty save one. Do you know why? Because the law was that forty was the maximum number that you could beat a man. If you were going to give him a beating forty stripes was the limit. So if you miscounted and you gave them forty-one then you had to succumb to a beating and therefore those Jews were smart then already. They allowed themselves one for error so they gave him only thirty-nine lashes with a whip. That's why it says forty save one.

Five times they beat him. Who beats people? People.

Five times they whipped him. Thirty-nine lashes each time. I imagine about that time you would have been praying too, wouldn't you? "Lord take this thorn out of my flesh. Remove these thorns."



Quote:
II Corinthians 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods,...
Do you know the difference between the beatings of verse 24 and the three times when he was beaten with rods? In verse 24 it was like a black snake. Five times they gave him thirty-nine lashes with a whip. Three times they beat him with rods. Black snakes that had pieces of metal or bone at the end of the thongs about this long. Pieces of metal or bone.

Look at that Apostle Paul, five times they whipped him, three times they beat him with metal in the end of the thongs. I'll bet you his back couldn't have won a beauty contest. Who beats people? People. And yet he kept right on going on declaring the greatness of God's Word.



Quote:
II Corinthians 11:25 ...once was I stoned ...
Who stones people? People.



Quote:
II Corinthians 11:26-28 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
Isn't that something. Who was behind all this? The devil, inspires people, possesses people and says, "you ought to obstruct Paul, you ought to buffet him off, you ought to polish him off, get rid of him," because he's doing too much for the true God. So satan inspires good sincere religious people to do nothing but act as messengers of satan to obstruct Paul. No wonder II Corinthians 12 says in verse 8:

Quote:
II Corinthians 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
He asked God to get rid of it. But he prayed and you know the answer of the Lord was "he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in your humility. As long as you keep your eyes upon me, Paul, I'll take care of the rest. For my strength is made perfect in you in your inability to handle the situation."



With all this data from the Word of God, how can anyone say or contend that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was sickness?

Paul was not sick, He was just sick and tired of the people who were opposing and fighting his ministry, hindering him from doing as much as he would like to do.

These "false brethren" were his "thorn in the flesh" and three times he prayed for their removal but the Lord said to him, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness...."

A man's true color is quickly seen when he is confronted by his foes. The enemies bring out the true character in a man. So it was with Paul. He did not dare rely upon his own strength, he had to rely upon God's abundant supply. weak man with God on his side is strong, but a strong man without God is weak.

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Old 08-01-2012, 01:55 PM
 
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Thank you, that was a great post with lots of good examples.

But if you read my post, I never said that Paul's thorn in the flesh was sickness, I don't think anyone here said Paul's thorn in the flesh was sickness.

Make sure you read before you decide to be condescending.


OP One subject came to my mind yesterday. It was the "thorn in the flesh." In one of his letters, Paul talks about receiving a "thorn in the flesh" in order to keep from getting too proud due to the abundance of the revelations that he has received. He described it as a messenger of Satan, sent to "buffet and harass."

Paul petitioned the Lord 3 times and the Lord and the Lord said, "My Grace is sufficient." The Lord's strength is made complete in a man's weaknesses.

I remember that verse and I think about how I often feel weak, harassed, sick, etc. I have also prayed for a break. Sometimes I get a "break", but I must remember that "God's grace is sufficient.

I can't say for sure whether everyone has this "thorn in the flesh", but I can say that it is common for believers to have something that holds them back and "keeps them in their place" so to speak. If you have a "thorn in the flesh", then don't be discouraged. You have been given this thorn in order to learn to rely completely on the Lord.

I have to remind myself this all the time.


Where did I say that Paul's thorn in the flesh was sickness?
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,719 posts, read 47,472,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJenkins602 View Post
Thank you, that was a great post with lots of good examples.

But if you read my post, I never said that Paul's thorn in the flesh was sickness, I don't think anyone here said Paul's thorn in the flesh was sickness.

Make sure you read before you decide to be condescending.
I apologize. You are right, I was in error.

My bad.

I grew up in a church where 'thorn in the flesh' is used to speak of diseases and human weakness.

My parents do this all of the time.

It was shown to me long ago that in the Bible 'thorns' are always people, but my relatives still call their issues [cancer, arthritis, porn-addiction, etc] as 'thorns' and it upsets me.

Forgive me.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,770 posts, read 1,956,185 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post

However, the seventh verse states that this thorn in the flesh was a messenger of satan.


Lots of 'satanic thorns' right here on this forum.

Btw... the term, satan, means, adversary, that is all it means.

Jesus once called Peter, "satan."


.
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Texas
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A lot of old timers believe Paul's thorn was bad eye sight.

Gal 4:12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am ; for I am as ye are : ye have not injured me at all.
13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
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.
15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Florida -
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We don't really know what Paul's 'thorn in the flesh' was (sickness, eye ailment ... or perhaps a persistent sin that Paul could not rid himself of). In any case, I agree with the poster who suggested that having a 'thorn in the flesh' may not be entirely a bad thing. In some respects, a 'thorn' may be like persecution, to keep us humble and aware of our dependence on God, instead of our own flesh. In Paul's case, the Lord examined the thorn and decided to leave it in place ... for Paul's good!

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
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