even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.2 Corinthians 12:7
What was Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”? This is a topic of sharp debate. The word used for “thorn” [skolops] occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means anything pointed or sharp, e. g., a stake or palisade, or the point of a hook.
It’s the word is used in the Septuagint:
- to denote a thorn or prickle, as a translation of “I will hedge up thy way with thorns (Hosea 2:6)
- to denote a pricking briar in Ezek 28:24, meaning a thorn or prickle, such as is found in the shoots and twigs of the palm-tree;
- to denote “pricks in the eyes” Num 33:55.
So far as the word used here is concerned, it means a sharp thorn or prickle. The idea conveyed is that of a trial to which was as troublesome and painful as such a thorn would be in the flesh. Most commentators feel Paul is referring to some infirmity or pain in the flesh or the body. But there is huge debate over exactly what that infirmity was.
If you look at the commentaries on this phrase, there are as many opinions as there are commentaries. Furthermore no one argues convincingly as to why their opinion should be accepted above another. Many border on the ridiculous.
- Baxter figures it was a stone or gravel (in the sandal). Well, take it out Paul, duh.
- Doddridge who is usually very reliable supposes that “the view which he had of the glories of heavenly objects so affected his nerves as to produce a paralytic disorder, and particularly a stammering in his speech, and perhaps also a ridiculous distortion of the countenance.”
- Many of the Latin fathers supposed that some unruly and ungovernable lust was intended.
- Chrysostom and Jerome suppose that he meant a headache,
- Tertullian an earache.
- Rosenmuller supposes that it was the gout in the head, and that it was a regularly occurring problem. I.e in modern terms perhaps Paul suffered from migraines.
But it is all vain conjecture indicating their tendency to turn to fanciful thoughts where it is hard to determine the meaning of the text. All that can be known of this is that it was some infirmity of the flesh, some bodily affliction or calamity, that was like the continual piercing of the flesh with a thorn. It was clearly something that God used to prevent spiritual pride. It is reasonable to suppose it was something that could be seen by others, and that thus tended to humble him when with them. It is possibly the same bodily affliction as referred to in Gal 4:13-14. But whatever it was, it was certainly something personal and real.
The Only Disability That Has Yet To Be Overcome Is A Bad Attitude.Robb Thompson
If we are going to made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes.Oswald Chambers
We cannot direct the wind; but we can adjust the sails. When we can’t change the circumstances, we can change ourselves.Sidney Mohede