Monday, June 30, 2008

#255: Paul's Thorn in the Flesh

Webster’s definition of the word “thorn”: 3) anything that keeps troubling, vexing, irritating one, like a constantly pricking thorn: usually in the phrase “thorn in one’s side” (or flesh). As to what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was—as described in 2nd Corinthians 12:7—other than a gnawing discomfort, it has been a puzzle for most who desire to have a clear-cut answer. And yet, there seemed to be no concise answer. Nevertheless, there are many pieces to that puzzle, and when those pieces are all coalesced, an answer seems to emerge. This subject may not interest many, but others would like a creditable answer to this intriguing question that has been no more than a poor case of mere speculation.

In this post, I will let the New Testament speak for itself. I will use over a dozen New Testament verses that are interconnected.

Paul was an extremely zealous Pharisee, a strict observer of the Mosaic Law, as were other Pharisees. His name was changed from Saul to Paul after he became a believer in Jesus Christ—a new life, a new name.

Before Paul’s conversion, as he was on the road to Damascus—Acts, 9th Chapter—he was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. In fact, he was going to Damascus to get permission from the high priest to imprison all who belonged to the Way (an early group of Jewish Christians). When Paul was nearing Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. The light was so brilliant that it blinded him, and he had to be led by the hand. Jesus spoke to him about what he must do to promote the cause of Jesus Christ. In short, that was the beginning of his conversion to Christianity. While in Damascus, a man named Ananias was commanded by a holy vision to place his hands on Paul’s eyes to restore his sight. Ananias replied, “This is the man that has done much harm to your saints.” Nevertheless, he placed his hands on Paul; then Paul could see again, but apparently his vision was still impaired to some degree.

Some believe it was Paul’s poor eyesight that was his thorn. There are three verses that imply that Paul’s eyesight was not the best.

Galatians 6:10. “You see what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand.”

Romans 16:22. “I, Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.” (He wrote the letter of Romans for Paul). Most likely, it was difficult for Paul to write.

Galatians 4:15. “I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.” Again, this implies that Paul’s eyes were impaired. Therefore, it is understandable why some believe it was Paul’s eyesight that was his thorn.

Another wild guess was that it was Paul’s wife that was his thorn, since he was away from home much of the time. Only thing, nowhere in Scripture does it give even a hint of Paul being married. This guess doesn’t pass “the smell test,” to say the least.

There is another train of thought that has been floating around—mostly by men—t, that turns my stomach. It is that Paul had a weakness when it came to sensual desires. This belief is farther from the truth than heaven is from hell. I am certain those who believe this way are the very ones who need an excuse to somehow justify their weakness when it comes to moral conduct. I will unequivocally refute that belief by bringing up two sections of Scripture.

First: 1st Corinthians, Chapter 7. In this chapter, he is giving instructions on how men and women must conduct themselves in marriage and its implications. Then he talks about how it would be better if they stay single, but if they can’t control themselves, to marry. Then, in verse 6, this is what he says: “I wish that all men were as I am.” The implication here is that he is single and has no need or desire for women or marriage. Never once in any of his letters to the churches is it even implied that he is a womanizer or that he is married.

Second: In Romans, 7th Chapter, are several of the most misunderstood verses in the complete New Testament; and that heresy has done more damage to Christianity than any other false teaching. I have been so upset about how this section of Scripture has been so perverted, that I wrote a complete post on this very section: # 130: “The Knack of Making Sin Acceptable.”

If one is not familiar with the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament, much of post #130 will sound like Greek. Not to confuse anyone, it might be best for some to skip this complex and extremely long post until better and more complete knowledge of what the Bible is about has been acquired.

I will summarize that complete post in a few concise sentences. In the Old Testament, some of the great prophets of God often use the personal pronouns “I,” “me,” or “my” to denote the nation of Israel, especially when Israel went astray from God’s commands. In that post, I quoted many of those Old Testament verses. That is exactly what Paul did; he spoke the same as Old Testament prophets, using the singular pronouns “I,” “me,” or “my” to refer to Israel. When people (Gentiles) who were/are not familiar/aware of that type of writing, they think Paul is writing about himself. Repeating: When Paul says “I,” “me,” or “my,” he, without a doubt, meant the nation of Israel. He starts in Romans, Chapter 7, verse 18 and ends in verse 20. Please read it for yourself. I will only quote verses 18-19. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.”

In conclusion to the three dubious theories of Paul’s thorn in the side, I now will display what, most certainly, is his thorn. First, I want everyone to imagine they did something that was very bad, and possibly, out of character; it was a very shameful and horrid act in your past life, something that adversely affected the lives of others in a very harmful way. You might have acted in innocence or you might have actually been malicious. Either way, you were completely forgiven. And even though you were forgiven, the memory and realistic images of the people you hurt or killed—like in an auto accident—are still constantly on your mind. You just can’t forgive yourself. This thought pattern torments you night and day. You just can’t get free of it.

Now, attempt to put yourself in the place of the Apostle Paul as a zealous Pharisee, before he was converted to Christianity. At this time, without his knowledge, Paul was doing Satan’s work in the name of Jehovah. This goes to show that religious people can unintentionally be on the evil one’s side. He sanctioned the execution of Stephen, one of God’s great holy men. He persecuted and put many who believed in Jesus Christ in jail, and had others put to death (Acts 22:4).

Let me quote a dozen or so verses, showing that after he became a Christian himself, the images of those He persecuted just wouldn’t go away; he just couldn’t get the hatred he had and all the harm he had done to the people he now loved out of his sight or off his mind. The reason this is evident is by the many times he brought up these painful incidents in his many letters to the churches. Those persecuted people are the very ones he lovingly dealt with after Jesus Christ made him the lead apostle in the difficult task of converting the Gentiles to Christianity.

Here are the verses that imply his past sins against Christ’s church continually haunted him, and this remorse is his thorn in the flesh. See if you don’t agree. The following is paraphrased from 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10. The reason Christ gave Paul this thorn—although Paul called it “a messenger of Satan”—is so he would not become conceited because of all the great work Christ was doing through him, and his surpassing great revelations from God. When Paul asked the Lord three times to take it away, the Lord said to him, “My GRACE is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” There is the clue: the word “grace.” Grace has to do mainly, if not exclusively, with forgiveness of past sins (being made acceptable and perfect in God’s sight). That tormenting guilt is exactly what he needed to keep him humble. That phrase “My grace is sufficient for you” implies that Paul’s feeling of remorse will/can never separate him from the love and need—yes, need—God has for him.

1 Timothy 1:15. “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” Meaning: No one persecuted the early Christians more than him. He is still the chief of sinners; nevertheless, a forgiven chief of sinners.

Philippians 3:6. “. . . as for zeal, persecuted the church.”

Acts 22:4. “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their DEATH, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison.”

1st Corinthians 15:9. “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

Acts 22:19-20. “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these men know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarded the clothes of those who were killing him.’”

Acts 8:3. “But Paul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.”

Galatians 1:13. “For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.”

1 Timothy 1:13. “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.”

Acts 9:1. “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogue in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”

That murderer, devoted to God’s law, who persecuted the Jews that he felt were violating what the old Testament Scripture commanded, was turned by Christ into a man, who in Romans 13:9-10, said this: “. . . Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” And He also said this in Romans 12:20: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink . . .”

You decide for yourself if the above verses are a legitimate reason for Paul’s thorn in the flesh (the vivid memories of past crimes against Jesus Christ). Leave me a comment.

I end with this conclusion: The crux of Paul’s thorn is twofold, showing us that no matter how bad or violent one’s past is/was, God’s grace and mercy can erase it all, although the memory may still haunt the individual. God’s grace and mercy are like getting a cheap piece of metal (lead) and turning it—“clash, bam, allacazam”—into a beautiful, shiny piece of valuable gold.

Also, when God blesses a person to do great work for Him, a thorn of some sort may be the best remedy to keep a person humble and void of conceit.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

THIS MAY SOUND GREEK, BUT JESUS, AFTER THE FALL OF NIMROD AND (HIS)PEOPLE WE SEE THE IDEAL OF GOVER-MENT AND EMPIRE BUILDING IN ROME, AND ITS RULERS,THE CEASARS.THEN JESUS CHRIST APPEARS,HE EXPOSED SATAN AND CAUSED HIM TREMENDOUS TROUBLE, BY PROPHSYESYING ABOUT THE END OF THIER WORLD -(THEN ROME,AND LATER THE GOVERMENT OF AMERICA). NOW SAUL,WHO WAS A GREEK JEW AND A ROMAN SOLDIER,WAS GIVEN A SPECIAL COMMISSION TO ROUND UP THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS AND GET (RID) OF THEM. SAUL FED THEM TO THE LIONS,CRUCIFIED THEM,UNTIL NO MATTER HOW MANY HE KILLED, THE MORE THIER SEEMED TO BE,THEY WERE NOT CALLED CHRISTIANS AT THAT TIME,THE SIGN THEY USED TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES WAS A FISH;A SIGN OF LIFE.SO SAUL CAME UP WITH A PLAN TO TAKE OVER THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS,AND BECOME THE CHAMPION AND CHIEF INTERPRETATOR. THIS WOULD CONTROL THE PEOPLE IN THIER BELIEFS AND FAITH AND NOT THIER BODYS. JESUS FORESAW THIS TRICK AND EXPLAINED IT TO HIS DISIPLES IN THE PARABLES OF "THE WOLF IN SHEEP'S COLTHING" AND "THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND" ALSO HE DECIEVED THE WHOLE WORLD,COME OUT OF HER,MY PEOPLE THAT YE BE NOT PARTAKERS OF HER SINS AND THIER ARE MANY MORE. JESUS TAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE EAST, WHY THEN, IS THE SEAT OF THIS CHURCH ROME? IS IT TO HONOR JESUS OR CAESAR. JUST (AL THINK) WHAT IF HITLER WOULD OF CAME TO THE JEWS OF THAT TIME TELLING THEM HE HAD A VISION THAT NO BODY ELSE SEEN, AND NOW HE IS TO TEACH THEM WHAT THE TORAH OR LAW REALLY MEANS, NOW THAT WOULD BE MORE THAN A TORN THAT WOULD BE A KNIFE...PEACE BE UNTO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY BRO.JEFF

al thinker said...

Jeff, what type of documents/manuscripts do you have to authenticate what you said about Saul?

Anonymous said...

"THUS SAY IT THE LORD MY SHEEP KNOW MY VOICE" IN THE BIBLE, 2THESSALONIANS 3:14-48, ST.JOHN 8:44-48,2THESSALONIANS 2:3-12 AND 1CORINTHIANS 10:21. BRO.AL THINKER GO BACK TO ACTS 9:19,26...HE TRIED ACTS 5:1-11...THE CONDITION OF THE CHURCH AND THE PEOPLE ARE THE ONLY PROOF WE NEED TO SEE THAT SOME THING IS WRONG...PEACE BE UNTO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY BRO. JEFF

al thinker said...

Jeff, there is nothing the New Testament can teach, nor I can write –though I could write volumes–which will convince you, after his conversion, the Apostle Paul was not an enemy of God nor the church of Christ. And yet I will only briefly respond to the bible verses you quoted so as not to burden the many bloggers who visit this site daily. After closely reading the 6 verses you quoted, even a novice would quickly realize, absolutely nothing in those verse substantiate your ridiculous claim that the Apostle Paul was an enemy to the early church; in fact, some say the exact opposite.


If you truly believe all that you said in your first comment, it is the most ludicrous heresy I have ever heard. More than that, how can anyone claim to be a Christian and believe as you do. The only answer is insanity.


Please end it here, and do not respond with illogical comments to this blog-site any more. If you do, I will delete them, so as not to burden bloggers who desire logic and not foolishness. Of course foolishness is sometimes good for a hearty laugh. Let them can get their laughs elsewhere. This is a super-serious (life or death) message that is being presented on this website.
Althinker

PS
Or did I somehow missunderstand what you are saying. Did all that happen before Paul's conversion or after?

Anonymous said...

YOU SOMEHOW MISSUNDERSTOOD,BUT DON'T FEEL LIKE THE LONE RANGER MANY HAVE.AL THINKER I'VE NOTICE WHEN SOMEONE DISAGREES WITH YOU THIER INSANE,THAT BEING SAID LIKE BEAUTY IT'S IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER.LET US REASON TOGETHER AND LET THE WORD SPEAK FOR IT SELF. MATTHEW 24:5;23:8-39 LUKE 10:18(SCALES OF THE SERPENT) ACTS 9:18 LAST BUT NOT LEAST "JESUS SAID YOU HAVE TESTED THOSE WHO SAY THEY ARE APOSTLES AND ARE NOT AND FOUND (THEM) TO BE LIARS" REVELATION 2:2 EVERY TIME HE TOLD THE STORY OF HIS SO CALLED (CON)-VERSION IT CHANGED 3 TIMES.SO ACTS 15:12,13 AFTER THEY STOP LYING JAMES, AN AUTHENTICATED, TO USE YOUR WORDS, DISCIPLE SAID "LISTEN TO ME MY BROTHERS" AS JESUS WARNED IN MATTHEW 24:24 REV.6:8;4:7 BRO. AL THINKER LET US REASON TOGEHTER JOHN 8:31,44; ACTS 8:3-32 is a WARNING WHEN THEY BELIEVED PHILIP NOT SIMON OF ACTS 9:,1CORINTHIANS 9:19(I)-27, PEACE BE UNTO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY BRO.JEFF

al thinker said...

Jeff I read all the verses you quoted, and I agree with them all. Question: In what way do we apply them to the Christian life in April 2006? You brought up several different subjects concerning Christianity 2000 years ago. Please do me and others readers a favor. In one or two short sentences, in your own words–no Bible verses--give me the punch line as to what you are attempting to put across. So far, it above my understanding, and I am sure above many others. I don’t want to confuse those who like to read the comment sections. And, although I want to understand what you are saying. I just can’t, and I doubt many others will either. Thanks Althinker

PS
I doubled the ‘s’ in the word ‘misunderstand’ and you did also. In order to correct those small errors, I have to delete both complete comments and then, the blogger.com puts a note that says
‘This comment has been deleted by the author.’ Then I have to start all over again. I will leave the typos as they are.

rnstaples said...

Why Paul was given a Thorn in his Flesh ?
Paul said,,, I knew a man (Paul himself), in Christ above 14 years ago,,, whether in the body,, or out of the body,,, I can not tell,,, God knoweth:,,, such an one caught up to the 3rd Heaven... How that he (Paul) was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter... And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations of the Lord, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure... 2 Cor. 12:1-7...
For this thing, I (Paul) besought the Lord 3 times, that it might depart from me... 2nd Cor. 12:8
And the Lord said unto me,,, My grace is sufficient for thee:, for my strength is made perfect in weakness... 2nd Cor. 12:9
,,,For when I am weak, then am I strong... 2nd Cor. 12:10

What was Paul’s, Thorn in his Flesh ?

People have thought, that the “Thorn” in Paul’s side (In his Flesh), was that he could not see clearly, or slow in speech, or had a bad appearance, or many other “handicaps”,,, of which he prayed 3 times, for the Lord to remove the "Thorn" in his side… (2nd Cor. 12:7,8) But the Lord told Paul,,, “My grace is sufficient for you” : for my strength is made perfect in weakness… (2nd Cor. 12:9)

(A “Thorn” in your flesh, is a phase people used when they had a handicap, or a deformity, of something, in, or on, your body)…

In the 2 verses below, Paul says, to the people, “the conflict which you saw in me,,, and now hear in me. (Phl. 1:29,30) Tells us, he may have had a couple of things wrong with him,,, that he would rather not have…

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear in me. (Phl. 1:29,30)

The 1st thing Paul says to the people,,, is that something, “you saw in me”… Maybe this would refer to his appearance (his face),,, may have not of been the face he would have chosen,,, if he could change it…

The 2nd thing Paul says to the people, is that,, “now you hear in me”… This may refer to Paul’s speech… Paul may have had something wrong with the way he talked…

1. Paul told the people: The conflict which you SAW in me. (His appearance) (Phl. 1:29,30)
2. Paul told the people: The conflict which you HEAR in me. (His voice/speech) (Phl. 1:29,30)

(No one knows exactly what the Conflict that you Saw in me, was, (the thorn in his Flesh),,, but, he had something, he didn't like about his Appearance)
(And the other Conflict Paul says,,, is with what you Hear in me,,, he had something he didn't like about his Voice/Speech)

RNStaples

JC said...

Thank you very much for leaving a comment of how you believe what is or isn’t the answer to Paul’s thorn. I could easily agree with you except for the word ‘GRACE’ that was mentioned to Paul by the Lord in 2nd Corinthians 12:9. “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, . . .”
One of the main functions of grace at conversion is the forgiveness of all the wrong doings of His holy people. With that forgiveness, we should not feel guilty for our past lives of sins. Along with that, in verse 8, Paul calls his thorn “. . . a messenger of Satan to torment me. Satan was accusing Paul, through his conscience, of still being a bad person for all the harm he had previously done to God’s people.

Don’t forget, Satan is the accuser of God’s people, according to Revelation 12:10. “For the accuser [Satan the devil] of our brothers, who accuses them before God day and night has been hurled down. . . .” That is why I truly believe it is the best, if not the only, reason for Paul’s discussion of his thorn after he realized that God’s grace is powerful enough to cleanse us all of every last bit of guilt. Paul’s message is for us also who belong to Christ, so we will not/should not feel guilty for our past lives of unbelief.

Again, thanks and may God continue to bless you. jc

robov said...

Let me first apologize for the length of my post. There is much here, but I believe it is worthy of discusion regarding this scripture. Therefore I hope you will consider it worthy>
One of the first principles of sound biblical hermeneutics is that the scripture is it's own interpreter. i.e., they are not subject to private interprtation.
That said from your understanding and comments we both agree that the thorn in the flesh was not a physical malady or literal "thorn in the flesh".
Let's look at "messenger of satan" The word "messenger" is G32 meaning Angelos or demon/angel sent from satan to buffet Paul."to buffet me" G2852"kolaphizo" is a word the describes fists or knuckles and means to strike repeatedly as waves would buffet a ship or as beatings with fist, blow after blow as when they "buffeted Christ"(Matt 26:67)Paul listed these buffetings-prison,stonings,beatings,shipwrecks and angry mobs-in detail 2Cor 11:23-28. Finally "Infirminty" G769"asthenia" In context when looking at Paul's thorn in the flesh, we find that infirmity does not mean sickness in 2Cor 12:9 and 10. In 2 Cor 11:30 pauls uses the exact terminology of "glorying in infirmities" that is used just a few verses later in speaking about his thorn. In the 11th chapter he has just finished listing what those infirmities were verses 23-28. All these things refer to persecutions as infirmities.
This should put to rest anybody's interpretation that it was some kind if sickness or disease.
Paul is using symbolismn or a figure of speech to describe some sort of affliction. We cannot privately interpret or make assumptions or guess what it might mean as many have. By no means am I implying that you are either, for your comments are quite interesting and worthy of meditation thought.
My own conclusion though, in comparing scripture with scripture to discren God's truth which you have done, I have a slighly different take, for your thought. In order to assign meaning to this passage, we must search the whole bible and see how the word "Thorn in the flesh " is used in other part of scripture. Paul was very familiar with the Old Testament scriptures and he surely used this term the same way that it is used throughout scripture.
Some of the many references:
Num 33:55 "of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you" the Hebrew word H6654 figuratively means adversary.
Joshua23:13"but they will be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you." The hebrew word "Whip" H7850 means to pierce, a goad and the word "sides" is the same Hebrew word H6654 as above.
Judges 2:3"but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you."
Same thing here; also 2 Sam 23:6; Ezek 2:6,28:24. All these Old Testemant scriptures refering to the idiom "Thorn in the flesh" when read in context are in reference to "human" opposition for that is the way it is used here. Therefore it could be said that this is the best way it fits the context of 2 Cor. In fact 2 Cor. 10-13 is one long apologetic against false apostles who harassed Paul. Hence Pauls thorn in the flesh were his oppenents that continually follwed him and persecuted him. No God declared "My grace is sufficient". In my own meditation and understanding of God's grace, I have come to an understanding that it is in fact so much more than just forgiveness. In fact to list all that grace is would take up too much more space here. It is unmerited favour;goodwill;kindness;favorable influence of God; divine influence or the influence of the spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin and on and on. What od is teaching Paul here though about is Divine Grace. Divine Grace is the power of God in a person that gives one the ability to overcome all obstacles, persecutions and anything that might exalt itself above the Lordship of Jesus. That is why we "are more than conquerer's in Christ Jesus", and can do "all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us". God's Divine Grace gives us the ability to do things for the kingdom of God that otherwise wouldn't be humanly possible. For someone to try to do what Paul did for the kingdom in today's world without God's Divine grace would almost certainly drive a person to a nervous breakdown, insanity and posibbly even suicide.
Love and life in Christ
Rob.

JC said...

Dear robov,

Thanks much for your well though out response. No apology is needed for the length of your comment. I wish I would receive more responses like yours. No doubt you are a thinking person and well learned with the depth of thought you put into your analysis. All things considered, the way you view this issue may be correct, or at least gives seekers of truth something to think about.

While critiquing my version of Paul’s thorn in the flesh, I would like you again to consider several factors that inspired me to come up with this conclusion. First of all, 2nd Corinthians 12: 5. “. . . but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.” To continually to put up with the persecutions of the Jews--as much as I believe he hated them, although he claimed to delight in them--was a great strength and not a weakness.

Next, verse 7: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was give me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And I agree with you that God’s grace is all that you mentioned and even more. But of all those great attributes grace does for us, the primary reason for grace is to do for us what we could not do for ourselves--give ourselves a clean slate-- regardless how much we struggled. Only God with all His holiness is capable of giving us this incredible, priceless grace.

There are things I have done in the past, before I became a disciple of Christ, that still haunt me. I, many time say to my self, how could God’s grace wash away such a grievous situation? Every time I think of how I acted, I kick myself in the pants. But that doesn’t take away my feeling of being unworthy His undeserved kindness.

What Paul did before his conversion, killing and punishing all who believe in ‘The Way’ was much more serious of an offence than how I lived. Therefore, Paul in essence screamed out to the Lord three times, please take this guilt away from me. Paraphrasing what The Lord said to Paul, “Don’t you realize, regardless how you feel about your past life, my grace covers it all. End of subject.” Therefore. Paul had to live with the feelings of what he did: persecuting the Church of Christ. In fact, he went on to boast of this weakness; repeating verse five.

Therefore, even though your version is believable, since it coincides with verse 10, I think you should give my rendition a little more thought.

In ending, either way, if you are correct, let us praise God; if I am correct, let us also praise God, if neither of us are correct, let us continue to praise God for at least trying. The important thing is that we continually examine the Scriptures to be certain we are not being led astray by the prevalent but false teachings. I am honored to have a learned person like yourself subscribe to this blog. May God continue to bless you and all who take being a disciple of Christ seriously. jc

Anonymous said...

I am sick of you people repressing our kids and brainwashing stupid people. You moral police do not care about our kids, you don't know my kids. Jesus is love and only love. Their is only one commandment! "love thy neighbor as thy self"(not one hundred).I believe anyone who profits from god is fake!! Preachers just keep getting fatter & fatter with our money just like the politicians. GOD gave free will and you do not have a right to take it. religion=communism. If you like being repressed, go to Iran were the goverment rules with religion. America is home of the free!(not repressed.)Ministers make money for doing nothing. (What an easy job)Were do I apply? I bet it pays, very very well! Jesus never ask anyone for money, NEVER!! I love the scare tactics religions tell people that the world is ending, "SO WHAT"!!everyone's world is going to end, one at a time. I hope your right about the whole world ending at once, that way we can all hold hands. Religions used Always using scare tactics and the stupid people buy the. You pick on the little kids because thats your future money. Please get a real job and a real education. These are my opions! WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!THEY ARE BRAINWASHING YOU. God did not need to put billions of people here to make puppets, "you are here to enjoy your life" and love one another. Religions like power and money, just like are politicians.

Earl Day said...

It seems to me that although Grace is normally associated with redemption it can also mean a continuing work. That is in Sanctification, pressing toward the mark of the High Calling of God. Is it not Grace that allows this?

Everywhere that Paul traveled there was a constant stirring of the pot. Being stoned, demons proclaiming his a man of God, beatings and imprisonment. Was it not God's sustaining Grace that saw him through? His Grace is enough to see us through any circumstance!

It seems to me that the thorn in the flesh was a literal demon that followed him where ever he went. Stirring up problems that God's Grace would cause Paul to overcome.

Although I can understand the idea that the thorn was his past. I think we who are numbered with the redeemed on occasion look back and weep for the great sin we are guilty of and marvel at His Great Grace.

Anonymous said...

Dear Earl Day,

Thanks for your interesting comment. Question: Can you quote for me one verse in the Old or New Testament that God gives His holy people deamons to keep them on the straight and narrow.

jc

JC said...

Dear Eary Day,

Thanks for your interesting comment. Question: Can you quote one verse from the Bible that God gives deanonds to some of His holiest people? jc

JC said...

Dear Earl Day.

Sorry for misspelling the word demons. jc

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JC said...

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Anonymous said...

If I can try to make things a bit clear, it is obvious that over generations of thought we clearly dont know what the thorn is but one thing we do know is that Gods grace through Jesus Christ is sufficient for us in any situational act of obedience. Paul was many things but the most important was his relentless desire to please God and diciple Christians. I think if we understand that Pauls thorn isnt the important part but that the chief of sinners couldnt do enough wrong not to receive Gods unfailing love.

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