“PAUL’S THORN REVEALED… FINALLY!”
It is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and mistranslated passages in the Apostle Paul’s writings.
2 Corinthinas 12:7 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.
Now for years there have been books written about this and thousands upon thousands of sermons preached on this one verse. Man, in their “finite” wisdom have made long declarations about what this “Thorn” in Paul’s Flesh may be. They do this with such authority that those listening swallow their words and never once question, “Lord show me what the Thorn truly is.”
Preachers, Priests, Pastors, Prophets, and Evangelists have stated this Thorn to be many things, including, but not limited too, The Pharisees, A woman, An Ex, A leg injury, Poor eye sight, leprosy, so-called friends, the Romans, eh, the list goes on and on and on. Yet, it is SO SIMPLE to see, when God has opened your EYES (understanding) to SEE (perceive) it.
Let’s start with the verse above, to get some perspective about what Paul is discussing.
6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
Here Paul is explaining that even though he would want to say, I AM THE MAN OF GOD LOOK AT ME! He knows to do this would be foolish, because he is far from Perfect… These same words Jesus spoke to the rich man when he asked, “Good Master what shall I do”… Jesus turned and said “Why do you call me (Jesus) good? There is NONE that is good, save the FATHER.” – Paul understood this, he knew to brag about his great wisdom would be a fools errand. He also knew how weak the minds of others who put faith in his words were. This is why he made this point clear to them.
, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
Paul didn’t want anyone to think that he had all the answers, that he had figured it all out and that there was nothing he struggled with, and no further for him to go. On a personal note, I find myself doing the same thing quite often. After sharing this or that, the eyes of those listening would glaze over as if I myself were God standing before them, I quickly remind them of how dependent I am on Christ. That I worry, I have fears still, at times I get angry, I get jealous, I am far from the man I used to be, Praise God for that, but I am also far from the man I will be when that which is perfect is COME (revealed in me).
I digress, Paul is putting his humanity in perspective for them. Now we get to the crux of the matter.
7 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.
Paul here is saying, that God had given him a great abundance of revelation. And with this great amount, it would be easy for any many (without struggles) to exhalt themselves, to see themselves as PERFECT, to believe that there was no need for God at all. Paul understood this. But not at first. You see, like Paul, we too, want to be free from those things that trouble us. We want freedom from the cares of the world, from the attacks of the carnal mind. We don’t want to feel insecure, hopeless, we don’t want to worry or fear, WE WANT TO BE PERFECT, like Paul wanted to be PERFECT. BUT GOD, in his “INFINITE” wisdom knew that if he allowed this, Paul would be LOST.
So God sent a MESSENGER OF SATAN to buffet him. Now I should pause to point out the significance of that last sentence. In particular, that GOD SENT not the Devil. You see it is not a popular belief that God is actually in control of all things. Including the Devil, the waster, the destroyer, the serpent, which does his part well. But that is another discussion for another time. For now, lets concern ourselves with WHO is sending this Messenger of Satan, it is GOD. So we understand, that God has a purpose for SATAN’S messengers in his life. And that purpose was to keep Paul humble.
Isn’t that the case with us. No matter how much revelation God gives us, when we mess up, when we sin (think the wrong thought) — Because SIN of course is the THOUGHT OF FOOLISHNESS (according to scripture) – when we think the wrong things, and act out of that imagination, we suffer. We pray, God TAKES THESE THOUGHTS AWAY, God DELIVER ME from this problem, HELP ME LORD TO FORGIVE THEM.
Do you see, Paul was doing EXACTLY what we do. But Paul, finally realized that GOD WAS BEHIND it all.
Let’s approach some of the beliefs, would religious persecution keep Paul from thinking he had it all figured out? Probably not. How about a woman, or a health issue, or even A LITERAL THORN in his big toe… would this SUFFERING keep him from believing that he was PERFECT? Highly unlikely. We know if we be in Christ, persecution will follow. That won’t keep us from thinking we have it all figured out. So this THORN really can’t be anything outside of Paul at all.
Now when I share what the Thorn is, if you haven’t already figured it out. You may smack your head and say “Of COURSE”
You see scripture interprets scripture. The Holy Spirit will teach you want a certain passage means so you can apply it to your life, and then there you will find witnesses of this in the scriptures. So to find out what the THORN is, all one need to do is search the bible and read every passage about THORNS, then it become clear.
For sake of time, I will use one from the Master’s mouth himself. But I encourage you to be like a Berean and seek out more. This definition of the THORN is as clear as a sunny day. It is found in the parable of the sower.
Matt 4:18 And these are they which are sown among THORNS; such as hear the WORD, 19 And the CARES OF THIS WORLD, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
We know the SEED is the WORD, and we know “your WORD oh LORD IS TRUTH” … So the THORNS are the CARES OF THE WORLD. Which strangle the TRUTH away.
And what are the CARES OF THE WORLD which produces DEATH OF TRUTH. It is Carnal Thinking, “to be carnally minded is death” – The wages of SIN, which is foolish ignorant thinking, is death.
THORNS=CARES OF THE WORLD=CARNAL THOUGHTS= SIN= DEATH
The THORNS were thoughts that were not TRUE. The Cares of the World! Isn’t that something? Paul struggled with the same “stuff” we struggle with. LIES!
Want further proof, that the THORNS were LIES in Paul’s mind (Cares of the world)… Well to find this, one only needs to look at who was giving PAUL this THORN. They were MESSENGERS OF SATAN (the FATHER OF LIES) – A messenger delivers the goods of the Master, the Messenger of SATAN delivers “Thought of lies” which is SIN, which is CARNAL THINKING, which IS THE THORN, Paul prayed God would deliver Him from.
Not enough, okay… well let’s look at the next verse.
“8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT for thee: “
So God told Paul, sorry not taking the Thorn away, but MY GRACE is sufficient to cover that Thorn of yours… WHAT? Grace?
And what does GRACE cover a multitude of people?….. SIN! That’s right, Paul, just like us struggled with the wrong thoughts at times, Paul just like us struggled with SIN.
So much for the other theories, Grace wouldn’t be needed if Paul was ill, persecuted, or even nagged by his wife (Paul would need his own grace for that :))
The THORN is SIN. SIN strangles the TRUTH. The wages of SIN (carnal thinking, cares of the world) is death.
Now if I may open your EYES to a couple of other important THORNS in the scripture.
What was CHRIST given a CROWN of before he died? That’s right, THORNS. And what does a CROWN REPRESENT a RULE or AUTHORITY… These THORNS (Lies, Sin, Cares of the world) were DRIVEN DOWN DEEP into Christ’s head (thinking)
And so CHRIST took upon himself the SINS OF THE WORLD (crown of thorns) and what happens next? He cries out “Father why have you forsaken me?” – Now we know God does not forsake us and cannot leave us, but at that MOMENT, Jesus was RULED by SIN, and he saw GOD AS FAR FROM HIM. The same way we all see God, when we are ruled by the WRONG THOUGHTS (lies)
When ADAM was driven from the Garden, the curse was not matter how hard he WORKED to get back to the Garden, the EARTH (his soul) would ONLY PRODUCE MORE AND MORE THORNS … The more we try to win our way back to God, the more we feel like we need to do this or that, the more THORNS (cares of the world) we produce.
So, the THORNS revealed. And GOD is behind it all…. Why you ask? Why would God subject his creation to Vanity (romans 8) well because he also subjected us in Hope.
THIS was GOD’S PLAN for Paul to keep him Humble, to keep him reliant on God. He sent the messenger, He sent the THORN.
Remember, God said, Let the TARES grow up with the WHEAT until the HARVEST. God has a plan for the carnal thoughts that still trouble us, torment us, and haunt us… and what is that purpose? HUMILITY!
“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.”
The THORNS of our lives are there, so the POWER OF CHRIST WILL REST UPON US.
I pray this study blessed you, and you have forgiven me for my many spelling and grammar mistakes.
Peace to you all, Jacob
“The Truth Will Change You”