Paul's Thorn in the Flesh

 

There have been tens of thousands of teachings on Paul's thorn in the flesh over the centuries, offering hundreds of speculative theories on what Paul's thorn in the flesh was. The subject has been debated to death. This is remarkable when you consider that not one scripture from Genesis to Revelation is of any private interpretation.

2 Peter 1:20
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private [idios - one's own] interpretation.

Being of no private interpretation, the bible is therefore not open to debate. That's it, end of story. No man or woman on the planet has the right to debate the bible. That's what it says in Peter.

2 Peter 1:20
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private [idios - one's own] interpretation.

If the bible is not open to interpretation or debate, then it must interpret itself, and this is indeed the case with Paul's thorn in the flesh. The bible clearly tells us what it was. Let's read it.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9
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.

Until this morning, my understanding of these verses has been that Paul complained to God and God told him to shut up, smile and put up with it. That has never made any sense to me. How is that being a super conqueror? First, let's deal with Paul's thorn in the flesh. We'll handle the rest in the next chapter.

2 Corinthians 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.

Does this verse tell us what Paul's thorn in the flesh was? No, it doesn't. All scripture interprets itself either in the verse, in the context, or where it has been used before. Paul's thorn in the flesh is not explained in the verse. Nor is it explained in either the immediate or remote context. You can read all of Paul's epistles and you will not find Paul's thorn in the flesh explained anywhere. I suppose that's why men think they have the right to debate this. Well, they don't. If scripture does not interpret itself in the verse or in the context, it will always interpret itself where it has been used before.

This makes sense. If God calls a monkey a monkey today, will he call it an elephant tomorrow? No, see, that's absurd.

Numbers 33:55
But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; 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, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.

What does God say those religious people with their pagan gods would be if his people didn't drive them out from among them? Pricks in their eyes and thorns in their sides, right? So if God called those pagans a thorn in the flesh back then, what would a thorn in the flesh be a few thousand years later when Paul was around? Elephants? No, see that's absurd. Paul's thorn in the flesh was religious nuts, just like those pagans back in Moses' day. Here is this truth established in Joshua, when God for a second time warned his people about mixing with pagans.

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, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

So what was Paul's thorn in the flesh? Health problems? He was blind? He was crippled? No, his thorn in the flesh was religious nuts. We can see some of this in 2 Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 11:24,25
Of the Jews [Judeans] five times received I forty stripes save one.

Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

Who whipped Paul five times? Religious nuts. Who beat him with heavy wooden rods three times? Religious nuts. Who stoned him and left him for dead in Acts 14? Religious nuts. So what was Paul's thorn in the flesh? This isn't difficult, is it?

While we're here, is there anything else we can learn for this? Oh yes, plenty. How about disassociating ourselves from religious nuts? If we don't, they will be thorns in our flesh and pricks in our eyes. Religious nuts are not good for our mental and physical well being.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers [religious nuts]: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them [religious nuts], and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Religious nuts today wouldn't necessarily be called worshippers of Baal, they are now more commonly known as Roman Catholics, Muslims, Free Church, Baptists, Mormons, Jews, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Church of Scotland, Way International, Salvation Army, Methodists, Jehovah's witnesses, Buddhists, Hindus, Lutherans, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Seventh Day Adventists, Quakers, Apostolics, Fundamentalists, Calvinists, Charismatics, freemasons, fuck, the list is endless. Hey, we're back to God not dwelling in temples made with hands again, how weird is that?

I can relate to this personally. Some of my own family are religious nuts. They think I'm some kind of brainwashed cultist because I don't go their stupid stained glass whorehouse church, and they've been nothing but thorns in my side for as long as I can remember. If I'd just believed the word and come out from among them and cut them off in my life, I'd have saved myself from decades of thorns. It's doing the word that is right, not doing what the world dictates. God's way is the way of life. Take my advice, no, take God's advice, get any religious nuts who won't hear the word from you out of your life and save yourself a lot of grief.

Chapter 7 - Sufficient Grace