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Monday, September 22, 2014

Paul's Thorn In The Flesh

Bible Questions Answered:
“Pastor, what was Paul's thorn in the flesh, our class is in a tremendous debate over just what it was...”
Bethany/ Dublin, Ireland United Kingdom

Bible Answer:
Bible Texts:

Because the Apostle does not come right out and say, it has been left to speculation.
But there seems to be a body of evidence to the fact that it being his deficient eye sight.

It seems as though the Apostle is boasting of his ability to write, in these verses:

I Corinthians 16:21 KJV
The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.

Galatians 4:13-15 KJV
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.

Galatians 6:11 KJV
Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

Galatians 6:11 NLT
Notice what large letters I use as I write these closing words in my own handwriting.

II Thessalonians 3:17 KJV
The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.

Philemon 1:19 KJV
I Paul have written it with mine own hand..."

Apostle Paul:

Acts 9:1-18 KJV
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of The Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a Light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And The Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And The Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said The Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And The Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But The Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My name's sake.
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, The Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

If this incident did not leave any lasting effects upon the Apostle's eyes, no doubt when he was stoned at Lystra, it did.

Acts 14:19,20 KJV
19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him (no doubt praying), he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Had the Apostle been stoned to death? One day we will have to ask him, one thing we do know, he was taken to heaven, where he spoke to The Risen Christ.

II Corinthians 12:1-8 KJV
1` It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of The Lord.
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
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.
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.
8 For this thing I besought The Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

The Apostle Paul states that his “thorn,” was in the flesh.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 1.4 million Americans suffer and are treated for a traumatic brain injury every year, a serious event that can create problems with normal brain functioning. Even more people suffer head injuries but don't seek medical attention; luckily, most of these traumatic brain injuries are mild, such as a concussion.

Eye and vision problems are fairly common after a brain injury. Some vision problems can be due to trauma to the eye, says Majid Moshirfar, MD, an ophthalmologist at the Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah. But many other vision problems are actually caused by injury to your brain.
(Eric Metcalf, MPH | Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MS, MPH)ll
Read the whole article

Was The Apostle's problems vision related?

Acts 22:30 NLT
The next day the commander ordered the leading priests into session with the Jewish high council. He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them.

Acts 23:1-5 NLT
1 Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!”
2 Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth.
3 But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?”
4 Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?”
5 “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.

Did the Apostle Paul have bad eyesight? The dress of the High Priest was totally distinguishable from all others, and that if one could not recognize him, it could only mean one thing (Leviticus 8/ Exodus 28,39).

So, what was Paul's attitude, despite his infirmities? Was he defeated, downcast, discouraged beyond measure? His example must be ours!

II Corinthians 12:8-10 KJV
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: 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.
10 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.