Originally posted by checkbaiter
There is a reason I quoted 1Peter1:20....I have heard teaching how Paul had poor eyesight, Paul had a problem with woman, and a multiplicity of answers. But what does the bible say?...
I have learned that the bible is great on definitions. If you don't know what is meant by a word, simply go back to previous usage...let's take "thorn."
5 ...[text shortened]... l be a contradiction...God is Perfect and The Word of God has to be Perfect...God bless...CB 🙂
That’s good. But it is not necessarily conclusive (still good though).
2 Corinthians. 6 But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me,
7 even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated.
8 Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me,
9 but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it. Indeed you should have been the ones commending me, for I am not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing.
(1) Paul speaks of “a thorn,” singular; and “a messenger,” singular. So I think it would be more likely to be a
person, rather than “people.” Of course it could be a particular group
of people. James or Peter or the group of Jerusalem apostles (“these super-apostles”?) comes to mind as a possibility.
(2) On the other hand, Paul also speaks of “my weaknesses” right after referring to his appeal to God to remove the thorn, and the response that “power is made manifest in weakness.” Therefore, it could still be something about Paul himself, something that he viewed as a weakness or personal defect. Following your lead, I did a search for the words “thorn” and “thorns.” Generally, they either seem to reference actual thorns and briars, or are used—as you point out—as a metaphor for certain people, types of people or nations. I happened to find this one though—
Proverbs 15:19 The way of the lazy is overgrown with thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.
Maybe Paul wanted to do even more than he was doing, but judged himself to be “lazy”—or at least lacking in the degree of energy he would have liked to have, to accomplish even more. Hard to imagine, given all his travels, etc. So I think I’d throw this one out as being ludicrously weak.
In any event, I don’t think that the “thorn” being something pertaining to Paul’s person is totally out of the ballpark; and it could be something that he didn’t identify publicly. “Thorn in the flesh” is a pretty common and broad metaphor, at least today, and Paul may not have intended to send anyone looking for scriptural clues. However, I think that the “thorn” being a person or group of persons might be a stronger bet. And I admit I had never really considered that till I read your post. 🙂