What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh?

BibleAsk Team

Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh

It is believed that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was related to his body. It was not spiritual or mental. The thorn was clearly something important, which caused him great pain and inconvenience. It was obviously some affliction that affected his eyes as seen from his words:

“Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.  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. 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 4:13–15). 

Another reference that may point to Paul’s thorn in the eyes is found in Galatians. “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand” (Galatians 6:11). Some have suggested that his poor penmanship was because of his poor vision. The affliction was of Satan, but permitted by God. Thus, it was with Job (Job 1:6–12; 2:7; Luke 13:16). It is of Satan’s nature and work to cause bodily suffering and disease.

On three different times, Paul had prayed for God to remove this disturbing thorn. But when the answer was denied, he accepted God’s will for him. The Lord did not remove the thorn of Paul, but He gave him with grace to bear it. Paul asked for deliverance from his thorn because it was an obstacle to his work. But the Lord supplied his need with a great provision of grace.

The Lord has never promised to change circumstances or free people from their troubles. To God, bodily weaknesses and hardships are secondary. Inward power to bear is a much higher revelation of God’s grace than taking away the troubles of life. Externally a person may be tired and weak, yet inwardly it is his benefit—in Christ—to have full peace (Isaiah 26:3, 4). 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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