Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh Explained | Bible Answer

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In a portion of the Bible, it speaks about Paul’s thorn in the flesh and how he asked God for it to depart from him three times. The thorn didn’t necessarily depart but rather God’s grace and strength were sufficient for him. We should all be aware of what this thorn actually was according to scripture. What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh?

Paul’s thorn in the flesh is referring to the messenger of Satan sent to buffet him. This thorn was not sickness but rather Paul being persecuted and beat for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus was persecuted and told His followers that they would also be persecuted. In other words, all who will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Paul knew this thorn meant he would experience persecution. However, God’s grace is sufficient and made perfect in weakness so there is no reason to fear.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (KJV)  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.  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.
  • John 15:18-21 (KJV)  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  20  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  21  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
  • Luke 21:12 (KJV)  But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.
  • Acts 9:15-16 (KJV)  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.
  • 2 Timothy 3:10-12 (KJV)  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,  11  Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.  12  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

When Paul decided to follow Jesus he knew what he was getting into. Jesus was persecuted and the servant is not above the Lord. Paul understood that there would be some who would listen to Satan and persecute him because they did it to Jesus. The scripture says the the thorn in the flesh or the messenger of Satan to buffet him. Buffet doesn’t mean sickness or disease. Let’s look at the Strong’s and Thayer’s definition to have a clearer understanding.

  • Buffet in Strong’s definition means:
    • to rap with the fist  
  • Buffet in Thayer’s definition means:
    • to strike with the fist
    • give one a blow with the fist
    • to maltreat
    • treat with violence and contumely according 

It’s clear that this messenger treated him with violence and beat or struck him with the fist. When you begin to seek the word of God in relation to this thorn. The Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to those who have eyes to see what Paul was talking about when he mentioned a thorn in the flesh. Let’s take a deeper look into this in the Bible so we can know the truth in relation to this thorn.

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Paul's Thorn In The Flesh Was It A Sickness?

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Have you ever heard that Paul had a sickness in the flesh, or Paul’s physical infirmity, or Paul’s eye disease? Some people mention this because of the thorn in the flesh or when Paul mentions the infirmity of the flesh in Galatians concerning his eyes. Was Paul’s thorn in the flesh a sickness or disease?

No this is not referring to Paul being sick or having an eye disease. In the letter to the Galatians Paul mentions how through the infirmity of the flesh he preached the gospel to them at first. He goes on to state that if possible they would have plucked out their own eyes to give to him. Later on in the same letter Paul mentions that he bears in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus. In other words him being buffeted and persecuted just like Jesus. This lines up with The Word concerning Paul and how he will suffer for Jesus’s namesake. Paul was beaten and those who saw him preach knew it.

  • Galatians 4:13-15 (KJV)  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 6:17 (KJV)  From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

Have you ever seen someone’s eyes after being punched in the face/eyes? What’s it look like? Well, obviously it’s visible to others. This is what Paul was referring to he said they would have plucked out their own eyes and given to him. Paul was preaching the gospel while others could clearly see the effects of him being buffeted.

What Does The Bible Say About Persecution And Suffering?

The disciples understood that Jesus Christ was persecuted and beaten. At one point some even put a “crown of thorns” upon Jesus’s head and then mocked, spit on, and hit him on the head. Those thorns went into the flesh.  Jesus told them that the servant isn’t greater than the Lord and if they persecuted Him they would also persecute you. Knowing this the word also states that nothing shall by enemy means hurt you. So, therefore, do not fear your adversaries because that will be to them an evident token of perdition but to you salvation and that of God.

  • Luke 10:19 (KJV)  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
  • Matthew 27:28-31 (KJV) And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. 29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. 31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
  • Philippians 1:27-30 (KJV)  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;  28  And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.  29  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;  30  Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
  • 1 Peter 2:19-24 (KJV)  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.  20  For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  22  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  23  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:  24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
  • Acts 5:40-41 (KJV)  And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  41  And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Jesus wore a crown of thorns that pressed upon His head and at that very moment, He was persecuted and beaten. The disciples knew what the Lord meant about suffering or being persecuted. They saw it happen to Jesus. So when they were beaten and told not to talk about Jesus they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for His name sake! They understood. They also understood that by Jesus stripes they were healed and that sickness wasn’t part of the promise from God for them.

Now notice that Jesus spoke the truth and they crucified and persecuted Him for it! Jesus knew he had to die and rise again so people could be saved through him! Also, Stephen knew if they persecuted Jesus they would also want to persecute those who followed and believed him. Stephen understood this very well and was martyred. He spoke the truth to the people about Jesus and they stoned him for it.

  • Matthew 27:15-26 (KJV)  Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.  16  And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.  17  Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?  18  For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.  19  When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.  20  But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.  21  The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.  22  Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.  23  And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.  24  When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.  25  Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.  26  Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
  • Mark 15:11-15 (KJV)  But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.  12  And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?  13  And they cried out again, Crucify him.  14  Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.  15  And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.
  • Acts 7:52-60 (KJV)  Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:  53  Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.  54  When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.  55  But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,  56  And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.  57  Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,  58  And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.  59  And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.  60  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Jesus knew that no one could take His life. He willingly laid it down. In doing so many that yelled for Jesus to be crucified ended up believing in Him later on. Stephen also understood what Jesus accomplished and was not afraid of them but also chose to lay down his life. He was full of the Holy Spirit and wasn’t afraid. In doing so Saul who was there during the stoning had an evident token of impending destruction. However, because of the love and fearlessness revealed there by the Holy Spirit, Saul ended up believing in Jesus!

  • John 10:14-18 (KJV)  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.  15  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.  16  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.  17  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
  • John 15:10-14 (KJV)  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.  11  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.  12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
  • Acts 2:36-41 (KJV)  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.  37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.  40  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.  41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
  • 1 John 3:14-16 (KJV)  We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.  15  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
  • Acts 9:1-18 (KJV)  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.

The point is Jesus and Stepehen werent the one’s in trouble at the time of being persecuted. They understood persecution was going to come. Nothing could by any means hurt them. However, the people persecuting them were in danger of destruction for rejecting Jesus! By showing love and laying down their life some of the very ones persecuting them ended up believing in the Lord Jesus Christ! Remember, The Word says blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

  • Matthew 5:10-12 (KJV)  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Now God told Ananias to go lay hands on Paul to receive his sight. Jesus also told Ananias that Paul was a chosen vessel and how will shew him how great things he must suffer for His name’s sake. In other words, God revealed to Paul that some persecution would come because he was now following Jesus. Paul understood what this thorn was. Let’s looks at some more situation’s Paul experienced in particular concerning this thorn.

  • Colossians 1:24 (KJV) Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

Now remember what Paul said about the thorn. 

  • 2 Corinthians 12:7 (KJV) 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 spoke of his sufferings and the afflictions of Christ in his flesh. Paul also talked about the thorn in the flesh. See? Let’s look at some more.

  • Philippians 1:28-30 (KJV) And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:2 (KJV) But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:18 (KJV) Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

Notice in Philippians it talks about how Paul suffered for Christ sake and it was visible to the eye and they heard about it. Then later we read in Thessalonians about this incident where Paul was treated at Philippi. He suffered, was shamefully entreated and there was much contention there because of the gospel of God. Again remember the messenger of Satan sent to buffet Paul. Here in 1 Thessalonians Satan hindered him. Clearly, this hindrance is not speaking about sickness in the flesh but rather persecution for Jesus name’s sake. Let’s look at some more scripture.

  • Galatians 4:12-16 (KJV) Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. 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. 16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
  • Galatians 6:17 (KJV) From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

What’s Paul saying here to the Galatians? Notice the infirmity in the flesh when he preached to them first and how he says if possible they would have given him their eyes. He then later mentions bearing in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus. It’s very clear that Paul was buffeted and beat. Not sure if you have ever been hit in the face or specifically the eye. However, I believe you know what that would like. What do you think they saw when Paul was preaching to them that made them want to give their eyes to Paul? It’s not hard to see for those who have eyes to see. Paul had swollen/black eyes. Marks of being beaten or buffeted as the scripture states. This is clearly not sickness. The Word clearly speaks about persecution and in some places its very straight forward. Such as in Hebrews were it speaks about people of faith.

  • Hebrews 11:35-40 (KJV) Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

It’s true some people went through these things and still believed by faith. God says the ones who persecuted them of the world were not worthy of such individuals of faith! What a statement from God but yet the world persecuted them! This is clearly not sickness. I don’t say these things to discourage the body of Christ, but rather to speak the truth about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Don’t be afraid. Remember what God said.

  • Luke 10:19 (KJV) Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
  • Romans 8:35-39 (KJV) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The point is Paul’s thorn isn’t sickness according to the Bible. The scripture is also clear on God’s will to heal the sick as well. Let’s look more into this.

God Wants You Healed Scripture

Paul’s thorn in the Bible is not sickness because God wants people to be healed. Jesus came to do the will of the Father. That means if you see it in the life of Jesus Christ you can be fully reassured that it’s the will of God! Jesus is life and the only way to the Father and He came to destroy the works of the devil! One of those works that he came to destroy is sickness and disease!

  • John 6:35-40 (KJV) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
  • 1 John 3:8 (KJV) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
  • John 14:6 (KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
  • Isaiah 53:5 (KJV) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
  • 1 Peter 2:24 (KJV) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Again, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. One of the results of the devil and sin is sickness and disease. If the fall never occurred then sickness would not have been manifested. Scriptures clear that Jesus came to do the will of the Father and part of that will is to be healed by the stripes of Jesus Christ. The scripture says thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Let’s look at some situations where Jesus showed this will in earth as it is in heaven!

  • Luke 11:2 (KJV) And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
  • Matthew 4:24 (KJV) And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
  • Matthew 8:16-17 (KJV) When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
  • Matthew 12:15-16 (KJV) But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; 16 And charged them that they should not make him known:
  • Luke 4:38-39 (KJV) And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.
  • Luke 6:17-19 (KJV) And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; 18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
  • Psalms 103:1-5 (KJV) A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

It’s clear Jesus came and brought the will of the Father to earth. He came and healed those who came to Him. Just like how Jesus came to remove sin from those who are born again and give them His righteousness by faith. Jesus also came to remove sickness and give the born again believe health according to His life by faith!

When a person is born again are they saved right then and there or at some later day? Right then and there! When a person is forgiven by God is it right then and there or only at a later date? Right then and there! When a person is born again they inherit eternal life through Jesus Christ. When does that eternal life start? Right then and there, the moment they are saved! They are filled with the Holy Spirit which is the Spirit of Jesus and they are full of life! Notice they are not full of death. The old corruptible things pass away and all things have been made new through Christ! 

  • John 3:15-16 (KJV) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
  • John 10:27-28 (KJV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
  • John 17:2-3 (KJV) As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
  • Romans 5:21 (KJV) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Titus 1:2-3 (KJV) In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
  • Titus 3:4-8 (KJV) But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (KJV) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The point is those who believe Jesus according to what is written in The Word have obtained eternal life through Jesus Christ. Sickness has no part in this inheritance/gift from God! So to think Paul’s thorn in the flesh was sickness from God is to think according to man and not the Holy Spirit and what is written! There is more we could speak on in regards to healing/health but this should be sufficient enough to reveal the truth about the thorn Paul was speaking about. That being said let’s look at how thorn is used in the Old Testament.

Thorn In The Flesh Old Testament

Black And White Thorns 900x506

Did you know the old testament talks about a thorn or thorns as well? Knowing how the term thorn and thorns is referenced in the Old Testament can help us understand how it is used in the New Testament as well.

  • Numbers 33:55 (KJV) 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.
  • Joshua 23:13 (KJV) 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.
  • Judges 2:3 (KJV) Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
  • Judges 8:7 (KJV) And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.
  • Judges 8:16-17 (KJV) And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. 17 And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.
  • Job 5:5 (KJV) Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance.
  • 2 Samuel 23:5-7 (KJV) Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow. 6 But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: 7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.
  • Isaiah 10:17-18 (KJV) And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; 18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.
  • Isaiah 27:3-5 (KJV) I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. 4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 5 Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.
  • Isaiah 32:13-15 (KJV) Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: 14 Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; 15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.
  • Isaiah 34:13 (KJV) And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.
  • Ezekiel 28:24 (KJV) And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

As you look at some of these Old Testament scriptures about thorns what do you see? Remember Paul’s thorn was a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:7 (KJV) 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.

Do these verses in the Old Testament sound like sickness or disease? Or does it sound like some of these thorns are snares, traps, scourges?

Notice another portion of scripture states who would set the briers and thorns against God in battle? Well, I can tell you this for sure if any try to battle against the Lord God almighty they will lose. God can’t fail.

Notice another portion of scripture talking about thorns coming upon the land of God’s people. Notice later on thorns shall come up in palaces and nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof. It shall be a habitation of dragons and a court for owls. Do you see it?

The point is the context of what these thorns were in the Old Testament helps us to understand what Paul is referring to in the New Testament. Remember Paul was a Pharisee at one point and knew about the Old Testament very well. 

  • Philippians 3:1-11 (KJV) Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Paul was basically a Pharisee of Pharisees. He knew his stuff in that regard before Christ. He also counted it all dung after and loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. The point is he knew about the term thorn or thorns in the Old Testament. Knowing this, Paul basically used the same term thorn in the New Testament. That’s no coincidence. That being said the verses mentioned prior aren’t in regards to sickness or disease in regards to God’s people. Rather it is talking about snares, traps and scourges. In other words, a type of buffeting or persecution. 

It’s my heart desire that you know the truth about the thorn Paul mentioned. Ask God about the thorn now and listen while the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to your heart! 

Bible Scripture Reference

  • Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh Explained | Bible Answer
    • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
    • John 15:18-21
    • Luke 21:12
    • Acts 9:15-16
    • 2 Timothy 3:10-12
    • Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh Was It A Sickness?
      • Galatians 4:13-15
      • Galatians 6:17
      • What Does The Bible Say About Persecution And Suffering?
        • Luke 10:19
        • Matthew 27:28-31
        • Philippians 1:27-30
        • 1 Peter 2:19-24
        • Acts 5:40-41
        • Matthew 27:15-26
        • Mark 15:11-15
        • Acts 7:52-60
        • John 10:14-18
        • John 15:10-14
        • Acts 2:36-41
        • 1 John 3:14-16
        • Acts 9:1-18
        • Matthew 5:10-12
        • Colossians 1:24
        • 2 Corinthians 12:7
        • Philippians 1:28-30
        • 1 Thessalonians 2:2
        • 1 Thessalonians 2:18
        • Galatians 4:12-16
        • Galatians 6:17
        • Hebrews 11:35-40
        • Luke 10:19
        • Romans 8:35-39
      • God Wants You Healed Scripture
        • John 6:35-40
        • 1 John 3:8
        • John 14:6
        • Isaiah 53:5
        • 1 Peter 2:24
        • Luke 11:2
        • Matthew 4:24
        • Matthew 8:16-17
        • Matthew 12:15-16
        • Luke 4:38-39
        • Luke 6:17-19
        • Psalms 103:1-5
        • John 3:15-16
        • John 10:27-28
        • John 17:2-3
        • Romans 5:21
        • Romans 6:23
        • Titus 1:2-3
        • Titus 3:4-8
        • 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
    • Thorn In The Flesh Old Testament
      • Numbers 33:55
      • Joshua 23:13
      • Judges 2:3
      • Judges 8:7
      • Judges 8:16-17
      • Job 5:5
      • 2 Samuel 23:5-7
      • Isaiah 10:17-18
      • Isaiah 27:3-5
      • Isaiah 32:13-15
      • Isaiah 34:13
      • Ezekiel 28:24
      • 2 Corinthians 12:7
      • Philippians 3:1-11

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