Galatians # 12 Paul's Thorn
We’re going to continue on the book of Galatians, but today were going to look at something that Paul said in (GAL 4:13 and 15), and that is What is called “Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh.”
I) 1st of all, there has been much discussion on this subject of Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh.
A) The question is “What was Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh?”
B) I’m going to try to be fair to those that think that Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh was an eye disease.
1) And we’ll look at the Vs that have caused them to think that Paul’s Thorn in the flesh was an eye disease.
2) 1st let’s turn to GAL 4:12-16
(a) Because of (V 13), which says from the KJV, “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.”
(i) The word “INFIRMITY” can mean “weakness, disease, sickness, frailty, or feebleness.”
(b) So some have said that Paul was sick.
3) In (V 15), which says, “If it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” KJV
(a) Well, those that think that Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh was an eye disease, use this V to prove their point.
(b) But if you read after some of the Greek scholars, they will tell you that this could be just a figure of speech.
(i) Meaning that they loved Paul so much that they would give their most precious parts to help him fulfill his call.
(ii) On the other hand, there could be something wrong with his eye.
C) In (ACTS 13:51) it says that Paul and Barnabas whet to Iconium, 1 of the cities in Galatia.
1) But some of the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles to where they turned against Paul and Barnabas and there was a plot to stone them, so they departed to Lystra and Derbe. (Still in the providence of Galatia.)
2) Let’s look at the story in ACTS 14:8-10
(a) Now in (V 9) it says that Paul perceived that the man had faith to be healed.
(b) The man had to hear Paul preaching on healing because it says that he had faith to be healed.
(i) (Romans 10:17) Says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” KJV
(ii) The only way that you can have faith in an area is to hear the Word of God on the subject.
(a) You can’t have faith where the Word of God is not known.
(iii) Paul must have preached, at least in part, on healing.
(c) Now how is the man going to get faith for healing if Paul had a gross eye disease?
(i) He would have been thing, “If healing is God’s will and Paul knows God better then I do, why doesn’t God heal Paul?”
(ii) I know were not to base our faith on other people, but on the Word of God, but this man was a babe Christian. He didn’t know about standing on the Word of God.
(iii) If this man, who was impotent in his feet, had seen Paul sick with a gross eye disease, his faith would have been severely hindered.
(iv) This was not a healing by 1 of the gifts of the spirit. This man was healed by his faith in the Word of God.
D) Now go down to ACT 14:19-20
1) What was the weakness or infirmity in Paul’s flesh?
(a) The man was just stoned. Even his eyes may have been all black and blue. They may have been near swollen shut.
(i) That very well could have been the reason that the Galatians said, that if it were possible they would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
2) Another V that some have used to say that Paul had an eye disease is also found here in GAL 6:11.
(a) And they say that because Paul had such a bad case of this eye disease that he could hardly see, so he had to write in big block letters.
(i) If he could hardly see and near being blind what is he doing traveling on the missionary field?
3) But there’s 2 schools of thought of this V in (GAL 6:11) actually means.
(a) The word “LARGE” here can refer to “LONG.”
(i) In other words Paul is saying see what a long letter I have written to you.
(ii) Even though Galatians is 1 of Paul shortest letters, it is still very long. How many letters you write are 6 chapters? This is also 1 of Paul’s 1st letters.
(b) But 1 Greek scholar that I read said that this is more likely that Paul wrote some of this letter in LARGE of CAPITAL letters to emphasize certain points.
II) Well, we have pretty well done away with the thinking that Paul had an eye disease, but WHAT WAS PAUL’S THORN IN THE FLESH?
A) 2COR 12:7
1) We ask the question, “What is Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh?”
2) He tells us right here. IT IS THE messenger of Satan.
(a) And why was this messenger of Satan sent to Paul? “To BUFFET HIM.”
(b) The word “BUFFET” means, “To strike with the fist, give one a blow with the fist, to maltreat, treat with violence.”
(i) Never does it refer to sickness or disease.
(c) And even some have said that God gave this to him.
(i) As I said, 1 of the definitions of the word BUFFET means, “MALTREAT or MISTREAT.”
(ii) God does not mistreat any one.
3) Clearly this was a messenger of Satan, sent by Satan to buffet Paul, to strike him blow after blow.
4) How was Paul being buffeted?
(a) Everywhere that Paul went Satan sent out 1 of his messengers (A fallen angel) to stir up trouble.
(b) Why would Satan do this? To stop Paul from getting the revelation that he was getting and to stop him from do the work of the ministry.
B) What were all the things that Paul went through that Satan sent?
1) 2COR 11:22-28
2) A messenger of Satan was always attacking Paul. But Paul was never defeated. He always rose up in victory.
III) God does not sent sickness upon someone, but He is the Lord that healeth thee.