The Thorn in the Flesh

2 Corinthians 12:7‑10  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Question: 2 Cor. 12:7-10. Was the “thorn in the flesh” a physical affliction? Does the term “my infirmities” refer to the same thing as the “thorn”? Is the “power” spoken of in this portion, and the “strength” physical power and strength to overcome what was a physical affliction, supposing the thorn to be such? J. M.
Answer: The “thorn,” in the apostle’s case, was a messenger of Satan for buffeting in order to the putting down of “the flesh,” and as it would seem, was such as made him contemptible in the eyes of others, and produced also physical weakness (1 Cor. 2:3 2 Cor. 10:10; Gal. 4:13-15), “My infirmities” —or weaknesses of body—became an occasion for the special exercise of divine power and grace enabling him even to take pleasure in weaknesses for Christ’s sake. Thus the excellency of the power was seen to be of God. As the Lord assured the apostle of the sufficiency of His grace, and the perfecting of His power in human weakness, so would he rather glory in his (bodily) weaknesses that this power of Christ may have its dwelling-place on him. The outer man might perish, but the inward is renewed day by day, and he fainted not. Thus our physical weaknesses are triumphed over (not renewed) by spiritual power— “the power of Christ”