Apostle Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh

What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh? What was Paul’s sickness?

The bible doesn’t tell us Paul’s thorn in the flesh, but some commentators believe it may be something related to his eyes since he says in Galatians 4:13, NIV: “As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you,” and Galatians 6:11, NIV: “See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!” And Paul even used scribes to write some of his letters, but all this is speculation. It may have been another type of ailment/illness/temptation.

Who gave Paul the thorn in his flesh? Where did Paul’s thorn come from?

Paul's Thorn in the Flesh Meaning
How to deal with a thorn in the flesh

The bible tells us in verse 7 that “a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan” – in other words, Paul’s thorn in the flesh was given to him by Satan or came from Satan.

Why did Paul have a thorn in the flesh?

Paul tells us in verse 8: “to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” This could be taken as though Paul’s thorn in the flesh would keep him from pride/self-exaltation/future sins.

The Bible tells us that sin falls into these 3 categories:

1 John 2:16, NIV, “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” If we think about it, when we sin, it’s us acting prideful against God.

What can we learn from Paul’s thorn in the flesh? How to deal with a thorn in our flesh?

Paul and his thorn in the flesh can help us deal with our own thorns in the flesh: he saw it as a blessing instead of a curse. Paul’s thorn in the flesh would keep him humble, preventing him from future sins. We can either see our own thorn’s in the flesh as a curse or a blessing.

They may be there to remind us of God because otherwise, we may forget about Him…? My thorn in the flesh is related to my eyes (hear my testimony) and it is my reminder of how God saved me from worse in my life – He rescued me from these troubling times and it is my constant reminder to live a life with Him and devoted to Him.

Why didn’t God remove Paul’s thorn?

God answered Paul’s pleading for this thorn in the flesh to depart from him with this (verse 9): “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” It is a reminder that when we are weak, we can go to God who gives us strength in our weakness. We know that God is sovereign and knows what’s best for us – we need to trust Him in and with all things, despite how it may look to us. And He also makes all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28).

Do we believe this or not?

How is your thorn in the flesh a blessing?


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“The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15, NKJV.

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