The ‘thorn in the flesh doctrine’ is a false one that is widely taught regarding healing.
“Thorn in the flesh” has also been adopted by unbelievers and is used to describe annoyances or annoying people in their lives. So, it’s also been widely secularized in addition to being misused in the church.
Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh” is NOT a sickness God refused to heal him from. This lie against God is still widely taught in the church.
That’s why we have to study the Word ourselves. ❤️
2 Corinthians 12:7 says, “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a THORN in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!”
We must keep 2 Corinthians 12:7 in context of the chapter, book, books, and the entire Word, not use that one verse then willy-nilly substitute any old thing for it and falsely accuse God of refusing to heal Paul. In context, Paul is talking about persecutors. NOT sickness.
The Holy Spirit used this to lead me lead me further into the truth about this pesky thorn. He said, “Paul knew the Old Testament (Hebrew scriptures) well and often quoted from it.” So, I did recall that he was used to be a Pharisee and looked it up and found the confirming verses in Acts 22:3, Acts 23:6, and Acts 26:5.
Keeping in mind that Paul knew the Old Testament well and often quoted from it in the New Testament, let’s read the following verses:
- “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and THORNS in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell” (Numbers 33:55).
- Because of Israel’s disobedience God says to them regarding the ungodly inhabitants of the land, “Therefore, I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be THORNS in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’” (Judges 2:3).
- But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns, which are not gathered with the hand. (2 Samuel 23:6)
- And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. (Ezekiel 2:6)
- No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 28:24)
So, we now see by ‘thorn’ Paul means, persecutors as in people, not sickness. God, in both the Old and New Testament, always intends for thorn to mean: a person or people who persecute, torment, and harass His people. Jesus said we’d be persecuted for the gospel, so He didn’t deliver Paul from persecutors that were being inspired by a religious spirit – NOT sickness. 2 Corinthians 11:4, Paul says, “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” We all know that “we wage not against flesh and blood.” You can read more about Paul’s persecutors here.
Again, pastors/people can’t just substitute what they want to make a cute message for the praises of man. Look at the damage it causes both to how people see God and how people who are praying for healing would be greatly affected by this lie.
I’m saddened at what this false doctrine does to the name of the Lord as it continues to be spread amongst the church by the inspiration of father of lies – Satan. I have heard many “popular” pastors teach this wrong and substitute a MULTITUDE OF THINGS for thorn in the flesh which spreads lies against God and His character.
Lord, I pray someone here is helped by this in Jesus’ name, amen.