Summary: Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:7 that he was given a thorn in his flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment him. What is it that torments him? What is this thorn in his flesh?

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Key Text: 2 Corinthians 12:7

2 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV) 7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

2 Corinthians 12:7 (KJV) 7 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.

2 Corinthians 12:7 (NASB95) 7 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!

2 Corinthians 12:7 (AMP) 7 And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.

Main Outline – Message:

I. Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 12:7

II. Definition of “Thorn In The Flesh”

a. What It Is Not

i. No Biblical Precedence for Physical Ailment or Disability

b. Concise Oxford English Dictionary Thorn

1 a stiff, sharp-pointed woody projection on the stem or other part of a plant.

2 a thorny bush, shrub, or tree, especially a hawthorn.

3 an Old English and Icelandic runic letter, þ or Þ, representing the dental fricatives // and //, eventually superseded by the digraph th.


a thorn in someone’s side (or flesh) a source of continual annoyance or trouble.

c. Biblical Definition

i. Concerning Literal Hedges & Thorns (51 of the 56)

ii. Concerning People (5 of the 56)

1. Numbers 33:55

a. Numbers 33:55 (NIV) 55 “‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.

2. Joshua 23:13

a. Joshua 23:13 (NIV) 13 then you may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the LORD your God has given you.

3. Judges 2:3

a. Judges 2:3 (NIV) 3 Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.”

4. Ezekiel 2:6

a. Ezekiel 2:6 (NIV) 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.

5. Ezekiel 28:24

a. Ezekiel 28:24 (NIV) 24 ”‘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.

III. What Do We Do With The Thorns (The Rebellious Towards God)?

a. Drive Them Out (Compare to Num 33:55, Josh 23:13, and Judges 2:3)

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