2 Corinthians 12:7

From: Jonathan Robie (jwrobie@mindspring.com)
Date: Sat Jun 21 1997 - 07:20:17 EDT

James C. Clardy wrote:
>I'm researching the lectionary text for July 6 which is 2 Corinthians
>12:2-10. I've found it to be a very interesting passage (arpagenta,
>paradeison, asQeneiais, etc.)

A very interesting passage indeed! And one that I have found very meaningful
in my own life.

>But my question is in reference to verse 7. Is the "skolops tHi sarki"
>(thorn in the flesh) something which Paul received from God? Obviously,
>many scholars think that it is. (And, I'm aware of many of the possible
>interpretations as to what the thorn is, i.e., poor eyesight, a disease,
>persecution, etc.) However, as I read the text, I find no mention of the
>thorn being given to Paul by God. What am I overlooking?
>It is "angelos Satana." Does that mean the "skolops" was received from
>"Satana?" Or, does the grammatical construction point to another
>meaning? ... I guess I'm asking for help in determining the source of
>the "thorn"?

I'm not sure that this text is going to answer the question you are asking
of it. I think it says that the SKOLOPS *is* an ANGELOS SATANA - ANGELOS is
a noun ("messenger"), not a verb ("sent"), and it is also nominative, which
it would not be if the thorn were received from the messenger.

What we know of the thorn from this passage is:

1. the thorn is a messenger of Satan
2. it was given (agency unspecified) to prevent Paul from exalting himself
3. God chose not to remove it, but said to Paul that his grace is
sufficient, for his power is made perfect in weakness

So the thorn seems to be at least in accordance with God's will, and we are
not told from whom he received it, merely that he did receive it. The
suffering and the "messenger of Satan" remind me of Job, but I think that
the message involved is quite different from Job - instead of being a tragic
period in which his life bore no fruit, for the purpose of testing, Paul
bore this thorn during a very fruitful part of his ministry, and the passage
does not say that the thorn was given to shake Paul and see if his faith
would hold, it says that it was given so that Paul could rely on God's grace
in his own weakness so that he would not exalt himself.


Jonathan Robie jwrobie@mindspring.com http://www.mindspring.com/~jwrobie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703 http://www.poet.com

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