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.
In order to believe that Paul’s thorn was a sickness, a NEW COVENANT believer must DISBELIEVE or reject THROUGH UNBELIEF a significant part of the atonement (Jesus’ finished work) and so much more.
One would have to reject through unbelief:
- “But now He (Jesus) has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises,” Hebrews 8:6. New Covenant believers in Christ are under the best covenant yet. We are not under the law nor any covenant that predates the law.
- Paul and all New Covenant believers were purchased, through the blood of Jesus, the IRREVOCABLE POWER by an IRREVOCABLE contract (covenant) with God to heal the sick. Spoken in command form by Jesus: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give,” Matthew 10:8. No need for Paul to beg God to heal Him when He and the disciples could simply exercise their authority to heal the sick.
- “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you,” Luke 10:19, which is preceded by, “Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you,” Luke 10:8-9.
- “Surely He has borne our [a] griefs and carried our [b] sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed,” Isaiah 53:4-5. The original Hebrew for [a] griefs and [b] sorrows are sicknesses and pains respectively.
- “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed,” 1 Peter 2:24. In fulfillment of Isaiah 53, this is now given in the past tense. Jesus ALREADY paid for for healing for ALL, but we must receive it by faith NOT reject it through unbelief.
- “He sent His Word (Jesus) and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions,” Psalm 107:20.
- “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases,” Psalm 103:2-3.
- “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities AND bore our sicknesses,” Matthew 8:16-17.