The “thorn in the flesh” is directly related to Paul’s “great revelations.” This is not something Christians need to fear, Paul is unique in salvation history as the apostle to the Gentiles, and his visionary experience is unique as well. The “thorn” is a metaphor emphasizing the ongoing, painful nature of the oppression.
The noun Paul uses (σκόλοψ) refers to any kind of splinter or thorn that works its way into the body, but the thorn is also called a “messenger of Satan” of “angel of Satan.” By describing the thorn this way, Paul may be referring to a person who was harassing him, continually causing him to suffer.
This messenger “harasses” Paul. This verb (κολαφίζω) is a violent physical beating, the same word is used for Jesus’ beatings in Matt 26:67 and Mark 14:65. Since it is not clear what Paul means by this thorn, Christians have suggested the…
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