Thorn in the Flesh: (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) Many interpretations have been given of this passage.
1. Roman Catholic writers think that it denotes suggestions to
2. Luther, Calvin, and other Reformers interpret the expression as
denoting temptation to unbelief.
3. Others suppose the expression refers to "a pain in the ear or
head," epileptic fits, or, in general, to some severe physical
infirmity, which was a hindrance to the apostle in his work
(1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 10:10; 11:30; Galatians 4:13,14; 6:17) With a great
amount of probability, it has been alleged that his malady was
defect of sight, consequent on the dazzling light which shone
around him at his conversion, acute opthalmia. This would
account for the statements in
(Galatians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 10:10) also
and for his generally making use of the help of an amanuensis
(Romans 16:22) etc.
4. Another view which has been maintained is that this "thorn"
consisted in an infirmity of temper, to which he occasionally
gave way, and which interfered with his success (comp.)
(Acts 15:39; 23:2-5) If we consider the fact, "which the
experience of God's saints in all ages has conclusively
established, of the difficulty of subduing an infirmity of
temper, as well as the pain, remorse, and humiliation such an
infirmity is wont to cause to those who groan under it, we may
be inclined to believe that not the least probable hypothesis
concerning the 'thorn' or 'stake' in the flesh is that the
loving heart of the apostle bewailed as his sorest trial the
misfortune that, by impatience in word, he had often wounded
those for whom he would willingly have given his life" (Lias's
Second Cor., Introd.).