2 Corinthians 12:7
Parallel Verses
New International Version
or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
And that I might not be exalted by the exceeding greatness of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of Satan that he might buffet me, that I might not be exalted.

World English Bible
By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted excessively, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, that I should not be exalted excessively.

Young's Literal Translation
and that by the exceeding greatness of the revelations I might not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of the Adversary, that he might buffet me, that I might not be exalted overmuch.

2 Corinthians 12:7 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

And lest I should be exalted - There were three evils to be guarded against:

1. The contempt of his gifts and call by his enemies.

2. The overweening fondness of his friends. And, Self-exultation.

A thorn in the flesh - The word σκολοψ signifies a stake, and ανασκολοπιζεσθαι, to be tied to a stake by way of punishment; and it is used, says Schoettgen, to signify the most oppressive afflictions. Whatever it was, it was τῃ σαρκι, in the flesh, i.e. of an outward kind. It was neither sin nor sinfulness, for this could not be given him to prevent his being exalted above measure; for sin never had and never can have this tendency. What this thorn in the flesh might be has given birth to a multitude of conjectures: Tertullian thought it dolor auriculae, the ear ache; Chrysostom, κεφαλαλγια, the head ache; Cyprian, carnis et corporis multa ac gravia tormenta, many and grievous bodily torments. I believe the apostle to refer simply to the distresses he had endured through the opposition he met with at Corinth; which were as painful and grievous to him as a thorn in his flesh, or his being bound to a stake; for, if he could have devoted himself to destruction, Romans 9:3, for his rebellious and unbelieving countrymen, what must he have suffered on account of an eminent Church being perverted and torn to pieces by a false teacher! God permitted this to keep the apostle humble, and at last completely delivered the Church out of the hands and influence of this deceiver; none, not even the incestuous person, having been turned finally out of the way by the false doctrines there preached.

The messenger of Satan - Another mode of expressing what he calls the thorn in the flesh; and he seems most plainly to refer to the false apostle at Corinth. The apostle himself was, as he styles himself to this Church, αποστολος Ιησου Χριστου, 2 Corinthians 1:1, the apostle of Jesus Christ. The person in question is styled here αγγελος Σαταν, the apostle or angel of Satan. It is almost impossible to mistake the apostle's meaning and reference. Jesus Christ sent Paul to proclaim his truth, and found a Church at Corinth. Satan, the adversary of God's truth, sent a man to preach lies at the same place, and turn the Church of God into his own synagogue; and by his teaching lies and calumnies the apostle was severely buffeted. We need seek no other sense for these expressions. Many, however, think that the apostle had really some bodily infirmity that rendered him contemptible, and was the means of obstructing the success of his ministry; and that the false apostle availed himself of this to set St. Paul at nought, and to hold him out to ridicule. I have shown this, elsewhere, to be very unlikely.

The best arguments in favor of this opinion may be found in Whitby; but I forbear to transcribe them because I think the meaning given above is more correct. No infirmity of body nor corporeal sufferings can affect and distress a minister of the Gospel, equally to the perversion or scattering of a flock, which were the fruit of innumerable labors, watchings, fastings, prayers, and tears.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

lest.

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God...

2 Corinthians 11:20 For you suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself...

Deuteronomy 8:14 Then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt...

Deuteronomy 17:20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brothers, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left...

2 Chronicles 26:16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God...

2 Chronicles 32:25,26,31 But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done to him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath on him...

Daniel 5:20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne...

1 Timothy 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

the abundance.

2 Corinthians 12:1-4 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord...

a thorn.

Genesis 32:25,31 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint...

Judges 2:3 Why I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides...

Ezekiel 28:24 And there shall be no more a pricking brier to the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them...

Galatians 4:13 You know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel to you at the first.

the messenger.

Job 2:7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown.

Luke 13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound, see, these eighteen years...

1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

to buffet.

Matthew 26:67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,

1 Corinthians 4:11 Even to this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;

Library
Not Yours but You
'I seek not yours, but you.'--2 COR. xii. 14. Men are usually quick to suspect others of the vices to which they themselves are prone. It is very hard for one who never does anything but with an eye to what he can make out of it, to believe that there are other people actuated by higher motives. So Paul had, over and over again, to meet the hateful charge of making money out of his apostleship. It was one of the favourite stones that his opponents in the Corinthian Church, of whom there were very
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Collection for St Paul: the Farewell
PHILIPPIANS iv. 10-23 The Philippian alms--His sense of their faithful love--He has received in full--A passage in the Scriptural manner--The letter closes--"Christ is preached"--"Together with them" The work of dictation is nearly done in the Roman lodging. The manuscript will soon be complete, and then soon rolled up and sealed, ready for Epaphroditus; he will place it with reverence and care in his baggage, and see it safe to Philippi. But one topic has to be handled yet before the end. "Now
Handley C. G. Moule—Philippian Studies

That Man Hath no Good in Himself, and Nothing Whereof to Glory
Lord, what is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou visitest him?(1) What hath man deserved, that Thou shouldest bestow thy favour upon him? Lord, what cause can I have of complaint, if Thou forsake me? Or what can I justly allege, if Thou refuse to hear my petition? Of a truth, this I may truly think and say, Lord, I am nothing, I have nothing that is good of myself, but I fall short in all things, and ever tend unto nothing. And unless I am helped by Thee and inwardly
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Extracts No. viii.
"In regard to the story reported among the Jews, respecting the body of Jesus, I admit there is a greater probability of there being such a report, especially if the body could not be found, and the apostles affirmed that he was risen from the dead, than there is that the resurrection, should be actually true: hence, perhaps, I was not so much on my guard in the expression as I ought to have been. What I particularly had in my mind was, that I might find it difficult to prove even the existence of
Hosea Ballou—A Series of Letters In Defence of Divine Revelation

Cross References
Numbers 33:55
"'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.

Job 2:6
The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life."

Ezekiel 28:24
"'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.

Hosea 2:6
Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.

Matthew 4:10
Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

1 Corinthians 5:5
hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 10:10
For some say, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing."

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