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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

PAUL'S THORN IN THE FLESH: AN ENIGMA

A RESEARCH PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. OLUFEMI ADEYEMI IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE COURSE NBST 522: NEW TESTAMENT ORIENTATION II

LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

BY ROBERT E. TEVIS III

BELLEFONTE, PA SUNDAY, JULY 1, 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION & THESIS ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 PAUL DEFENDS HIS APOSTELSHIP IN 2 CORINTHIANS --------------------------------------------------- 3 THE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 THE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS: PROBLEMS WITH LUST ---------------------------------------------- 6 THE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS: ENEMY "PREACHERS"----------------------------------------------- 7 THE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS: PAUL'S SMALL STATURE ------------------------------------------- 8 THE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS: ASSORTED PHYSICAL ILLNESSES ---------------------------------- 9 THE MOST PROBABLE VIEW OF THE "THORN": POOR EYESIGHT -----------------------------------WHAT WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT THE "THORN IN THE FLESH" ------------------------------------10 11

CONCLUSION -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 BIBLIOGRAPHY ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 15

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PAUL'S THORN IN THE FLESH: AN ENIGMA Over the past few years, my wife has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas. She is a vibrant Christian who desires to serve the Lord in her local church with passion. She is often, however, brought down with pain due to her "thorn in the flesh." She has prayed more than three times that God would remove this infirmary. In God's sovereignty, why does He allow this road block? Is there an example in the Scripture from where she can learn? The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7 describes a similar personal problem: So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited (ESV). God never removed this ailment from this man of God who was most effective for ministry. The answer to his "thorn" lays two verses later, where he writes, But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV). This verse has been a great source of comfort for those afflicted with such an incurable condition. What was Paul's "thorn in the flesh"? There are at least over 20 different answers from scholars who have tried to extrapolate what Paul meant. Dr. Denny was right to exclaim, "I do not feel called on to add another to the numberless disquisitions on Paul's thorn

3 in the flesh. The resources of imagination having been exhausted."1 This paper seeks to prove that the mystery behind the thorn in Pauls , an idiom in Greek literally translated thorn in the flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:72, cannot be properly determined. The most possible and interesting interpretation is a physical illness like poor eyesight. The thorn in the flesh is, however, a providential safeguard against Pauls pride. It was given and never removed so that Paul would trust God's grace as sufficient.

PAUL DEFENDS HIS APOSTLESHIP IN 2 CORINTHIANS To understand Paul's "thorn", we must look at the context of chapter 12 in 2 Corinthians. In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, Paul must fight for "his authority as an apostle not for his own sake, but because the gospel itself."3 If the Corinthians do not accept his apostleship, then they will also reject what he taught them: the Gospel! Through out the epistle, Paul must defend his apostolic conduct, character, and call. The three major sections of this personal epistle are: One, Pauls explanation of his ministry (chapters 17); Two, Pauls collection for the saints (chapters 89); and Three, Pauls vindication of his apostleship (chapters 1013).4 Chapter 12, where Paul describes his "thorn in the flesh" is squarely in the middle of his fight for his apostleship. In chapter 11, Paul finds himself embattled with cynical "super-apostles" (11:5). They are quick to malign his weaknesses and how he is unimpressive in person. Paul, in response,

James Denney, Second Epistle to the Corinthians {The Expositor's Bible} (A. G. Armstrong & Son, New York, 1894), xi:30-xii: 10. 2 Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 243. 3 Scott J. Hafemann, 2 Corinthians, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), 19. 4 Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa, Talk Thru the Bible (Nashville: T. Nelson, 1983), 390.

demands that the Corinthians believers "give evidence of the love which they professed for him by acknowledging his apostolic authority and taking disciplinary measures against the man who had defied it.5 In chapter 4:6-7, Paul even describes a jar of clay that was his weakness that carried the treasure of Gods glory. In chapter 12, Paul suggests two things: his weakness makes the Gospel all the more impressive and he could boast about having visions. Chapter 12 begins with Paul himself receiving a vision of heaven. In verse 2, he talks in the third person to describe how this vision happened to him. Even though there is nothing to gain from such boasting (according to verse 1) , Paul reminds the Corinthians that he had received such a vision. This puts him in fine company. Jewish leaders like Enoch, Ezra, Baruch, Moses, Ezekiel and Levi received mysterious visions from heaven in the same manner. In a lesser Hekhaloth text (a collection of Talmudic visionary mystic writings from the first century), Rabbi Akiba describes his journey to paradise: "In that hour when I ascended on high,... when I came to the curtain, angels of destruction went forth to destroy me. "6 Paul even describes his "thorn" as a "messenger of Satan" that he received because of such a vision, the "surpassing greatness of the revelations" (2 Corinthians 12:7). Paul uses the Greek word , "skolops", to describe his ailment that was received because of such a vision. The word could be translated: thorn, stake, or anything pointed7 and it is used nowhere else in the New Testament Greek. The only other place to find it is in the LXX, the Greek Old Testament Septuagint. In the LXX, is used three

5 6

F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 274. Ger shorn G. Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism and Talmudic Tradition (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1965), 77. 7 G. Abbott-Smith, D.D., D.C.L., A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1922), 409.

times (Numbers 33:55, Hosea 2:6, and Ezekiel 28:24). In these instances, the word is used to describe enemies as "thorns" and "thorns" as a roadblock to people. Paul prays for the removal of this "thorn". God replied in a most unusual way: Paul, who was able to heal others will not find healing for himself! In fact, according to 2 Corinthians 12:9, God's strength is made perfect in Paul's weakness. In this passage, Paul even uses the Greek word , astheneia, meaning debilitating frailness, weakness, or illness8 to further describe his ""thorn". Even in context, Paul's "thorn" in the flesh has no clear description. We do know that in context of the Epistle of 2 Corinthians, the "thorn" is a weakness of Paul that others use to malign him. This "thorn" is related intimately with his heavenly and mysterious vision. Even after prayer, God will not remove the thorn, but Paul must depend on God's grace to continue to minister despite the "thorn."

THE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS Sren Kierkegaard said that 2 Corinthians 12:79 has allowed for "all sorts of ingenuity and foolishness to surface as interpretation and offered everyone the opportunity to become an interpreter."9 Scholars have interpreted the thorn as: epilepsy, malaria, stammering and speech difficulties, psychosomatic blindness, some opponent, malarial fever, eyesight problems, persecution, sensual temptations, spiritual trials, ear aches, migraines, demonic possessions, a harassing or an annoying angel, temporary insanity, homosexuality, neuralgia, colic, rheumatism, leprosy, besetting sin or temptation, anguish over Israel's

G. Abbott-Smith, D.D., D.C.L., A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1922), 64. 9 S. Kierkegaard, Edifying Discourses (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1962) 2.164.

hardness of heart toward Christ, spiritual torment, the Corinthian congregation, doubt, faintheartedness of his calling, torments of conscience on account of his former life, depression, and insomnia.10 Even the early Church was not in agreement as to what the "thorn" exactly was. The early Church Fathers and Reformers taught various views. Tertullian and Jerome taught it was "some bodily ailment." Chrysostom, Eusebius of Emesa, Hilary, Augustine, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, Photius, and Theophylact taught it was "opposition encountered." Aquinas, Bellarmine, Cornelius Lapide, and Estius taught it was "carnal temptations." Roman Catholic writers have for the most part adopted this view as well. Martin Luther taught that it was "spiritual trials."11

THE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS: PROBLEMS WITH LUST Some scholars contend that Paul's "thorn" is a problems with lust, or a carnal temptation. The idea that Paul suffered from lust comes from the Latin Vulgate rendering of thorn in the flesh which is stimulus carnis, which can mean "stimulating flesh." Relying heavily on Pauls use of the term , or "sarx", meaning "flesh," to describe mankinds corruptness, some theologians have added that Pauls thorn was, in fact, rebellious sensuality.12 Even Thomas Aquinas supported the theory that Paul was lustful. Meanwhile, Gershon and Luther believed that Paul had blasphemous thoughts by relying on his flesh.13

10

This list was composed by reading the sources in the bibliography and what each author has suggested or listed as other people's interpretation. 11 J. Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (New York, 1896), pp. 186-91 12 Edward M. Merrins, M.D., St. Pauls Thorn in the Flesh, Bibliotheca Sacra: A Religious and Sociological Quarterly, Vol. LXIV (January 1907): 665. 13 John Mclintock, D.D. and James Strong, S.T.D., Cyclopdia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1891), 384.

This interpretation relies on the translation of a translation (from Greek to Latin to English) and is not very sound. Paul is quite happy in his singleness (see 1 Corinthians 7:7).

THE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS: ENEMY "PREACHERS" Other scholars interpret the "thorn" as Paul's adversaries and enemy "preachers." "Preachers" is in quotes because these men and women do not preach the true gospel, but something else. The Old Testament speaks of people of enemies as "a briar to prick or a thorn to hurt," as "pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides," and as "a scourge on your sides, and thorns in your eyes." This provides the literary pattern for Paul's phrase "thorn in the flesh."14 Paul even descries his "thorn" as "Satan's messenger" in 2 Corinthians 12:2 or 7. While in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, Paul uses a similar phrase to describe his enemies as Satan's servant. Paul's adversaries made various claims in 2 Corinthians about him (see: 10:1, 10; 11:4, 1215; 12:12, 17). If the "thorn" in the flesh was Paul's enemies, then it would also fall nicely in line with the context of 2 Corinthians. The logic goes that Paul must defend himself from enemies, therefore, his "thorn" was his adversaries. The boasting of Paul in his weakness to bolster his apostleship is "an ironic contrast to the claims of his opponents who believed their stature was sanctioned by their powerful presence (10:12, 18), the financial support they received (11:7, 12), their Jewishness (11:22) and their exaltation through revelations (12:1)."15

14

Terence Y. Mullins, "Paul's Thorn in the Flesh" in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 76, No. 4 (Dec., 1957), pp. 299-303, p. 303 15 Ronald Russell. "Redemptive Suffering and Paul's Thorn in the Flesh." in JETS 39/4 (December 1996) 559570 p. 565

Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Augustine, several prominent early Christians state that Pauls thorn was a reference to his enemies beating him repeatedly that he had to endure.16 Theodoret (along with Chrysostom) actually identified two possible candidates for a messenger of Satan," specifically Alexander the coppersmith and the party of Hymenaeus and Philetus.17 This view would probably be the most convincing, if most scholars today did not interpret Paul's "thorn" as a physical ailment for good reasons. Paul also would not have prayed to ask God to remove his enemies, but for defeat of them, as he understood that blessings come when Christ is preached even from people who are persecuting him (see Philippians 1:8).

THE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS: PAUL'S SMALL STATURE One of the funniest interpretations is that Paul's stature caused him pain. In this view, the "thorn" was that Paul was small, bald-headed, bow-legged, with a hooked nose, pale-red complexion, and meeting eyebrows.18 This has some credence since Paul was considered Hermes and not Zeus in Acts 14:8-12. Hermes is depicted as a small-statured "god." This would mean that Paul's thorn was envy for a bigger physical stature among men! Many people would love to look better and stand taller, but the "thorn" came as a result of the vision of Paul. There is no evidence that God makes people shorter when He reveals His mysteries to them.

16 17

D.A. Hayes, Paul and His Epistles (New York: The Methodist Book Concern, 1915), 41. Thomas C. Oden and Gerald Bray, eds. 1-2 Corinthians. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament Vol. VII. (Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1999), 300-301. 18 D.A. Hayes, Paul and His Epistles (New York: The Methodist Book Concern, 1915), 35-39.

THE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS: ASSORTED PHYSICAL ILLNESSES As shown above, there have been very specific physical illnesses ascribed to Paul's "thorn" in the flesh. For example, Bruce Chilton tells us that Paul suffered from Herpes Zoster, because this ailment can cause shingles that look like scales. Luke even described scaled falling from Paul's eyes in Acts 9:18 when Paul was baptized.19 Another ailment that has been used to describe the "thorn" is malaria. The authors of this view even equate Paul's visions with the fever of malaria. "[Malaria's fever] would have caused an ecstatic state in which Pauls visions of heaven took place." They believe that John Mark might have even abandoned the mission because he doubted Pauls stamina due to the weakened state that malaria causes.20 One of the most convincing and disturbing is the argument for epilepsy. Jews regarded epilepsy as a visit from Satan (or demonic possession) and this is exactly how Paul describes the "thorn."21 According to Dr. Farrar, Pauls seizures led to the reception of at least three mysterious revelations: One, Pauls encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road in Acts 9; Two, his second trance in the Temple in Acts 22:17; and Three, his out-of-body experience described in 2 Corinthians 12.22 This view, however, relegates God's revelation of mysteries to Paul to seizures. The author of this paper had epilepsy as a child. Seizures are in no way a conscience event.

19 20

Bruce Chilton, Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography (New York: Doubleday, 2004), 61. W.M. Ramsay, D.C.L., L.L.D., St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen (New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1904), 94. 21 Frederic W. Farrar, D.D., F.R.S., The Life and Work of St. Paul (New York: Cassel & Company, 1884), 713. 22 Frederic W. Farrar, D.D., F.R.S., The Life and Work of St. Paul (New York: Cassel & Company, 1884), 713-714.

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THE MOST PROBABLE VIEW OF THE "THORN": POOR EYESIGHT We know that almost without exception the thorn is assumed to represent some physical debility by today's scholars.23 Poor eyesight would have been such a disability. There is precedent that when Paul encounters a revelation from Jesus, he also received poor eyesight. When Paul encounters Jesus for the first time on the road to Damascus, he is struck blind (see Acts 9:8) to show him that he was blind to trust the Jewish way rather than the Way. If Paul suffered from poor eyesight, then this could have caused him eye pain, and thus "a thorn in the flesh." In Galatians 4:15, Paul was in awe that the Galatians would have plucked out their own eyes and given them to Paul. Could this be a reference to his "thorn"? Just a few verses earlier in Galatians 4:13, Paul preached through infirmity of the flesh, which may be a reference to the thorn in the flesh.24 This poor eyesight, could have caused migraines and neck pain, which causes sharp pains in your heard that might feel like a "thorn" being rammed through your skull! It is also noted that in Acts 28:3, Paul did not see the snake that bit him and in Acts 23:5, Paul even mistakes the High Priest for someone else. Paul did use an amanuensis and signed 2 Thessalonians 3:17 with a large signature. All of these references give weight to Paul having poor eyesight. There are problems, however, with this theory that Paul's "thorn" was poor eyesight. The scales that were on his eyes in Acts 9 after he met Jesus fell at his baptism. He was healed from his blindness, but never from the "thorn." The use of an amanuensis was also a
23

Terence Y. Mullins, Paul's Thorn in the Flesh in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 76, No. 4 (Dec., 1957), pp. 299-303, 299 24 Edward M. Merrins, M.D., St. Pauls Thorn in the Flesh, Bibliotheca Sacra: A Religious and Sociological Quarterly, Vol. LXIV (January 1907): 673.

11 common practice even if the authors eyesight was good. Dr. Luke also never mentions that Paul has such an ailment. Why would someone with the knowledge to diagnose Paul not mention what was going on with him?

WHAT WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT THE "THORN IN THE FLESH" Dr. Merrins in Bibliotheca Sacra uses a numbered system to describe the "thorn in the flesh." The same format is used below to give an exegesis of the phrase, or "thorn in the flesh", found in 2 Corinthians 12:7: 1. It is described as physical. One author notes that clearly "conveys the reality that suffering often entails, or feels like, sharp instruments entering one's flesh. 25 There is a definite physical description to the "thorn." Being described as physical does not mean, however that it is definitely physical. 2. It was painful. "A thorn in the flesh" refers to a painful experience. The word (literally "to beat with the fist") is the word "harm" in 2 Corinthians 12:7.26 It is used to describe the intent of the "thorn." It hurt! Bishop Lightfoot points out that the "thorn" must have been a recurring hindrance to the gospel (but a strong testimony when Paul overcame it); and the burden must have affected him when he preached.27 3. It had mysterious origins.
25

Sandra Hack Polaski, "2 Corinthians 12:1-10: Paul's trauma," Review & Expositor 105, no. 2 (March 1, 2008), 282. 26 Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 230. 27 H.V. Morton, In the Steps of Paul (Massachusetts: Da Capo Press, 1964), 104.

12

The "thorn" was connected to Paul's mysterious visions and revelations. They are described in 2 Corinthians 12:1-7 where Paul is also given the "thorn" so that he would not become conceited. A revelation of this magnitude would have caused anyone to be tempted to boast: "Come hear what God has told me! This must mean I am special!" This is specifically addressed in verse 7. The "thorn" was given so that Paul would not be puffed up. Did it come from "Satan's messenger"? From God Himself? From the way the mystery was revealed? The method of application is not answered. 4. It had a baffling nature - it was not curable by doctors. Paul was not cured either by medicine nor from prayer. Paul travelled with Dr. Luke, so if there was a known cure for the ailment, he would have been able to provide it. Even God had said, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV). This implies that God rightfully ruled that a cure would not be provided. 5. It was humbling. It made Paul trust Jesus Christ. The "thorn" was a tool from God that "Paul could use it as a providential safeguard against the folly of thinking of himself more highly than he ought to think." 28 This "thorn," which he does not explain, serves as a sobering reminder of his vulnerability. 29 Dr. Meeks points out that along with "thorn" and "stake", "cross" is a reasonable interpretation. If one accepts "cross", there is additional warrant for Adolph Diessman's calling Paul a "Christ-

28

Neil Gregor Smith, The Thorn that Stayed: An Exposition of II Corinthians 12:7-9 in Interpretation October 1959 13: 409-416, p. 414 29 Jon M Walton. Between Text and Sermon: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 in Interpretation; July 1998; 52, 3 p.294.

13 bearing mystic."30 In other words, the "thorn" was an aid to Paul to remain "in Christ," because he could not trust his own power. Even though Paul calls the "thorn" a "messenger of Satan to harass me," it was for a good purpose: Paul's humbleness!31 6. It was not the object of his boast. Paul could not boast about how good he was. The "thorn" kept him from doing so. God always answers prayers but his answer isnt always Yes. Sometimes his answer may be No, or Wait. For Paul, God said "no" to removing the "thorn." This means that Paul had to trust in two things: God's grace to get Him through and the power of the Gospel for his ministry to spread. Paul could not trust how great of a shape he was in for the Gospel to advance. Paul was emphatic: "But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14, ESV).

CONCLUSION As shown above one of the most interesting and possible interpretations of Paul's "thorn in the flesh" is poor eyesight. This, however, is not conclusive. The mystery behind the from 2 Corinthians 12:7 remains. It cannot be properly determined. God in His sovereignty probably planned this so that Paul's "thorn" can relate to any ailment that Christians face. God will not always heal His people, but they must trust in His grace. When going through physical ailments, we can look to Paul as an example. We may see that the "thorn"
30

David Trembley, "Focus: 2 Corinthians 12:2-10: (Thorn in the Flesh)" in The Clergy Journal; May/Jun 2008; 84, 7; p 128 31 D. A. Carson, From Triumphalism to Maturity: An Exposition of 2 Corinthians 1013 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984) 136.

14 penetrated Paul's spiritual nature because his bodily distress gave rise to troubling thoughts.32 Paul experienced suffering from both physical pain (the chronic illness) and spiritual pain (the challenge this produced to his personhood).33 The blessing of God came only on the heels of adversity, not in the midst of visionary ecstasy. This is the lesson for all of us. May we trust in God's power of grace when we are faced with an incurable ailment. Remember these words: But God said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV).

32

Edward M. Merrins, "St. Paul's Thorn in the Flesh" in Bibliotheca sacra, Volume 64, 661692, p. 664 33 Ronald Russell. "Redemptive Suffering and Paul's Thorn in the Flesh." in JETS 39/4 (December 1996) 559570 p. 569

BIBLIOGRAPHY Abbott-Smith, G. D.D., D.C.L. A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1922. Bruce, F. F. Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000. Carson, D. A. From Triumphalism to Maturity: An Exposition of 2 Corinthians 1013. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984. Chilton, Bruce. Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography. New York: Doubleday, 2004. Denny, James. "Second Epistle to the Corinthians" in The Expositor's Bible, xi:30-xii. New York: A. G. Armstrong & Son, 1894. Farrar, Frederic W., D.D., F.R.S., The Life and Work of St. Paul. New York: Cassel & Company, 1884. Hafemann, Scott J. 2 Corinthians, The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. Hayes, D.A. Paul and His Epistles. New York: The Methodist Book Concern, 1915. Kierkegaard, S. Edifying Discourses. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1962. Lightfoot, J. St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. New York, 1896. Louw, Johannes P. and Eugene Albert Nida. Vol. 1, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996. Mclintock, John, D.D. and James Strong, S.T.D. Cyclopdia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1891. Merrins, Edward M. M.D. St. Pauls Thorn in the Flesh in Bibliotheca Sacra: A Religious and Sociological Quarterly, Vol. LXIV. (January 1907), 661-692. Morton, H.V. In the Steps of Paul. Massachusetts: Da Capo Press, 1964. Mullins, Terence Y. "Paul's Thorn in the Flesh" in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 76, No. 4 (Dec., 1957), 299-303. Oden, Thomas C. and Gerald Bray, eds. 1-2 Corinthians. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament Vol. VII. Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1999. Polaski, Sandra Hack. "2 Corinthians 12:1-10: Paul's trauma" in Review & Expositor 105, no. 2 (March 1, 2008). Ramsay, W.M. D.C.L., L.L.D., St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen. New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1904. Russell, Ronald. "Redemptive Suffering and Paul's Thorn in the Flesh" in JETS 39/4 (December 1996), 559570. Scholem, Ger shorn G. Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism and Talmudic Tradition. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1965. 23

24 Smith, Neil Gregor The Thorn that Stayed: An Exposition of II Corinthians 12:7-9 in Interpretation (October 1959) 13: 409-416. Trembley, David. "Focus: 2 Corinthians 12:2-10: (Thorn in the Flesh)" in The Clergy Journal; (May/Jun 2008) 84, 7. Walton, Jon M. Between Text and Sermon: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 in Interpretation (July 1998) 52, 3. Wilkinson, Bruce and Kenneth Boa, Talk Thru the Bible. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1983.