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"For we are
God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which
God prepared
in advance
for us to do."
Ephesians 2:10
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9/29: Could Jesus Return Tomorrow
9/22: Increase Our Faith, Pt 2

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Previous Daily Sword Inspirations:

Friday, December 16, 2011
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Ephesians 6:14a, 17
Stand firm.......... Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7: To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
8: Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
9: 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
10: That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Today we are going to use a very misunderstood and debated scripture to teach about what is known as "exegesis". Exegesis is the method used in order to arrive at the correct interpretation of scripture. The question at the heart of this passage is, "what is Paul's thorn"? Most theologians have proposed two possible answers to this question. The first being that it is some sort of physical problem. We know that Paul did have sickness in his life but it is also recorded that he was healed from those sicknesses so they would not qualify as an ongoing thorn that God did not deliver him from. The leading thought on the idea that Paul has a physical problem comes from Galatians 6:11 where Paul says, "See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!" From this theologians hypothesize that Paul had bad eyesight. Today when we write and want to add emphasis we use bold type. Isn't it just as likely that this is what Paul is doing. You cannot prove it one way or the other. The other possibility that theologians put forth as Paul's thorn is that it is a besetting sin. Of course this comes from Paul's comments in Roman 7 where makes several statements along the line of, "I do not do what I want to do and what I don't want to do, I do". The problem with this argument is that Paul is not referring specifically to himself. In Romans 7:9 it says, "Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died." Let me ask you this. When was Paul every alive apart from the Law? The answer is NEVER! Paul is discussing the nature of Law by using himself in the first person. Read the whole chapter and you will see what I mean. I say all of this to get to this point. Let's use one of the most basic principles of exegesis and see if we can come up with an answer to what was Paul's thorn. This principle is looking at words or phrases that occur in multiple places in the Bible and see how they are used in context in these other passages. (There are many levels of and methods of doing exegesis but if you simply read scripture in context you will usually arrive at the correct meaning.) Are there other passages in scripture that a phrase similar to Paul's thorn is used?

Judges 2:3
3: Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be [thorns] in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you."

Ezekiel 28:24
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

Numbers 33:55
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.

Joshua 23:13
13: then you may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the LORD your God has given you

Micah 7:2-4
2: The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net.
3: Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire they all conspire together.
4: The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.

In every one of these passages what is the thorn or brier and so forth? PEOPLE!

Were people always causing Paul problems? YES! Please reference: 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 2 Timothy 4:14-15; Titus 1:10-11; Galatians 2:11-14; 2 Timothy 3:8; Galatians 1:6-7; Galatians 2:4-5

Even today we use similar sayings, "old what his name is a real pain in the neck", "thorn in my side, burr under my saddle".....

After our sample exegesis what do you think Paul's thorn it? A.) Illness B.) Sin C.) People

Always remember, scripture interprets itself, not man!

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