Many theories abound about the statement by the Apostle Paul about his "thorn in the flesh".
2 Corinthians Verse 7
"And lest 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."
Some have said this "thorn in the flesh" was poor eyesight or some other disability. I wish to propose another thought about this.
The name Paul is not a name at all. It is a Greek word meaning "small or little". His name was Saul. He was short bald and bow-legged His enemies gave him the name Paul in an attempt to defame him. He was a short man with a poor speaking voice and poor hand writing. This demeaning name, "PAUL', was the thorn in the flesh he spoke of. As for the description of Paul being short, bald and bow-legged, admittedly the source for this is somewhat questionable. It is from the Epistle of Paul and Thecla, a spurous epistle written about the second century A.D.
Here is the related verse Ch 1 vs 7: At length they saw a man coming ( namely Paul ), of a small stature with meeting eyebrows, bald (or shaved ) head, bow-legged, strongly built, hollow-eyed, with a large crooked nose; he was full of grace, for sometimes he appeared as a man, sometimes he had the countenance of an angel..."
Even though the above verses are from a spurios Epistle, it must be remembered that for a while it was accepted as genuine. This was written within 100 yrs of Pauls death. The memory of Pauls appearance was still fresh in the minds of the early church. This Epistle couldn't have been considered truthful by the early church if it wasn't accurate in Pauls discription.
After reading the above description of the Apostle Paul and knowing that his name means small or little, and reading the following words his enemies spoke about him demeaning his small stature and poor voice,
2Cor. ch 10 vs 10 "For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptable"
perhaps you can understand how I came to this theory. Admittedly this theory is my own, however; it has some support from both the scriptures and non-biblical sources, however questionable that source may be.
At first Paul hated this "thorn in the flesh" that was given to him.
2 Corinthians verse2
"For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 and he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for the: for my strenght is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
Paul took this name which was meant as a hateful slur and made it his own name. He used this name to sign all of his letters and called himself by it for the remainder of his life. As he said, " I will rather glory in my infirmities".
As for Paul praying to the Lord,
2 Cor. ch 12 vs 8 " For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. "
I'm not saying he prayed to grow taller, I'm saying he prayed to have the name "small or little" or in todays parlance, shorty or shrimp removed from him. If people called me baldy, I may pray to the Lord to give me the dignity to be called by my own name. But I wouldn't have to pray for him to give me a head full of hair, just as Paul didn't have to pray to grow taller. He just prayed to have this hurtful stigma of this name removed from himself.
PAUL TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE SYSTEM
AS A ROMAN AND A JEW!
Saul/Paul, was a Jew by birth, yet unlike the other Apostles, he was born a Roman citizen, and he used his Roman citizenship when his enemies attempted to have him beaten for preaching Jesus Christ.
Acts 22.24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.
25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
Paul not only did not denounce his Roman citizenship, he often called upon it when arrested. You see in the Roman empire it was illegal, and came with severe penilty for Roman soldiers and their supervisors to beat an unconvicted Roman citizen! Paul used this to his advantage!
Paul/Saul had been a Pharisee!
Phil 3.4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
There are two main religous groups mentioned in the New Testament writings. They are the Pharisee's and the Sadducees. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead, The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. Both of these two groups disapproved of the new Christian religion.
Paul used his position as a Pharisee to his advantage when the Sadducees brought him before the local counsel to punish him for preaching Jesus. These counsels were conducted by both Pharisees and Sadducees.
Acts 23:6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.
Upon hearing this the Pharisee's on the counsel refused to condem Paul.