17 August 2015
by Philip Layton

Stone arch

Paul talks about his 'thorn in the flesh' and God's grace

Click here to read 2 Corinthians 12

Discussion Questions

  • Paul thinks it is possible for a person to be transported (by God) from earth to Heaven (vv 1-4). Is this a helpful affirmation of the plausibility of a future rapture of the Church?

  • Do you have any idea what Paul’s thorn in the flesh might be (v 7)?

  • Why was Paul given this thorn in the flesh? Could this be a reason why sometimes we have permanent irritations or obstacles in our lives?

Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag. Don't forget this week's Children's Challenge!

Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'

The popular hymn Amazing Grace has a story behind it. John Newton’s mother prayed daily for him after he was born in 1725, until she died when he was seven. At eleven he went away to sea with his father, later serving in the British Navy. But after he deserted, and later was found, he was chained and whipped in public.

Because of this humiliation, he abandoned all religious principles, launching into a life of sin. He soon became master of his own slave ship, bringing slaves from Africa. He treated them with great cruelty, even making them walk the plank – delighting in seeing them fall to their death into the ocean. One day a storm suddenly threatened the survival of the ship. God used this storm to shake Newton through and through. He eventually left the terrible, degrading slave trade, and gave his life to Christ – even going into the ministry. He was able to write these words:

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

(SASB 453 – 2015 edition) 

Newton never stopped marvelling at God’s grace – grace for a man so entrapped by such terrible sin. Precious grace. Do we treasure it? Do we leave our fears with the Lord, knowing he’s with us – protecting, guarding, loving? Let’s always praise him for the amazing grace he showers upon us daily!

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

(John P. Rees, v 4) 

Beverly Ivany

Tags: 2 Corinthians