Sketched III, Day 10 Fanny Crosby: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post, Fanny Crosby.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Christian Standard Version (CSB)

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”
Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The Questions

1) What is the context of this passage?

2) What is this “thorn in the flesh”?

3) What does Paul say is the reason for his thorn in the flesh?

4) How is it that Paul can say, “when I am weak, then I am strong”?

The Findings for Intention

1) What is the context of this passage?
In the book of 2 Corinthians, Paul is speaking out against false teachers that have been undermining his authority.  Paul spends chapter 11 and part of chapter 12 “boasting” about his accomplishments, like the false prophets did, pointing out the foolishness of such boasting.  He then speaks of “extraordinary revelations” that he and others were given by God.  Evidently, these revelations were of the kind that Paul might have thought he had cause to boast.

2) What is this “thorn in the flesh”?
The short answer is, we simply don’t know.  Some commentators believe it refers to a physical ailment, such as poor eyesight or frequent headaches.  Others believe that it refers to a temptation—a part of Paul that was not yet regenerate (or renewed by the Holy Spirit), reminding him that he was still very much a sinner saved by grace.

3) What does Paul say is the reason for his thorn in the flesh?
Verse 7 tells us (twice!) that Paul was given this thorn in the flesh so that he would not exalt himself.  In other words, it was given to him to humble him, so that he would give glory to God for his accomplishments, rather than claim it for himself.

4) How is it that Paul can say, “when I am weak, then I am strong”?
Paul was taught, by this thorn in the flesh, that God’s grace is sufficient.  We do not need to rely on our own strength to accomplish God’s purposes.  When we are weak, God supplies the power to do what He has called us to do.

The Everyday Application

1) What is the context of this passage?
False teachers abounded in Paul’s day, and they abound in our day.  And just as in the first century, these false teachers exalt themselves and boast in their own accomplishments.  And while they may speak of Christ, they do not exalt Him, but place their ultimate faith in their own works.  Women, do not fall for such teaching!  Only the gospel of Jesus Christ saves, and only through our humble dependence on Him do we truly grow.

2) What is this “thorn in the flesh”?
Paul was special—an apostle chosen by God to spread the gospel to the Gentiles and to write large parts of the New Testament—yet he had weaknesses.  From the greatest Christian to the least, we all need to be humbled and kept from exalting ourselves.  Take some time to consider what things are specifically in your life that remind you of your need to desperately depend on Christ alone instead of yourself. Praise God for those! They are a grace to draw us close to Him!

What does Paul say is the reason for his thorn in the flesh?
We all have things that humble us before a perfect God.  Whether it’s a physical ailment that causes us to depend on God, or whether it’s a troublesome sin that reminds us that we need Christ’s grace every day, these things are an opportunity to worship.  Instead of lamenting your weakness, ask God to use it to draw you near to Him.

4) How is it that Paul can say, “when I am weak, then I am strong”?
How wonderful that we do not need to eliminate our weaknesses to be useful to God!  When we truly depend on Him and focus on bringing Him glory, we can see how our weaknesses are actually given to us for our good as they are the stage for Christ to amplify His strength in our life circumstances. What are you weak spots? Where do you just need more…… you fill in the blank. Jesus died to be your “more”, to bring you the fullness of Himself. Where you are weak, His strength is ready to buoy you and your situation. Take your weakness to the cross, and let God’s strength draw you closer to Him!

Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study, Fanny Crosby!
Sign up to receive every Journey to your inbox!

I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into
Sketched III Week Two!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
Download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!
Tap and hold on your mobile device to save.

Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Sketched III!