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Paul Part 2 – What Did He Look Like?


It would appear that, while Paul was intellectually impressive, physically he was not prepossessing.

Listen to this description by his enemies:

2 Corintians 10:10  “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”


Tradition describes him as being short, stooped, and bowlegged. He seems to have suffered from some chronic affliction.

2  Corinthians 12:7  And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

How did he handle this painful physical problem?

12:8  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.

12:9  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

12:10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Many believe this was some malady connected with his eyes, basing their conclusion on the facts that he generally dictated his letters (see 2 Th 3:17), that he referred to himself as writing with large letters (Gal 6:11, RSV),

2 Thessonians 3:17  The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write.

3:18  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

6:11  See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!

Paul also mentioned the willingness of the Galatian believers to pluck out their own eyes and give them to him, if it were possible

Galasians 4:15  What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.

Other afflictions have been suggested, but Biblical evidence is insufficient definitely to establish what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was.

It could also be his sinful fallen nature which he had to crucify daily.

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

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