Reader Mail: How 2 Cor. 12:7-10 contradicts Bill Johnson

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Reader Mail: How 2 Cor. 12:7-10 contradicts Bill Johnson

Postby Abiding in His Word on Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:11 am

Reader Mail: How 2 Cor. 12:7-10 contradicts Bill Johnson (Holly)

I received the comment below in response to a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago, “God’s Indeed a Good Father — How NAR Leaders Have Twisted a Biblical Truth.” I wanted to share the comment here because I think the commenter raises a strong argument against Bill Johnson’s teaching that God never uses sickness or disease to teach his children a lesson. Here’s the comment. (Notice that the letter G identifies a word as Greek, and the numbers are the Strong’s numbers where the Greek word can be found in the Strong’s Concordance.

When I was researching Bill Johnson’s teachings on this subject of sickness, I found the Greek to be extremely helpful. It was such a blessing to see how Scripture comments on this.

[In] 2 Cor 12:7-10 Paul had a thorn in the flesh which he repeatedly asked God to remove. Paul was to rely on God’s grace to be sufficient (not healing) for God said, “My power is perfected in weakness (G769)” and that he will boast about these weaknesses (G769)! Paul says, following his prayer: “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses (G769), with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak (G770), then I am strong.”

The Greek here for “weakness” and “weak” are astheneia (G769) and astheneo (G770) – the same words to describe physical illnesses, sicknesses, and disease people had that Jesus healed. If Paul is content with physical illness and sickness, along with other trials and persecutions, it is because he has learned that Christ is strong and Paul wants God’s power to be perfected through it! He uses our weakness — including our illnesses. Therefore we see Scripture directly contradicting what Bill Johnson teaches.

The strength of the argument lies in the fact that Paul lists several types of trials he is content with, and this list specifically distinguishes different types of trials, including persecutions. So it seems unlikely that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was persecution, as N.A.R. leaders including Bill Johnson like to suggest. Rather, it’s more likely it was a type of physical ailment, as the Greek word astheneia indicates.

See Bill Johnson’s teaching about the thorn in the flesh in this YouTube video titled “Can God ‘give’ sickness? What About Paul’s ‘thorn’…?”


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