The Meaning of 1 Thessalonians 2:18 Explained

1 Thessalonians 2:18

KJV: Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

YLT: wherefore we wished to come unto you, (I indeed Paul,) both once and again, and the Adversary did hinder us;

Darby: wherefore we have desired to come to you, even I Paul, both once and twice, and Satan has hindered us.

ASV: because we would fain have come unto you, I Paul once and again; and Satan hindered us.

What does 1 Thessalonians 2:18 Mean?

Context Summary

1 Thessalonians 2:13-20 - The Apostle's Glory And Joy
The Christian worker always should wait on God till he gets the word of the message. There is an essential difference between delivering a sermon or an address and delivering a message. The latter is direct, eager; you wait to be sure it is understood; you expect an answer. A gospel message works in those who believe. That its ultimate effect will be to bring us into collision with the world-spirit goes without saying. For this conflict the Christian must be prepared in advance.
The separation between this true, strong, loving soul and his converts was a bereavement, though only for an hour, r.v. margin, and his heart longed to be with them again. He clung to them the more tenaciously because he had been cast out by his Jewish brethren, and also because he looked for a great revenue of joy and glory to accrue to the Savior's name. His one purpose seems to have been to accumulate garlands of saved souls, as children make garlands of flowers in spring, that he might lay them at the feet of the Redeemer. Satan hinders, but Jesus helps and smiles His benediction. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Thessalonians 2

1  In what manner the gospel was brought and preached to the Thessalonians
18  A reason is rendered both why Paul was so long absent from them, and also so desirous to see them

Greek Commentary for 1 Thessalonians 2:18

Because [διοτι]
As in 1 Thessalonians 2:8. [source]
We would fain have come to you [ητελησαμεν ελτειν προς υμας]
First aorist active indicative of τελω — thelō Literally, we desired to come to you. I Paul Clear example of literary plural ητελεσαμεν — ēthelesamen with singular pronoun εγω — egō Paul uses his own name elsewhere also as in 2 Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 5:2; Colossians 1:23; Ephesians 3:1; Philemon 1:19. Once and again (και απαχ και δις — kai hapax kai dis). Both once and twice as in Philemon 4:16. Old idiom in Plato. And Satan hindered us Adversative use of και — kaî but or and yet. First aorist active indicative of ενκοπτω — enkoptō late word to cut in, to hinder. Milligan quotes papyrus example of third century, b.c. Verb used to cut in a road, to make a road impassable. So Paul charges Satan with cutting in on his path. Used by Paul in Acts 24:4; Galatians 5:7 and passive ενεκοπτομην — enekoptomēn in Romans 15:22; 1 Peter 3:7. This hindrance may have been illness, opposition of the Jews in Corinth, what not. [source]
we desired to come to you. I Paul [εγω μεν Παυλος]
Clear example of literary plural ητελεσαμεν — ēthelesamen with singular pronoun εγω — egō Paul uses his own name elsewhere also as in 2 Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 5:2; Colossians 1:23; Ephesians 3:1; Philemon 1:19. Once and again (και απαχ και δις — kai hapax kai dis). Both once and twice as in Philemon 4:16. Old idiom in Plato. And Satan hindered us Adversative use of και — kaî but or and yet. First aorist active indicative of ενκοπτω — enkoptō late word to cut in, to hinder. Milligan quotes papyrus example of third century, b.c. Verb used to cut in a road, to make a road impassable. So Paul charges Satan with cutting in on his path. Used by Paul in Acts 24:4; Galatians 5:7 and passive ενεκοπτομην — enekoptomēn in Romans 15:22; 1 Peter 3:7. This hindrance may have been illness, opposition of the Jews in Corinth, what not. [source]
Once and again [και απαχ και δις]
Both once and twice as in Philemon 4:16. Old idiom in Plato. [source]
And Satan hindered us [και ενεκοπσεν ημας ο Σατανας]
Adversative use of και — kaî but or and yet. First aorist active indicative of ενκοπτω — enkoptō late word to cut in, to hinder. Milligan quotes papyrus example of third century, b.c. Verb used to cut in a road, to make a road impassable. So Paul charges Satan with cutting in on his path. Used by Paul in Acts 24:4; Galatians 5:7 and passive ενεκοπτομην — enekoptomēn in Romans 15:22; 1 Peter 3:7. This hindrance may have been illness, opposition of the Jews in Corinth, what not. [source]
We would [ἠθελήσαμεν]
Implying more than a mere inclination or desire. It was our will to come. See on Matthew 1:19. [source]
I Paul []
Not implying any less desire on the part of his associates, but emphasizing his own. See on the use of the epistolary plural, 1 Thessalonians 1:2. [source]
Satan [Σατανᾶς]
From the Aramaic Satana adversary. In the canonical lxx the name appears only three times, 1 Kings 11:14, 1 Kings 11:23, 1 Kings 11:25, and in each case is applied to a man. In lxx διάβολος is used, almost without exception, as the translation of the Hebrew Satan. Of 22 instances of διάβολος only 9 are outside of the book of Job. From the more general conception of an adversary, there is, in the O.T., a gradual development toward that of an evil personality. For instance, in 2 Samuel 24:1, the numbering of the people is ascribed to the anger of the Lord. The later historian, in 1 Chronicles 21:1, ascribes the act to Satan. See also Job, Wisd. 2:24; Zechariah 3:1. The specialising of the conception was due, in part, to the contact of the Jews with the religions of Babylon and Persia. In N.T. Satan appears as the personal spirit of evil - the same who is called the devil, the wicked one, the prince of the power of the air, the prince of this world, the serpent, the God of this world, the tempter. He tempts to evil, opposes God's work, inspires evil dispositions, torments God's people. The word Satan occurs only once in the Fourth Gospel, not in the Epistles, but often in Revelation. Mark never uses διάβολος , Matthew never Satan. Paul seldom διάβολος , often Satan. Satan alone in Pastorals. Luke uses both. It is clear that Paul here as elsewhere employs the word in a personal sense; but any attempt to base the doctrine of a personal devil on this and similar passages is unsafe. [source]
Hindered [ἐνέκοψεν]
See on 1 Peter 3:7. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Thessalonians 2:18

Acts 24:4 That I be not further tedious unto thee [ινα μη επι πλειον σε ενκοπτω]
Koiné{[28928]}š verb (Hippocrates, Polybius) to cut in on (or into), to cut off, to impede, to hinder. Our modern telephone and radio illustrate it well. In the N.T. (Acts 24:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Galatians 5:7; Romans 15:22; 1 Peter 3:7). “That I may not cut in on or interrupt thee further (επι πλειον — epi pleion) in thy reforms.” Flattery still. [source]
Romans 15:22 I was hindered [ενεκοπτομην]
Imperfect passive (repetition) of ενκοπτω — enkoptō late verb, to cut in, to cut off, to interrupt. Seen already in Acts 24:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Galatians 5:7. Cf. modern telephone and radio and automobile. [source]
1 Corinthians 9:12 Hinder [ἐγκοπὴν δῶμεν]
Lit., give hindrance. Rev., cause hindrance. Ἑγκοπή hindranceonly here in the New Testament. Primarily, an incision, and so used by the physician Galen. Compare the kindred verb ἐγκόπτω tocut into, also occurring in Hippocrates in the surgical sense. In the sense of cutting into one's way, it gets the meaning of hindrance. See Acts 24:4; Romans 15:22; Galatians 5:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 Peter 3:7. Compare the Latin intercidere to divide, inter-rupt. [source]
1 Corinthians 5:5  []
d To deliver - unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh. On this very obscure and much controverted passage it may be observed: 1. That it implies excommunication from the Church. 2. That it implies something more, the nature of which is not clearly known. 3. That casting the offender out of the Church involved casting him back into the heathen world, which Paul habitually conceives as under the power of Satan. 4. That Paul has in view the reformation of the offender: “that the spirit may be saved,” etc. This reformation is to be through affliction, disease, pain, or loss, which also he is wont to conceive as Satan's work. See 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Corinthians 12:7. Compare Luke 13:16. Hence in delivering him over to these he uses the phrase deliver unto Satan. Compare 1 Timothy 1:20. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
[source]

Galatians 5:7 Did hinder [ἐνέκοψεν]
See on 1 Peter 3:7. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Romans 15:22. [source]
Galatians 4:3 Elements of the world [τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου]
For the word στοιχεῖα in N.T. see Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:20; Hebrews 5:12; 2 Peter 3:10, 2 Peter 3:12. See on 2 Peter 3:10. Interpretations differ. 1. Elements of knowledge, rudimentary religious ideas. See Hebrews 5:12. The meaning of world will then be, the material as distinguished from the spiritual realm. Elements of the world will be the crude beginnings of religion, suited to the condition of children, and pertaining to those who are not Christians: elementary religious truths belonging to mankind in general. Thus the Jewish economy was of the world as appealing to the senses, and affording only the first elements of a spiritual system. The child-heir was taught only faint outlines of spiritual truth, and was taught them by worldly symbols. 2. Elements of nature - of the physical world, especially the heavenly bodies. See 2 Peter 3:10, 2 Peter 3:12; Wisd. 7:17. According to this explanation, the point would be that the ordering of the religious life was regulated by the order of nature; “the days, months, times,” etc. (Galatians 4:10), as well as the heathen festivals, being dependent on the movements of the heavenly bodies. This was the patristic view (Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, Theodoret). 3. The elements of the world are the personal, elemental spirits. This seems to be the preferable explanation, both here and in Colossians 2:8. According to Jewish ideas, all things had their special angels. In the Book of Jubilees, chapter 2, appear, the angel of the presence (comp. Isaiah 63:9); the angel of adoration; the spirits of the wind, the clouds, darkness, hail, frost, thunder and lightning, winter and spring, cold and heat. In the Book of Enoch, 82:10-14, appear the angels of the stars, who keep watch that the stars may appear at the appointed time, and who are punished if the stars do not appear (18:15). In the Revelation of John we find four angels of the winds (14:18); the angel of the waters (16:5); the angel in the sun (19:17). In Hebrews 1:7we read, “who maketh his angels winds.” Paul also recognizes elemental forces of the spiritual world. The thorn is “a messenger of Satan” (2 Corinthians 12:7); Satan prevents his journey to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:18); the Corinthian offender is to be “delivered to Satan” (1 Corinthians 5:5); the Kingdom of God is opposed by “principalities and powers” (1 Corinthians 15:24); Christians wrestle against “the rulers of the darkness of this world; against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the upper regions” (Ephesians 6:12). In this passage the elements of the world are compared with overseers and stewards. This would seem to require a personal interpretation. In Galatians 4:8, “did service to them which by nature are no gods,” appears to be = “in bondage under the elements,” suggesting a personal interpretation of the latter. The Galatians had turned again to the observance of times and seasons (Galatians 4:10), which were controlled by the heavenly bodies and their spirits. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
[source]

Galatians 5:7 Who did hinder you? [τις υμας ενεκοπσεν]
First aorist active indicative of ενκοπτω — enkoptō to cut in on one, for all the world like our use of one cutting in on us at the telephone. For this late verb see note on Acts 24:4; note on 1 Thessalonians 2:18. Note the singular τις — tis There was some ringleader in the business. Some one “cut in” on the Galatians as they were running the Christian race and tried to trip them or to turn them. [source]
Philippians 4:16 Once and again [και απαχ και δις]
“Both once and twice” they did it “even in Thessalonica” and so before Paul went to Corinth.” See the same Greek idiom in 1 Thessalonians 2:18. [source]
1 Thessalonians 3:1 We thought it good [ηυδοκησαμεν]
Either literary plural as in 1 Thessalonians 2:18 or Paul and Silas as more likely. If so, both Timothy and Silas came to Athens (Acts 17:15.), but Timothy was sent (we sent, επεμπσαμεν — epempsamen 1 Thessalonians 3:2) right back to Thessalonica and later Paul sent Silas on to Beroea or Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:5, I sent, επεμπσα — epempsa). Then both Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia to Corinth (Acts 18:5). Alone (μονοι — monoi). Including Silas. [source]
1 Timothy 4:15 Profiting [προκοπὴ]
Better, advance or progress. Only here and Philemon 1:12. The verb προκόπτειν in 2 Timothy 2:16; 2 Timothy 3:9, 2 Timothy 3:13. In lxx, see 2 Maccabees 8:8. The figure in the word is uncertain, but is supposed to be that of pioneers cutting ( κόπτω ) a way before ( πρὸ ) an army, and so furthering its advance. The opposite is ἐγκόπτειν to cut into, throw obstacles in the way, and so hinder. See Galatians href="/desk/?q=ga+5:7&sr=1">Galatians 5:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 Peter 3:7. [source]
1 Timothy 3:6 Of the devil [τοῦ διαβόλου]
See on Matthew 4:1, and see on Satan, 1 Thessalonians 2:18. Paul uses διάβολος only twice, Ephesians 4:27; Ephesians 6:11. Commonly Satan. The use of διάβολος as an adjective is peculiar to the Pastorals (see 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3), and occurs nowhere else in N.T., and not in lxx. The phrase judgment of the devil probably means the accusing judgment of the devil, and not the judgment passed upon the devil. In Revelation 12:10Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. In 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20, men are given over to Satan for judgment. In 1 Timothy 3:7the genitive διαβόλου isclearly subjective. In this chapter it appears that a Christian can fall into the reproach of the devil (comp. Judges 1:9; 2 Peter 2:11), the snare of the devil (comp. 2 Timothy 2:26), and the judgment of the devil. [source]
1 Timothy 1:20 I delivered unto Satan [παρεδωκα τωι Σαταναι]
See this very idiom (παραδουναι τωι Σαταναι — paradounai tōi Satanāi) in 1 Corinthians 5:5. It is a severe discipline of apostolic authority, apparently exclusion and more than mere abandonment (1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 2:11), though it is an obscure matter. [source]
1 Timothy 1:20 Alexander [Αλεχανδρος]
Probably the same as the one in 2 Timothy 4:14, but not the Jew of that name in Acts 19:33, unless he had become a Christian since then. I delivered unto Satan (παρεδωκα τωι Σαταναι — paredōka tōi Satanāi). See this very idiom (παραδουναι τωι Σαταναι — paradounai tōi Satanāi) in 1 Corinthians 5:5. It is a severe discipline of apostolic authority, apparently exclusion and more than mere abandonment (1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 2:11), though it is an obscure matter. That they might be taught not to blaspheme Purpose clause with ινα — hina and first aorist passive subjunctive of παιδευω — paideuō For this use of this common late verb, see note on 1 Corinthians 11:32; 2 Corinthians 6:9. [source]
2 Timothy 4:17 And that all the Gentiles might hear [και ακουσωσιν παντα τα ετνη]
Continuation of the purpose with the aorist active subjunctive of ακουω — akouō I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion (ερυστην εκ στοματος λεοντος — erusthēn ek stomatos leontos). First aorist passive indicative of ρυομαι — ruomai (1 Thessalonians 1:10). A proverb, but not certain what the application is whether to Nero or to Satan (1 Thessalonians 2:18) or to the lion in the arena where Paul could not be sent because a Roman citizen. [source]
2 Timothy 4:17 Strengthened me [ενεδυναμωσεν με]
“Poured power into me.” See note on Philemon 4:13. That through me the message might be fully proclaimed (ινα δι εμου το κηρυγμα πληροπορητηι — hina di' emou to kērugma plērophorēthēi). Final clause with ινα — hina and first aorist passive subjunctive of πληροπορεω — plērophoreō (see 2 Timothy 4:5). Either to the rulers in Rome now or, if the first imprisonment, by his release and going to Spain. And that all the Gentiles might hear Continuation of the purpose with the aorist active subjunctive of ακουω — akouō I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion (ερυστην εκ στοματος λεοντος — erusthēn ek stomatos leontos). First aorist passive indicative of ρυομαι — ruomai (1 Thessalonians 1:10). A proverb, but not certain what the application is whether to Nero or to Satan (1 Thessalonians 2:18) or to the lion in the arena where Paul could not be sent because a Roman citizen. [source]
2 Timothy 4:17 I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion [ερυστην εκ στοματος λεοντος]
First aorist passive indicative of ρυομαι — ruomai (1 Thessalonians 1:10). A proverb, but not certain what the application is whether to Nero or to Satan (1 Thessalonians 2:18) or to the lion in the arena where Paul could not be sent because a Roman citizen. [source]
Hebrews 13:18 Honestly [καλως]
Nobly, honourably. Apparently the writer is conscious that unworthy motives have been attributed to him. Cf. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Corinthians 1:11., 2 Corinthians 1:17 [source]
1 Peter 3:7 Hindered [ἐγκόπτεσθαι]
So A. V. and Rev., and the best texts, and the majority of commentators. The word means, literally, to knock in; make an incision into; and hence, generally, to hinder or thwart (Galatians 5:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:18). Some, however, read ἐκκόπτεσθαι , to cut off or destroy. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Thessalonians 2:18 mean?

Therefore we wanted to come to you I indeed Paul both once and twice hindered us - Satan
διότι ἠθελήσαμεν ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ μὲν Παῦλος καὶ ἅπαξ καὶ δίς ἐνέκοψεν ἡμᾶς Σατανᾶς

ἠθελήσαμεν  we  wanted 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 1st Person Plural
Root: θέλω  
Sense: to will, have in mind, intend.
ἐλθεῖν  to  come 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: ἔρχομαι  
Sense: to come.
μὲν  indeed 
Parse: Particle
Root: μέν  
Sense: truly, certainly, surely, indeed.
Παῦλος  Paul 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: Παῦλος  
Sense: Paul was the most famous of the apostles and wrote a good part of the NT, the 4 Pauline epistles.
καὶ  both 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: καί  
Sense: and, also, even, indeed, but.
ἅπαξ  once 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ἅπαξ  
Sense: once, one time.
δίς  twice 
Parse: Adverb
Root: δίς  
Sense: twice.
ἐνέκοψεν  hindered 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐγκόπτω  
Sense: to cut into, to impede one’s course by cutting off his way.
ἡμᾶς  us 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Accusative 1st Person Plural
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Σατανᾶς  Satan 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: Σατανᾶς  
Sense: adversary (one who opposes another in purpose or act), the name given to.