1-Thessalonians - 2:18

18 because we wanted to come to you - indeed, I, Paul, once and again - but Satan hindered us.

Verse In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of 1-Thessalonians 2:18.

Differing Translations

Compare verses for better understanding.
Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
because we would fain have come unto you, I Paul once and again; and Satan hindered us.
For we would have come unto you, I Paul indeed, once and again: but Satan hath hindered us.
wherefore we have desired to come to you, even I Paul, both once and twice, and Satan has hindered us.
wherefore we wished to come unto you, (I indeed Paul,) both once and again, and the Adversary did hinder us;
Why we would have come to you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
On this account we wanted to come to you - at least I Paul wanted again and again to do so - but Satan hindered us.
For which reason we made attempts to come to you, even I, Paul, once and again; but Satan kept us from coming.
For we wanted to come to you, (indeed, I, Paul, attempted to do so once, and then again,) but Satan impeded us.
That was why we made up our minds to go and see you – at least I, Paul, did, more than once – but Satan put difficulties in our way.

*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

Satan hindered us. Luke relates that Paul was in one instance hindered, (Acts 20:3) inasmuch as the Jews laid an ambush for him in the way. The same thing, or something similar, may have occurred frequently. It is not without good reason, however, that Paul ascribes the whole of this to Satan, for, as he teaches elsewhere, (Ephesians 6:12) we have to wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities of the air, and spiritual wickednesses, etc. For, whenever the wicked molest us, they fight under Satan's banner, and are his instruments for harassing us. More especially, when our endeavors are directed to the work of the Lord, it is certain that everything that hinders proceeds from Satan; and would to God that this sentiment were deeply impressed upon the minds of all pious persons -- that Satan is continually contriving, by every means, in what way he may hinder or obstruct the edification of the Church! We would assuredly be more careful to resist him; we would take more care to maintain sound doctrine, of which that enemy strives so keenly to deprive us. We would also, whenever the course of the gospel is retarded, know whence the hindrance proceeds. He says elsewhere, (Romans 1:13) that God had not permitted him, but both are true: for although Satan does his part, yet God retains supreme authority, so as to open up a way for us, as often as he sees good, against Satan's will, and in spite of his opposition. Paul accordingly says truly that God does not permit, although the hindrance comes from Satan.

Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul - The phrase "even I Paul," seems to be used by way of emphasis. He had a special desire to go himself. He had sent Timothy to them 1-Thessalonians 3:2, 1-Thessalonians 3:5, and perhaps, some might have been disposed to allege that Paul was afraid to go himself, or that he did not feel interest enough in them to go, though he was willing to send one to visit them. Paul, therefore, is at much pains to assure them that his long separation from them was unavoidable.
But Satan hindered us - Compare the notes on 2-Corinthians 12:7. In what way this was done is unknown, and conjecture would be useless. The apostle recognized the hand of Satan in frustrating his attempt to do good, and preventing the accomplishment of his strong desire to see his Christian friends. In the obstacles, therefore, to the performance of our duty, and in the hindrances of our enjoyment, it is not improper to trace the hand of the great enemy of good. The agency of Satan may, for aught we can tell, often be employed in the embarrassments that we meet with in life. The hindrances which we meet with in our efforts to do good, when the providence of God seems to favor us, and his word and Spirit seem to call us to a particular duty, often look very much like the work of Satan. They are just such obstructions as a very wicked being would be glad to throw in our way.

Even I Paul - He had already sent Timothy and Silas to them; but he himself was anxious to see them, and had purposed this once and again, but Satan hindered; i.e., some adversary, as the word means, whether the devil himself, or some of his children. There was, however, such a storm of persecution raised up against him, that his friends did not think it prudent to permit him to go till the storm had been somewhat allayed.

Wherefore we would have come unto you,.... They not only had a will, and purposed in themselves, and entered into some resolutions to come unto them, but endeavoured to put them into execution:
even I Paul: as well as Silas and Timothy; the latter of which had been with them, and the others had as good a will, and especially Paul: and that
once and again: or "once and twice" so the Jews used (h) to speak , "one time and a second"; that is, several times:
but Satan hindered us. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, "hindered me"; by moving the mob which rose at Thessalonica, to go to Berea, and disturb the apostle there; which obliged him, contrary to his will, to go to Athens instead of returning to Thessalonica, as he intended; and when at Athens, from whence also he might purpose to return thither, he was hindered by the disputes the Jews and the Stoics, and Epicurean philosophers, had with him; and after that, might be prevented by the lying in wait of the Jews for him, of which he might be informed; or by disturbances raised in the church, or churches where he was, by the false teachers; which required his stay with them, to oppose and refute error and heresy and to make up differences that arose among true Christians, fomented by Satan and his emissaries; see Romans 1:13. Satan does all he can to hinder the preaching of the Gospel, the hearing of the word, the profession of religion, and the saints coming together, and having spiritual conversation with each other; being, as his name "Satan" signifies, an enemy to Christ and his interest, and to the souls of men: indeed he can do nothing but by divine permission, nor can he hinder the will of God, and the execution of that, though he often hinders the will of man, or man from doing his will; he hindered the apostle from doing what he willed and purposed, but he did not hinder the will of God, which was that Paul should be employed in other work elsewhere.
(h) Maimon. in Hilch. Chobel, c. 5. sect. 10.

Wherefore--The oldest manuscripts read, "Because," or "Inasmuch as."
we would--Greek, "we wished to come"; we intended to come.
even I Paul--My fellow missionaries as well as myself wished to come; I can answer for myself that I intended it more than once. His slightly distinguishing himself here from his fellow missionaries, whom throughout this Epistle he associates with himself in the plural, accords with the fact that Silvanus and Timothy stayed at Berea when Paul went on to Athens; where subsequently Timothy joined him, and was thence sent by Paul alone to Thessalonica (1-Thessalonians 3:1).
Satan hindered us--On a different occasion "the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Jesus" (so the oldest manuscripts read), Acts 16:6-7, forbad or hindered them in a missionary design; here it is Satan, acting perhaps by wicked men, some of whom had already driven him out of Thessalonica (Acts 17:13-14; compare John 13:27), or else by some more direct "messenger of Satan--a thorn in the flesh" (2-Corinthians 12:7; compare 2-Corinthians 11:14). In any event, the Holy Ghost and the providence of God overruled Satan's opposition to further His own purpose. We cannot, in each case, define whence hindrances in good undertakings arise; Paul in this case, by inspiration, was enabled to say; the hindrance was from Satan. GROTIUS thinks Satan's mode of hindering Paul's journey to Thessalonica was by instigating the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers to cavil, which entailed on Paul the necessity of replying, and so detained him; but he seems to have left Athens leisurely (Acts 17:33-34; Acts 18:1). The Greek for "hindered" is literally, "to cut a trench between one's self and an advancing foe, to prevent his progress"; so Satan opposing the progress of the missionaries.

Satan - By those persecuting Jews, Acts 17:13.

*More commentary available at chapter level.

Discussion on 1-Thessalonians 2:18

User discussion of the verse.

*By clicking Submit, you agree to our Privacy Policy & Terms of Use.