1 Thessalonians 2:17-18
Our Adversary, The Devil
1. In v. 17 Paul expresses the strong feelings that he and his missionary companions had for the Thessalonian brethren by describing how they had been forcibly separated. In the phrase but we, brethren, having been taken away from you . . . the Greek word for taken away (aporphanizō—#642) is a very descriptive word. What is the significance of Paul’s use of this word in this verse?
2. What sentiment does Paul convey when he says in v. 17 that he had been taken away from you for a short while—in person, not in spirit?
3. At the end of v. 17 Paul uses two superlatives to describe the intensity of his feelings. Paul says that he is all the more eager with great desire to see your face. Paul does not use such intense language in his other letters to the various churches. What does this verse say about his relationship to the Thessalonians?
4. In v. 18 Paul then reveals why he had been unable to return to Thessalonica . . . for we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan hindered us. The specific reason Paul had been unable to return was because Satan hindered us. The term hindered (egkoptō—#1465) is used metaphorically. What does the term mean and what metaphor is being used?
5. We know that the Thessalonian Jews were the primary instigators of the persecution and opposition to Paul and his teaching. How would Paul have known that it was Satan who was responsible for hindering them?
6. We see Satan active in his role of hindering men and women in Scripture. Can you cite examples of Satan acting to disrupt and influence characters in Scripture?
7. Biblical scholars and theologians say that demonic activity on the earth was the strongest during the time of Christ and the first century of the church. These scholars are also of the opinion that demonic activity in the world today is approaching that same level. What sort of events in the world today would lead scholars to this conclusion? Do you agree?
8. How can we defend ourselves from the attempts of Satan and his demons to oppress and influence us? What must we do?