Original Research

Hindrance as a motivation in divine guidance: The example of Paul

Mark Wilson
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6097 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6097 | © 2021 Mark Wilson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 May 2020 | Published: 16 February 2021

About the author(s)

Mark Wilson, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, Faculty of New Testament and Early Christian Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


A number of factors are at work as they relate to divine guidance in the life of a Christian. Examples of odegeology – the neologism given to this dimension of practical theology – are discussed in this article around the scriptural topos of hindrance as a motivation in Paul’s guidance. Four examples are considered that are drawn from the book of Acts and from his own letters. The circumstances related to these hindrances are discussed, and relevant applications are drawn from them. The article closes with a contemporary example of hindrance resulting from the coronavirus pandemic of 2019. It looks at lessons Christians are learning about the hindrances caused by this virus as they cope with restrictive stay-at-home orders. These are suggested as somewhat analogous to Paul’s two extended imprisonments.

Contribution: This article is the first to explore systematically all the texts regarding hindrance as a motivation for guidance related to Paul in the book of Acts and his letters. Guidance in the Christian life remains an important dimension within Practical Theology, a theological discipline within the journal’s publishing tradition.


hindrance; odegeology; Paul, Acts; ambition; imprisonment; COVID-19


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