Why did Paul say he handed over Hymenaeus and Alexander to Satan?


I just read your online article about Hymenaeus and Alexander shipwrecking their faith (I Timothy 1:20). Good thoughts.

What's your opinion of Paul's statement that he had turned these guys "over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme"?


"This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme" (I Timothy 1:18-20).

The word “delivered” translates the Greek word, paradidomi, which literally means a betrayal or a surrender. It means that Paul is acknowledging his failure to keep these two brothers out of sin. It is a public statement that we lost a brother to Satan, so we are letting go in hopes that the misery that will result will teach the person not to willfully disobey God.

The same word is found when Paul commanded that a fornicator be removed from the membership in Corinth.

"In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (I Corinthians 5:4-5).

What is interesting is that this same word is used when a person is cast into prison (Matthew 4:12). That is how Christians view it. They are free from sin (Romans 6:7), but when a Christian returns to sin he is also returning to bondage or imprisonment. "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16). Thus Satan is looked upon as a jailer and the person who refuses to stay out of Satan's realm is released to fall back under Satan's control. But it is done in hope that the person will realize what they lost and return; that he will destroy his fleshly desires so he might be saved.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email