From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

HINDRANCE. —The life of communion with God and of obedience to His revealed will is regarded as the normal state and right relationship of man made in God’s image and for His glory. All defect and deflection from this standard are the result of external and internal hindrances. The world is an environment of hindrances and causes of stumbling ( Matthew 18:7). Such is the pressure of opposing influences that the entrance into life has to be by a narrow gate ( Matthew 7:13). Instances of these outward and inward difficulties are given in the parable of the Sower ( Matthew 13:18-23), and in that of the Tares their final elimination is predicted ( Matthew 13:41).

1 . The following hindrances are specially emphasized: (1) prosperity and power ( Matthew 4:8;  Matthew 19:24,  Luke 16:31;  Luke 18:23); (2) self-righteousness and the arresting effect of an inferior standard ( Matthew 5:20;  Matthew 6:2;  Matthew 6:5;  Matthew 6:16;  Matthew 23:5-7,  Luke 18:14); (3) family claims and their displacing power ( Matthew 8:21;  Matthew 10:37); (4) want of faith ( Matthew 14:31;  Matthew 17:20;  Matthew 25:25,  Luke 22:32); (5) blindness of heart in its progressive stages of ( a ) ignorance ( Matthew 13:15,  Luke 18:18;  Luke 23:34,  John 17:25, repeated in  Acts 3:17,  1 Corinthians 2:8), ( b ) indifference ( Luke 7:32),—being the interval of apathy and discouragement that succeeds when ideals once regarded as final cease to fill the imagination and satisfy the heart, and institutions once held to be sacred fail to yield the expected results,—( c ) inability to discern and feel ( Matthew 16:3;  Matthew 23:37), and lastly ( d ) conscious malignity towards the Kingdom of God ( Matthew 23:13;  Matthew 27:18,  Mark 7:8,  Luke 11:15;  Luke 11:52, cf.  Romans 1:32).

2 . Comparative moral values are attached to these hindrances ( Matthew 8:10;  Matthew 11:21-24;  Matthew 12:41-42,  Mark 12:41-44,  Luke 7:47;  Luke 17:16). Prayer may be offered for their removal ( Matthew 26:39, similarly  2 Corinthians 12:8).

3 . Christ’s relationship to the world-spirit is one of complete opposition ( John 16:33;  John 18:36). The victory that can be obtained over all hindrances makes a sanctified cross the emblem of the Christian life ( Matthew 16:24,  Mark 8:34,  Luke 9:23). This power to overcome, promised to those who abide in Christ ( John 15:7), is referred to in the Epistles as already a verified fact in Christian experience ( Romans 8:35-39,  Philippians 4:13).

Stumbling-block, stumbling-stone (πρὀσκομμα, προσκοπή, also σκάνδαλον, ‘trap’ or ‘snare’ [ Romans 11:9], and frequently translation ‘offence,’ ‘offend’ [ Matthew 16:23;  Matthew 18:6-9;  Matthew 26:31,  Luke 17:1]). The root-idea is that of encountering an obstacle where such ought not to be, as on a public road. In its fig. sense the offence is most blameworthy where the trust is most implicit and unreserved, as in the confidence of children ( Matthew 18:6).

In the East the bridle-path is seldom repaired. Stones may be cast out upon it in clearing the neighbouring fields; squared stones for building, collected at the road-side for transport, are often scattered over the path; if a bed of sand suitable for mixing with lime be found near it, the path may be dug into and the cavity left unfilled. No harm can arise from it, men say, except to those for whom it is decreed. The people of the village soon come to know of it, and they are under no obligation to strangers. The better prepared roads have generally been constructed for Government purposes and by forced labour, so that the people of the locality take little civic interest in their condition and preservation. Hence stumbling-blocks are frequently met with, and cause little surprise or comment.

In modern Palestine criminals and men of depraved life are called muʽ aththărîn, ‘those who have been made to stumble’; and the same epithet is applied to such as are in trouble through misfortune.

The Cross that made God the sacrificer and suppliant, and called for faith in a Saviour who could not save Himself, was a stumbling-block or offence to the wisdom of the world, and to all its religious traditions ( Romans 9:33,  1 Corinthians 1:23;  1 Peter 2:8).

G. M. Mackie.

Webster's Dictionary [2]

(1): ( v. t.) That which hinders; an impediment.

(2): ( v. t.) The act of hindering, or the state of being hindered.