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Acts 17

Paul preaches in Thessalonica
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul, as his custom was, went in to them for three Sabbath days and reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary that the Christ suffer and rise from the dead, saying: This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ. 4 And some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas, as did many of the devout Greeks; and not a few of the chief women.
   5 But the Jews, being moved with jealousy, taking along some wicked men from the market place and having assembled a mob, set the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the people. 6 And when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brothers before the rulers of the city, crying: These that have turned the world upside down have come here also. 7 Jason has received them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus. 8 And they agitated the crowd and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. 9 And when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
   10 And the brother immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night to Berea; who when they arrived there, went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so. 12 Therefore, many of them believed, including Greek women of high standing and many Greek men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there, likewise stirring up and inciting the crowds. 14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 But they that escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving instructions for Silas and Timothy (that they should came to him with all speed), they departed.

Paul preaches in Athens
   16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw the city full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with Jews and the religious persons, and in the marketplace every day with those that met him. 18 And some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also encountered him. And some said: What will this babbler say? Others: He seems to be a preacher of strange gods! Because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying: May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by you? 20 For you bring certain strange things to our ears. Therefore, we would like to know what these things mean. 21 (Now all the Athenians and the strangers living there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing). 22 And Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said: You men of Athens, I perceive you are very religious in all things. 23 For as I walked along, I observed the objects of your worship; and I found an altar with this inscription: To the unknown god. Whom you worship in ignorance, Him I proclaim to you.
   24 The God that made the world and all things therein, He, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands. 25 Neither is He served by men's hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He gives to all life and breath and all things. 26 And He has made from one, every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times set for them and the bounds of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God; so that they might feel after Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and have our being- as some even of your own poets have said: For we are also his offspring. 29 Being then the offspring of God, we should not think that the Divine is like gold, or silver, or stone, something crafted by art and the imagination of man. 30 Therefore, the times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands men that they should all everywhere repent. 31 Inasmuch as He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom He has ordained; of which He has given assurance to all men, in that He has raised him from the dead.
   32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said: We will hear you concerning this yet again. 33 Thus Paul went out from among them. 34 But some people joined him and believed, among whom was Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.


17:7 There was no other religion in the area which produced such profound unity between Jews and Gentiles, men and women, rich and poor. Today too, God calls very different people to faith in His Son, just as the disciples were a very diverse group. This means that the potential for both unity and division is very high in the church.

17:11 The Bereans are our example- to not just accept what we are taught, but to daily, systematically “search the Scriptures”. We should be in daily contact with the Bible.

17:12 Therefore- People believed because they searched the Scriptures daily (v. 11). Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17).

17:16 We should also have hearts that bleed for the lostness and ignorance of this world.

17:23 We should walk through this world observant and sensitive, and use whatever we see around us as a springboard into sharing the Gospel with people. Likewise in v. 28 Paul quotes one of their poets to them, rather like we may quote a line from a popular song, in order to get over the content of the Gospel.

17:31 Doctrine has meaning in practice. If we believe that Jesus is returning and there will be a judgment day- then we ought to repent now rather than then!

17:34 There is emphasis throughout Acts 16 and 17 on how women believed; religion was largely a hobby for men, but Christianity was very much a woman’s religion because of the unusual meaning and value it attached to all people, including women.