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Acts: Chapter 17

Categories: ActsTags: 2.2 min read

The apostle Paul’s 2nd Journey with fellow travellers, Silas and Timothy, continues.

The next stop was Thessalonica, a Grecian city with enough Jewish residents to warrant a Synagogue. You may have noticed that although Paul was keen to spread the gospel to the gentiles, he usually began by contacting the Jewish community.

Acts 17:2 – 3 Paul argued from the scriptures – the Old Testament – that Jesus was Christ and had to suffer and to die and rise from the dead.

Acts 17:4 – 9 After three weeks of debate, some of them believed Paul and Silas. Those who didn’t, gathered a riotous crowd together. They raided Jason’s house where Paul had been staying but could only find Jason. The angry crowd took Jason and some of the other Christian believers to the rulers of the city and accused them of setting up a king called Jesus, in opposition to Caesar. The rulers listened to the complaint and were so disturbed that the arrested Jason but let the others go.

Acts 17:10 – 12 Paul, Silas and Timothy left straight away for Berea and in the synagogue, Paul’s preaching was discussed, the scriptures were read and checked. The men women of Berea were keen to know the truth and accepted that Jesus was Christ.

Acts 17:13 – 14 Then Jews arrived from Thessalonica to stir up trouble so Paul left, but Silas and Timothy stayed.

Acts 17:15 – 34 The rest of the chapter is devoted to Paul’s visit to Athens. He was appalled to see so much Idol worship. Again he went to the synagogue first and debated with the Jews. He also went to the market place and discovered that the people of Athens were philosophers. We read in Acts 17:18 of Epicureans and Stoics. In our discussion at Petersfield, we learned that Epicureans believed that nature was the most important thing. They pursued the best things of life because they believed there was no life after death. The Stoics taught that virtue, the highest good, was based on knowledge and reason.

Acts 17:21 tells us that the citizens were eager to learn anything new. Paul used this to his advantage. There were shrines to every Greek god and goddess and even one for the unknown god. So Paul stood up and proclaimed that he believed in the unknown God. The creator of all things. Please read Acts 17:29 – 31. As soon as Paul’s audience heard reference to the resurrection of the dead, they switched off. The crowd was split three ways. Those who mocked, those who would like to hear more sometime, and in Acts 17:34, some men and women joined Paul and believed.

ADDITIONAL READING

FURTHER THOUGHTS

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