Acts 17:1-9 Paul reasoned with the Jews in the synagogue in Thessalonica for 3 days that Jesus was the Messiah. Some Jews believed, more Gentiles believed, and quite a bit of leading women too. Jealous Jews helped form a mob that sought out Paul, Silas, and Timothy at the house of a man named Jason. They weren’t there, so they dragged Jason from his home to the authorities and accused him of harboring these men (Paul, Silas, and Timothy) who are turning the city upside down preaching a new King (Jesus) which is treason, for they only worshipped one king alone, Caesar. They took a bond from Jason and let him go. The brothers send Paul, Silas, and Timothy away for their protection.
Notes: One of the most serious crimes in the Roman Empire was to acknowledge allegiance to any king but Caesar.
taken money as security. A bond, which would be forfeited by Jason should Paul and his companions cause more trouble. As a result, they had no choice but to leave Thessalonica.
Acts 17:10-15 Paul, Silas, and Timothy arrived in Berea. Again they went to the synagogue and preached Jesus. These Jews actually examined the scriptures eagerly to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed along with Gentiles and women of high standing. The unbelieving Jews from Thessalonica heard of the conversions in Berea, so they sent people there to stir up trouble. Again, the brothers sent Paul away, but Paul left Silas and Timothy behind to encourage the new believers. Paul reached Athens and eventually sent for Silas and Timothy to come to him.
Notes: Athens. The cultural center of Greece. At its zenith, Athens was home to the most renowned philosophers in history, including Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, who was arguably the most influential philosopher of all.
Acts 17:16-31 While Paul waited for Silas and Timothy to arrive, he reasoned with the Jews in the synagogue and marketplace daily. Epicurean and Stoic philosophers philosophers conversed with Paul and brought him to the Areopagus to hear all that Paul had to say about this new teaching, for the people of the city spent a lot of their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. Paul used this opportunity to tell them about the TRUE God referring to one of the MANY idols in the city that said on it, “To the unknown god’. Paul said the TRUE God is very near to everyone, for in Him, we live and move and have our being, and if they seek Him, He will make Himself known to them. All of the other gods they worship are false, and God has overlooked their ignorance in times past, but demands that all know the truth and repent, because He has fixed a day when He will judge the entire world through Jesus, His Son, whom He has resurrected from the dead.
Notes: Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. Epicurean philosophy taught that the chief end of man was the avoidance of pain. Epicureans were materialists—they did not deny the existence of God, but they believed he did not become involved with the affairs of men. When a person died, they believed his body and soul disintegrated.
Acts 17:32-34 Some mocked at the notion that one can be raised from the dead. Others wanted to hear more at another time. Some of the men of the city joined Paul and believed his message.
Notes: resurrection of the dead. Greek philosophy did not believe in bodily resurrection.