Acts 17

Paul ministers in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens convincing many and stirring up others
Text Comments
.1 ¶ Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
.2  And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3  Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
.4  And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
  2 - A synagogue For the author of Acts, the Sabbath was still the day the Jews kept.
  4 - Chief women Notice Paul's high regard for women. Also v12.
.5  But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
 6  And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
 7  Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
 8  And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
 9  And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.
  5 - Assaulted From ephistemi, to come upon suddenly." Compare lu2001, ac2213.
  6 - Turning the world upside down Although a metaphor, this would have been a serious charge. People who choose to reject truth have nothing better to argue.
  9 - The other Instead, "the others."
.10 ¶ And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
.11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
.12  Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
.13  But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.
.14  And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.
.15  And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
  10 - Sent ... away Either because of being in personal danger or because the city leaders wanted them to go. 
  10 - Berea A city about 50 miles (70 km.) SW of Thessalonica which is on the Greece map.
  11 - Noble Literally, "wellborn" 1co0126. Attributing to the Bereans the qualities attributed to people of aristocratic birth. They were not like those holding to tradition in Thessalonica. Tradition blocks reaching people today.
  11 - Receiving the Word They relied on the Scriptures. Compare v1.
  11 - Searched From a word used for legal investigations, anakrino, meaning "to investigate," "to examine," or "to sift." See it in ac0409, ac1219. "To search" in jn0539 is from ereunao "to examine into." 
  13 - Jews ... stirred But the seed had been sown and the two missionaries who remained could work quietly.
  15 - Brought him The Berean believers treated Paul with dignity and care. Instead of traveling by foot, they apparently took passage on a ship.
.16 ¶ Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
 17  Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
 18  Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
 19  And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
 20  For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
 21  (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
  16 - Spirit ... stirred "As Paul looked upon the beauty and grandeur surrounding him, and saw the city wholly given to idolatry, his spirit was stirred with jealousy for God, whom he saw dishonored on every side, and his heart was drawn out in pity for the people  of Athens, who, notwithstanding their intellectual culture, were ignorant of the true God. The apostle was not deceived by that which he saw in this center of learning. His spiritual nature was so alive to the attraction of heavenly things that the joy and glory of the riches which will never perish made valueless in his eyes the pomp and splendor with which he was surrounded. As he saw the magnificence of Athens he realized its seductive power over lovers of art and science, and his mind was deeply impressed with the importance of the work before him.
     In this great city, where God was not worshiped, Paul was oppressed by a feeling of solitude, and he longed for the sympathy and aid of his fellow laborers. So far as human friendship was concerned, he felt himself to be utterly alone. In his epistle to the Thessalonians he expresses his feelings in the words, "Left at Athens alone." 1 Thessalonians 3:1. Obstacles that were apparently insurmountable presented themselves before him, making it seem almost hopeless for him to attempt to reach the hearts of the people." (Acts of the Apostles, p. 234.)
.22 ¶ Then Paul stood in the midst of Marsí hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
 23  For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
.24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
.25  Neither is worshipped with menís hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
  22 - Then Compare 1co0201.
  23 - Passed by Rather, "passed through" the city.
  23 - Devotions From sebasmata, Literally, "objects of worship."
  23 - Found an altar According to the Greek this was emphatically in addition to the "objects." "For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. (NIV).
  26 - Made of one blood The idea is that all came from Adam.
.26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
 27  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
.28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
.29  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and manís device.
.30  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
  26 - Times before appointed More accurately "appointed times [or "seasons"] "Times" is from kairoi meaning epochs in history rather than seasons in the yearly cycle.
  27 - Should seek Or "seek God." He planned that we should seek Him. He never comes as an uninvited or unwelcome guest je2913. Since the fall when Adam and Eve gave their loyalty to Satan, the serpent, we find God by choosing Him.
  27 - If Haply From ei ara ge, or "then indeed." God is close to us even when we don't open our hearts to Him.
  29 - Offspring of God Paul here uses the words of a Greek poet. If we have this great origin, logic would not have us worshipping images of metal or of human formation.
  30 - Ignorance God holds us accountable for what we know or have an opportunity to know. am0302. He recognizes what we don't know and judges us accordingly. Compare ro0116-21. And ps08706.
.31  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
 32 ¶ And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
 33  So Paul departed from among them.
 34  Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
  31 - Appointed a day The "day" of judgment is the Day of Atonement represented in the yearly sanctuary calendar as the day when the high priest entered the most holy place. It was "appointed" in the sense that the time of the work of Christ which it represented was precisely predicted by Daniel da0814. Compare le2327 where the time is called the "day of atonement." For another use of the word "day" to represent the time of this judgment see zc0309.
Acts home
Commentary home


Sensational ideas

As in the days of Paul who met with the intelectuals of Athens, people today easily turn from sacred Scripture to sensational ideas that come and go. Below are some that have attracted and deceived people and principles that offer wisdom. See beginning at verse 22 above.
        See Proverbs: Itís 14:12: ďThere is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.Ē Of course we are responsible to figure out what is right and accurate. The point is, we canít just establish our sense of reality and ignore the rest of the world and especially the truth in Godís book.
        You may recall the recent DaVinci Code. The creator of this idea pretended to base his ideas on Scripture but, with a close look, they were not even good scholarship. The result of this big idea was lots of money in book sales. One of the biggest series of books was the Left-behind novels and movies, again with only a pretense of Bible truth but with a very large royalty income. Sadly many will be expecting a rapture and an Antichrist and maybe a temple but when Christ returns those absorbed by these non-biblical ideas will still be looking for a rapture. Then it will be too late. If interested, look at this website near the end of Matt. 24:37 and following.
    The apostle Timothy was faced with sensational ideas. See 1 tim. 1:4  1 Tim. 4:7, 2 Tim 4:4
    The Bible is so simple and direct. The evil one  wants us to follow exciting ideas that coutradict the Scriputres. May Jesus Christ be your hope and God, your certainity.