Difficulties in Thessalonica
17 • 1 Paul and Silas took the road through Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As Paul used to do, he went to the synagogue and on three Sabbaths he held discussions with them about the Scriptures. 3 He explained and proved to them that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead, and he said, “Such a Messiah is this Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you.”
4 Some of them were convinced and joined Paul and Silas. So too did a great number of Greeks sympathetic to Judaism and many prominent women.
5 This only made the Jews jealous, so they gathered some of the good-for-nothing street loafers and formed a mob to start a riot in the town. They came to the house of Jason, in an attempt to bring Paul and Silas before the people’s assembly. 6 Not finding them there, they dragged off Jason and some believers to the city authorities shouting, “These people who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has given them hospitality. They all disregard the decrees of the Emperor and claim that there is another king, Jesus.”
8 In this way they upset the crowd and the city officials who heard them. 9 The officials released Jason and the others on bail.
10 As soon as night fell, the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea. On their arrival they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Its members were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica and welcomed the message with great enthusiasm. Each day they examined the Scriptures to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them came to believe, as did numerous influential Greek women, and many men as well.
13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica came to know that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Beroea also, they hurried there to cause a commotion and stir up the crowds. 14 At once, the believers sent Paul away to the coast; but both Silas and Timothy stayed in Beroea. 15 Paul was taken as far as Athens by his escort, who then returned to Beroea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible.
Paul in Athens
• 16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he felt very uneasy at the sight of a city full of idols. 17 He held discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing people, as well as daily debates in the public square with ordinary passersby.
18 Epicureans and Stoic philosophers debated with him, some of them asking, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others commented, “He sounds like a promoter of foreign gods,” because he was heard to speak of Jesus and ‘the Resurrection.’ 19 So they took Paul and led him off to the Areopagus hall, and said, “We would like to know what this new teaching is that you are talking about. 20 Some of the things we hear you say sound strange to us, and we would like to know what they mean.”
21 Indeed, all Athenian citizens, as well as the foreigners who live there, have as their favorite occupation talking about or listening to the latest news.
22 Then Paul stood up in the Areopagus hall and said, “Athenian citizens, I note that in every way you are very religious. 23 As I walked around looking at your shrines, I even discovered an altar with this inscription: To an unknown God. Now, what you worship as unknown, I intend to make known to you.
24 God, who made the world and all that is in it, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, being as he is Lord of heaven and earth. 25 Nor does his worship depend on anything made by human hands, as if he were in need. Rather it is he who gives life and breath and everything else to everyone. 26 From one stock he created the whole human race to live throughout all the earth, and he fixed the time and the boundaries of each nation. 27 He wanted them to seek him by themselves, even if it were only by groping for him, succeed in finding him.
Yet he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and have our being, as some of your poets have said: for we too are his offspring. 29 If we are indeed God’s offspring, we ought not to think of divinity as something like a statue of gold or silver or stone, a product of human art and imagination.
30 But now God prefers to overlook this time of ignorance and he calls on all people to change their ways. 31 He has already set a day on which he will judge the world with justice through a man he has appointed. And, so that all may believe it, he has just given a sign by raising this man from the dead.”
32 When they heard Paul speak of a resurrection from death, some made fun of him, while others said, “We must hear you on this topic some other time.” 33 At that point Paul left. 34 But a few did join him, and believed. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus court, a woman named Damaris, and some others.
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