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  1. When Paul and Silas had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was his custom, Paul went to the Jews, and on three Sabbath days he led them in a discussion from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. He also said, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great number of God-fearing Greeks and more than a few of the prominent women.

    But the Jews[a] became jealous and gathered from the marketplace some wicked men, who formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house and searched for Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the mob. When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, shouting, “These men, who have stirred up trouble all over the world, have come here too, and Jason has welcomed them as guests! They are all acting contrary to Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, Jesus!” The crowd and the city officials were stirred up when they heard these things. They took a security bond from Jason and the others and then let them go.

    That same night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were more noble-minded than the Thessalonians. They received the word very eagerly and examined the Scriptures every day to see if these things were so.

    Many of them believed, along with more than a few prominent Greek women and men.

    But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that the word of God was being proclaimed by Paul in Berea, they also went there to agitate and stir up the crowds. Then the brothers immediately sent Paul away to the seacoast, but Silas and Timothy stayed there. Those who escorted Paul brought him all the way to Athens. When they left, they received instructions for Silas and Timothy to join Paul as soon as possible.

    While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was very distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he led a discussion in the synagogue with the Jews and those who feared God, as well as with those who happened to be in the marketplace every day.

    Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also debated with him. Some said, “What is this seed picker[b] trying to say?” Others said, “He seems to be someone who is proclaiming foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

    They took him and brought him to the council of the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are talking about? You seem to be bringing in some ideas that are strange to our ears, so we want to know what these things mean.” (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there enjoyed doing nothing more than telling or listening to something new.)

    Then Paul stood up in front of the council of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. For as I was walking around and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar on which had been inscribed, ‘To an unknown god.’ Now what you worship as unknown—this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

    “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made with hands. Neither is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, since he himself gives all people life and breath and everything they have. From one man,[c] he made every nation of mankind to live over the entire face of the earth. He determined the appointed times and the boundaries where they would live. He did this so they would seek God[d] and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[e] As some of your own poets have said, ‘Indeed, we are also his offspring.’[f]

    “Therefore, since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by human skill and planning. Although God overlooked the times of ignorance, he is now commanding all people everywhere to repent, because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he appointed. He provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

    When they heard about the resurrection from the dead, some of them started to scoff. But others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” So Paul left the council. However, some men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them were Dionysius (a member of the council of the Areopagus) and a woman named Damaris, as well as others with them.

    [a] Acts 17:5 Some witnesses to the text add who did not believe.
    [b] Acts 17:18 That is, one who picks up various seeds of learning and thoughtlessly passes them on.
    [c] Acts 17:26 Some witnesses to the text read blood.
    [d] Acts 17:27 Some witnesses to the text read the Lord.
    [e] Acts 17:28 This might be a quotation from Epimenides, who lived around 600 bc.
    [f] Acts 17:28 This seems to be a quotation from Aratus, who wrote approximately 270 bc.

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