+     Text Size    

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.

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.

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.

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.)

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' 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 men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

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 man's device.

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

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.

Commentary for Acts 17

Paul at Thessalonica. (1-9) The noble conduct of the Bereans. (10-15) Paul at Athens. (16-21) He preaches there. (22-31) The scornful conduct of the Athenians. (32-34)1-9 The drift and scope of Paul's preaching and arguing, was to prove that Jesus is the Christ. He must needs suffer for us, because he could not otherwise purchase our redemption for us; and he must needs have risen again, because he could not otherwise apply the redemption to us. We are to preach concerning Jesus that he is Christ; therefore we may hope to be saved by him, and are bound to be ruled by him. The unbelieving Jews were angry, because the apostles preached to the Gentiles, that they might be saved. How strange it is, that men should grudge others the privileges they will not themselves accept! Neither rulers nor people need be troubled at the increase of real Christians, even though turbulent spirits should make religion the pretext for evil designs. Of such let us beware, from such let us withdraw, that we may show a desire to act aright in society, while we claim our right to worship God according to our consciences.

10-15 The Jews in Berea applied seriously to the study of the word preached unto them. They not only heard Paul preach on the sabbath, but daily searched the Scriptures, and compared what they read with the facts related to them. The doctrine of Christ does not fear inquiry; advocates for his cause desire no more than that people will fully and fairly examine whether things are so or not. Those are truly noble, and likely to be more and more so, who make the Scriptures their rule, and consult them accordingly. May all the hearers of the gospel become like those of Berea, receiving the word with readiness of mind, and searching the Scriptures daily, whether the things preached to them are so.

16-21 Athens was then famed for polite learning, philosophy, and the fine arts; but none are more childish and superstitious, more impious, or more credulous, than some persons, deemed eminent for learning and ability. It was wholly given to idolatry. The zealous advocate for the cause of Christ will be ready to plead for it in all companies, as occasion offers. Most of these learned men took no notice of Paul; but some, whose principles were the most directly contrary to Christianity, made remarks upon him. The apostle ever dwelt upon two points, which are indeed the principal doctrines of Christianity, Christ and a future state; Christ our way, and heaven our end. They looked on this as very different from the knowledge for many ages taught and professed at Athens; they desire to know more of it, but only because it was new and strange. They led him to the place where judges sat who inquired into such matters. They asked about Paul's doctrine, not because it was good, but because it was new. Great talkers are always busy-bodies. They spend their time in nothing else, and a very uncomfortable account they have to give of their time who thus spend it. Time is precious, and we are concerned to employ it well, because eternity depends upon it, but much is wasted in unprofitable conversation.

22-31 Here we have a sermon to heathens, who worshipped false gods, and were without the true God in the world; and to them the scope of the discourse was different from what the apostle preached to the Jews. In the latter case, his business was to lead his hearers by prophecies and miracles to the knowledge of the Redeemer, and faith in him; in the former, it was to lead them, by the common works of providence, to know the Creator, and worship Him. The apostle spoke of an altar he had seen, with the inscription, "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD." This fact is stated by many writers. After multiplying their idols to the utmost, some at Athens thought there was another god of whom they had no knowledge. And are there not many now called Christians, who are zealous in their devotions, yet the great object of their worship is to them an unknown God? Observe what glorious things Paul here says of that God whom he served, and would have them to serve. The Lord had long borne with idolatry, but the times of this ignorance were now ending, and by his servants he now commanded all men every where to repent of their idolatry. Each sect of the learned men would feel themselves powerfully affected by the apostle's discourse, which tended to show the emptiness or falsity of their doctrines.

32-34 The apostle was treated with more outward civility at Athens than in some other places; but none more despised his doctrine, or treated it with more indifference. Of all subjects, that which deserves the most attention gains the least. But those who scorn, will have to bear the consequences, and the word will never be useless. Some will be found, who cleave to the Lord, and listen to his faithful servants. Considering the judgement to come, and Christ as our Judge, should urge all to repent of sin, and turn to Him. Whatever matter is used, all discourses must lead to Him, and show his authority; our salvation, and resurrection, come from and by Him.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Acts 17

  • Terry on Acts 17:11
    What scriptures can you share with a person that you care about but don't understand the fact that every thing, is not going to go or be ok every day.

    Please help me.
  • Bendito Palavra - in Reply on Acts 17
    Some of my favorites:

    John chapter 16 is Jesus preparing his disciples for difficulty, ending with "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (verse 33).

    Acts 14:22 is an exhortation to continue in the faith through tribulation.

    Romans chapter 8 is Paul's testimony on hardship and the believer's victory in Christ Jesus.

    Revelation 2:8-11 is Jesus encouraging the suffering Church.

    Revelation 7:9-17 shows us a great multitude come out of tribulation, redeemed by the blood of the lamb.
  • What Can We Get From Reading The Bible - in Reply on Acts 17:11
    Proverbs is a great Book to get wisdom.

    Psalms is about the realities of life: high, low; rejoicing and weeping; regrets and renewal, and much more.

    Song of Solomon is a picture of The Lord and his Bride.

    The Old Testament history records are about no matter how far you sink and sin; reject God: eventually people realized they must return to God; and God took them back.

    It seems when things are going good: we slip back into our old sinful ways.

    Lamentations is a heartbreaking book. It shows you how far God goes to bring us back to Him.

    I can never understand how easily we can just drop God out of our lives, when it suits us. How do we do that? Do we think that He doesn't love like us; ache when we hurt ourselves.

    I'm weird I guess. I could see how viewing movies on Netflix did not edify my spirit. I dropped them and had PureFlix for a time. The process of being entertained disturbs me. That's when I really started reading huge sections of the Bible. One day I made myself read all the genealogies. I'm asking what does this teach me? God knows everyone who has ever lived! He keeps it all written down. He knows us; we aren't invisible like we feel sometimes in a crowd or standing in line at the grocery store. He's as close as you let Him be. I never cry alone. He's with me watching clouds, or sunsets. I adore rain because I see the flash and hear the thunder and to me... it's me hearing his sound. We need more God consciousness. You can have as much as you want. No limits. He will show you Himself in the world as much as you can see Him in his written Word: the Bible. Dive in, get wet, splash it on someone else. Maybe that's how we share it with those we love? Experience the love of our Savior. I cannot define the depth of His love. Lean into Him. That's all I can say. Mishael
  • Chris - in Reply on Acts 17:11
    Terry, that's wonderful that you desire to help a dear one in this matter. As you know, most of the Bible gives the 'tonic' required to overcome our daily struggles in life, whether in the physical, emotional or spiritual realm. But I understand that you are actually looking for Scriptures that just demonstrate what a person goes through in life. The only real pertinent portions I can think of, relate to actual peoples' concerns & struggles within, so I offer the following:

    a. King David. In many of the his Psalms, he writes of his anguish, loneliness, fear of the enemy, his heart-cry over sin, and the guilt he struggled with because of it. We also see his huge grief in the loss of his son (2 Samuel 12:15-24). See also Psalms 38 & 42 for various expressions of sorrow & despair. You can see many of his other Psalms.He was well acquainted with grief.

    b. Elijah. 1 Kings 19:1-14. We see him fearing for his life as well as a lot of self-pity.

    c. Jonah. Jonah chapter 4. He is an angry man, disobedient & selfish.

    d. Job. Job 1 & 2. As you know, here is a man who lost everything: his family, servants & animals. He then was physically afflicted with boils. Chapter 3 shows some of his grief as well as other chapters as he talks with his 'friends' & God about what he is going through.

    e. Jeremiah. Also known as the weeping prophet, Jeremiah suffered from constant rejection by the people he loved and reached out to. God had called him to preach, yet forbidden him to marry and have children. He lived alone, he ministered alone, he was poor, ridiculed, and rejected by his people. In the midst of it, he displayed great spiritual faith and strength, and yet we also see his honesty as he wrestled with despair and a great sense of failure. Jeremiah 20:14-18.

    I hope that as you read these portions, & if you can read as much about the person as possible, you will learn how many of these notable folk suffered a great deal inwardly for an extended period of time.
  • Sola Famakin on Acts 17:6
    What is the meaning of Judges 7:20 please?

  • Mishael - in Reply on Acts 17:6
    Middle watch - That is, of the second watch; for though afterward the night was divided into four watches by the Romans,

    Matthew14:25, yet in more ancient times, and in the eastern parts, it was divided into three watches:

    he chose the dark and dead of the night, to increase their terror by the trumpets, whose sound would then be loudest, and the lamps, whose light would then shine most brightly, to surprise them, and conceal the smallness of their numbers.
  • Vincent on Acts 17:3
    All the Jews believed the resurrection OF the dead. However, it was the resurrection FROM the dead which proved Christ as the Son of God. And without this resurrection, our faith in Christ would be in vain 1Cor 15:12-19.
  • Tom on Acts 17:26
    No matter how one reads it, whether "one race," "one blood," or "one family," the meaning is the same: all men are descended from a single ancestor, Adam. Adam named Eve as the "mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20); and the proof of this is evidenced by many things, one of these being the ability of a man of any race to provide a blood transfusion for a man of any other race. Though types may appear the oneness and brotherhood of man are affirmed in Acts17:26; and this was a principle far above anything the Greek philosophers ever dreamed of. Of course, the physical oneness of all men is the unity in view here as in Galatians 3:28; "There is neither Jew nor Greek/ neither male nor female:"
  • Fred scanlan on Acts 17
    Hear christian! Christ taught us not to be afraid! He told Philip, Believe in God. Very simple clear speech. The Holy Spirit has included Pauls acts, to warn us of The obstinancey of the human nature. Paul goes to the heart, directs our vision, and explains the relationship of the Father through creation, that He will judge the world in truth and righteousness.According to His mercy He saved us by the complete sacrificial atonement found in Christ. Acts 4;12 His boldness is evident, the holy spirit strengthening him. Don't be afraid Christian! His only begotten son .
  • Chris c,oke on Acts 17
    Act 17,taught us to preach to world without fear and there is oppositions to word of God always.


Do you have a Bible comment or question?

2000 characters remain...

Bible Options

Bible Trivia

With whom did Paul and Silas stay in Thessalonica?
  • James
  • Devout women
  • Jason
  • Judas
  • Mark