Acts 17:1 “…there was a synagogue of the Jews”
Philippi didn’t have a synagogue so they met by the riverside. Thessalonica has one.
2 “…as his custom was…”
Much easier to meet with those who already believe in God and are seeking to worship Him than start from scratch. This way Paul could reach Jews and believing Gentiles at the same time.
5 “…Jews who were not persuaded…”
Those who would not accept that the Messiah had to come and suffer, and that Jesus was the Messiah. Interesting that those who wouldn’t accept what Paul preached couldn’t be content to disagree. They had to destroy anyone who did accept. Evil likes to preach tolerance of other views, but it does not truly believe in it. It cannot exist with righteousness, it must overcome and destroy it. Seeing the same thing today in our society and political world.
6 “…they dragged Jason and some brethren…”
Not told who Jason is. Apparently Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke were staying with him. Commentary suggested he may have been a Hellenistic Jew.
6 “…have come here too”
Sounds like word had spread ahead of Paul as to the message of the Gospel. Perhaps not so much the Gospel, but the disturbances in the cities that he had visited. Bad news usually travels far and wide. The Jews may have received word of them through the synagogue, the Gentiles probably heard from traders and such about the disturbances in the other cities.
7-8 “…acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar…king–Jesus…troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things”
Paul would have been preaching that Jesus was the Messiah, the King and Lord of all. This would have sounded like insurrection to those would wouldn’t believe and would have disturbed the city leaders. They wouldn’t want Roman soldiers coming to put down any perceived rebellion. Rome didn’t have the reputation for asking questions, just acting quickly and violently.
10 “…brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away…”
Best to get out of town until things calmed down.
11 “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica…”
Same strategy. Went to the synagogue. But these Jews and believing Greeks were more open. They were actually interested in the truth of the scripture and therefore tested what Paul was saying by comparing what he preached to the texts. Those truly interested in knowing the truth can find it.
13 “…when the Jews from Thessalonica…”
As stated before, evil can’t be content with other opinions. The Jews from Thessalonica are actually the ones causing the disturbances, both in their own town and now in Berea.
14-15 “…brethren sent Paul away…Silas and Timothy remained there…conducted Paul…Athens…receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed”
Luke doesn’t mention whether he stayed with Silas and Timothy or left with Paul. Since he speaks of what happened to Paul at Athens while he was waiting for Silas and Timothy, I assume he was with Paul. Makes sense. As Luke was a physician, it would be wise for him to stay with Paul to take care of things when needed. He could have learned what happened in Athens from Paul later, but he speaks of it from firsthand knowledge. Commentaries aren’t clear on the matter. They cross-reference Paul’s comments from his letters to the churches to gain some insight. Appears Silas and Timothy came to Paul at Athens, then Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica to check on them. Timothy returned and told Paul how they were. At some point later, Paul wrote the letter to Thessalonica detailing this. Still, none of this lets us know where Luke was or about his movements during this time. Luke was certainly a loyal, faithful, and unassuming friend.
22 “…you are very religious…”
Today most people would say they weren’t religious, but very spiritual. Same issue. They know the spiritual world exists and that worship of something outside ourselves is necessary, but they want to maintain control. They see religion as that which is organized with rules and laws. They prefer to make up their own, thus they have a connection to the spiritual realm, but not to others’ ideas of it. Worship of God through Christ isn’t religious. All the action comes from Him, not from us, what we can do. We can’t reach Him, He had to reach down to us.
23 “…TO THE UNKNOWN GOD…”
They didn’t want to offend one of which they hadn’t heard.
25 “Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands…”
Exactly. It comes completely from Him, not from us.
26 “…He has made from one blood every nation of men…”
There is no such thing as racism on this planet because there is only one race, the Human race. There are different families and nations of men, but only one race. Certainly prejudice abounds, but it is not due to different races, only different physical characteristics. That is the truth. Unfortunately, many have fallen for the lie, and the prejudice will continue until the truth is accepted.
28 “…as also some of your own poets have said…”
Paul was read in the Greek writings as well as the Jewish ones. Would come in very handy when dealing with Gentiles.
30 “…these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent”
Reads like the first part of the book of Hebrews. Perhaps one reason some believe Paul wrote it. God allowed Man’s sin to be covered temporarily in times past by offering sacrifices. But now the ultimate sacrifice has come, Jesus, to remove sin. Man can no longer cover his sin. He must repent of it and allow Jesus to remove it completely by belief in His redemptive sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.