Bible Study: Acts 17

Notes for my weekly Bible Study group.
Resources

Overview

  • Paul and Silas traveled through two cities: Amphipolis and Apollonia. Paul was dependent on the Holy Spirit’s prompting to minister and didn’t sense the Spirit moving in Amphipolis and Apollonia so they didn’t stop to minister.
  • When they reached Thessalonica Paul and his partners found women praying to God by the river and shared the gospel with them.
  • Paul met with Jewish leaders for three weeks to discuss scripture.  Paul explained how Jesus (the Messiah) had to suffer and rise from the dead.
  • Paul and his colleagues were staying at Jason’s house. The Jews becames jealous and started looking for Paul, Silas, and Timothy. When they couldn’t find thm they dragged Jason out in front of the mob and yelled at him about what Paul and his friends were doing. The crowd accused Paul and his friends of undermining Caesar’s authority by claiming Jesus was the rightful king. Jason and others are imprisoned until the city officials took “a security bond” (bribe) from Jason and the others, enabling them to be released. This bribe/agreement ensured that Paul would never be allowed back in Thessalonica.
  • Paul and his colleagues moved on from Thessalonica to Berea.  The people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and listened eagerly to Paul’s message.  Many Jews in Thessalonica realized Paul and his colleagues had gone to Berea so they planned to go there and cause trouble for Paul.  The people in Berea that had become believers decide to help Paul and send him to the coast before the troublemakers from Thessalonica could arrive. They later send Silas and Timothy to join Paul on the coast.
  • Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens. While Paul was waiting for them he was bothered by all the idols he saw in the city. Paul went daily went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers om Berea. The philosophers were curious about Paul’s preaching and took him to the high council of Berea. Paul told the high council that he noticed an altar with an inscription “To an Unknown God”.  Paul explains that this “unknown” God is the same God he had been talking about. A few members of the high council were interested in Paul’s discussion and became believers in Christ.

Summary

  • In just three short weeks, Paul persuaded people in Thessalonica to follow Jesus. The new believers encountered persecution but they did not allow their persecution to convince them to abandon Jesus. Their perseverance and their modeling after Paul became an example to others in the region, leading even more people to Jesus.
  • Paul reasoned, explained, and showed that Jesus was the Messiah, enablng them to be persuaded to follow Jesus.

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