What happened in Thessalonica
1 Paul and his friends continued their journey. They went through the two towns called Amphipolis and Apollonia. Then they arrived in the city of Thessalonica. There was a Jewish meeting place there. 2 Paul went to the meeting place, as he usually did on a Jewish day of rest. On three rest days, he spoke God's message to the people there. He read from the Bible and he explained what it meant. 3 He told the people what was true about God's Messiah. He used the Bible to show them clearly that the Messiah had to suffer and die. He also showed them that the Messiah had to become alive again. Paul said to them, ‘I have been telling you about Jesus. He is the Messiah that God has sent to us.’
17:1Amphipolis and Apollonia were in the country called Greece.
4 Some of the Jews believed Paul's message. They joined the group with Paul and Silas. A large number of Greek people who now worshipped God also joined this group. Many important women in the city also believed and they joined the group.
17:4Most of the people that lived in Thessalonica were Greek. They were not born as Jews. But some of them had heard about the God of the Jews and they believed in him.
5 Some other Jews in the city were jealous of Paul and Silas, because people believed their message. So they went to the city's market place and they found some bad men there. These men often caused trouble in the city. Now the Jews brought these men to come together with them in an angry crowd. This crowd made a lot of noise and trouble in the streets of the city. They went to Jason's house and they broke down his door. They wanted to find Paul and Silas. They wanted to bring them out of the house to the crowd. 6 But they did not find Paul and Silas there. So they took hold of Jason and some other believers. They pulled them out of the house. They made them go and stand in front of the important officers of the city. They shouted, ‘These men have caused much trouble everywhere. Now they have come to our city. 7 Jason has let them stay in his house. They speak against the laws that Caesar has given to us. They say that there is another king. This other king is called Jesus.’
8 The whole crowd of people and the important officers heard this report about Paul and Silas. They became very angry and upset. 9 The officers decided how much money Jason and the other believers should pay to go free. When they received it, they allowed them to go.
Many people in Berea believe Paul's message
10 As soon as it became dark, the believers in Thessalonica sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. When they arrived in that town, they went to the Jewish meeting place. 11 The Jewish people in Berea were better than the people in Thessalonica. They were happy to listen carefully to Paul. Every day they also studied the Bible. They wanted to know if Paul's message was true. 12 Many of the Jewish people in Berea believed the good news about Jesus. Many Greek men and some important Greek women also believed in Jesus.
13 But the Jews in Thessalonica heard news about what Paul was doing in Berea. They heard that he was telling people God's message about Jesus. So some of them went to Berea. They said bad things against Paul to the people there. As a result, a large crowd became angry with Paul. 14 Immediately, the believers in Berea sent Paul away to go to the coast. But Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. 15 When Paul left Berea, some men went with him. They went with him as far as the city of Athens. Before these men returned to Berea, Paul gave them a message for Silas and Timothy. He said, ‘Please come quickly and meet me here in Athens.’
17:15Athens is a city that was in the country called Achaia. Today, Athens is the capital city of Greece.
Paul visits Athens
16 While Paul was waiting in Athens for Silas and Timothy, he walked around. He saw that the people in the city had many idols. When Paul saw this, he became very upset. 17 So he went to the Jewish meeting place and he talked with the Jews. He also talked there with those Gentiles who now worshipped God. Every day he also went to the market place in the city and he talked with the people there. 18 There were some teachers there who liked to talk about the things that people should believe. Some of them were called Epicureans and some were called Stoics. After they talked to Paul, some of them said to each other, ‘Who is this silly man? He knows nothing and he talks too much!’ But some of these teachers said, ‘We think that he is talking about strange gods.’ They said this because Paul was telling people the good news about Jesus. He was also talking about the time when God will cause dead people to live again.
17:18The Epicureans were disciples of Epicurus. He taught that there were no gods. Or that the gods were not near to the people. The Stoics were disciples of Zeno. Zeno taught that everyone should be good to themselves. They should also do the right things for other people. He taught that God was the soul of the world.
19 So these men asked Paul to go with them to Areopagus hill. They wanted him to speak to the city's important officers who met there. 20 The officers said, ‘These strange ideas that you are teaching surprise us. Please explain to us what these ideas mean.’ 21 (The people of Athens liked to talk about new ideas. So did the foreign people who lived there. They all wanted to hear new things and to talk about them. They seemed to do this all the time.)
17:19These important men were the rulers of Athens and they met together on the Areopagus hill. They decided what should happen in the city.
22 So Paul stood up in front of the important officers of the city. He said to them, ‘People of Athens. I see that you have many gods. 23 I have walked in the streets of your city. I see that you have built many special places where you worship your gods. I saw one altar with a notice on it. The notice said, “To the god that we do not know.” This shows that you want to worship a god that you do not know. Now I will tell you clearly about who this God is.
24 The true God made the earth and everything that is in it. He rules everything in the earth and in heaven. He does not live in any buildings that people have made for him. 25 People make things to give to God. But God does not need anything like that. It is God himself who causes everyone to live. He gives them everything that they need. 26 God first made one man. From that one man he made all the different groups of people. He caused them to live in different places all over the world. He decided where each group of people should live. He also decided how long they should live in each place. 27 God did all this so that people would want to know him. They would look carefully for him and perhaps they would find him. Really, God is near to each of us. 28 Someone said this: “Because God gives us life, we are alive. Because of him, we can move about. Because of him we can be who we are.” One of your writers has also said, “We too are God's children.”
29 So, because we are God's children, we should not think that he is a thing like an idol. Clever people use gold or silver or stone to make images of gods. But God is not like these things that people choose to make for themselves. 30 In past times people did not know the true things about God. Because of this, God did not punish them. But now God tells people everywhere, “Stop doing bad things and turn to me!” 31 God has already chosen one special day. On that day he will judge everyone in the world in a completely right way. He has chosen a man who will do this for him. He has shown clearly to everyone who that man is. He showed it like this: People killed that man. But God caused him to live again.’
32 Paul had said, ‘God caused that man to live again.’ When the people heard this, some of them laughed at him. But other people said to Paul, ‘We want you to tell us more about this on another day.’ 33 So then Paul left the meeting of the important officers of the city. 34 Some of the people who had heard Paul's message joined his group. They believed the good news about Jesus. One of these believers was a man called Dionysius. He belonged to the group of important officers. A woman called Damaris also became a believer. Several other people also believed Paul's message about Jesus.