When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, " he said.
Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.
But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.
But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here,
and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus."
When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.
Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.
As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up.
The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea.
The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.
So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.
A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.
Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?
You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean."
(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.
For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown 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 built by hands.
And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
God did this so that men would seek him 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.' As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.'
"Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill.
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject."
At that, Paul left the Council.
A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them,
and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.
Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.
But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles."
Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.
Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.
For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."
So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court.
"This man," they charged, "is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law."
Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, "If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you.
But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law--settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things."
So he had them ejected from the court.
Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever.
Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken.
They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined.
But as he left, he promised, "I will come back if it is God's will." Then he set sail from Ephesus.
When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.
After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.
He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.
For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
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