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17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
17:3 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.
17:4 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.
17:5 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.
17:6 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;
17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
17:8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
17:9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.
17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
17:11 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.
17:12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
17:13 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.
17:14 And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.
17:15 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.
17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
17:17 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.
17:18 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.
17:19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
17:20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
17:21 (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.)
17:22 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.
17:23 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.
17:24 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;
17:25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
17:26 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;
17:27 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:
17:28 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.
17:29 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.
17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
17:31 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.
17:32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
17:33 So Paul departed from among them.
17:34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

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Everything King James Bible:Acts

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Acts
Book: Acts
Chapter: 17

Overview:
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.

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