171Paul and Silas traveled through the cities of Amphipolis and Apollonia. They came to the city of Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagoguea. 2Paul went into the synagogue to see the Jews as he always did. The next three weeks, on each Sabbathb day, he discussed the Scripturesc with them. 3He explained the Scriptures to show them that the Messiahd had to die and then rise from death. He said, "This Jesus that I am telling you about is the Messiah." 4Some of the Jews there believed Paul and Silas and decided to join them. Also, a large number of Greeks who were worshipers of the true God and many important women joined them.
5But the Jews who did not believe became jealous, so they got some bad men from around the city center to make trouble. They formed a mob and caused a riot in the city. They went to Jason's house, looking for Paul and Silas. They wanted to bring them out before the people. 6When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the other believers to the city leaders. The people shouted, "These men have made trouble everywhere in the world, and now they have come here too! 7Jason is keeping them in his house. They all do things against the laws of Caesare. They say there is another king called Jesus."
8When the city leaders and the other people heard this, they became very upset. 9They made Jason and the other believers deposit money to guarantee that there would be no more trouble. Then they let them go.
13But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was telling people God's messageg in Berea, they came there too. They upset the people and made trouble. 14So the believers immediately sent Paul away to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. 15Those who went with Paul took him to the city of Athens. They returned with a message for Silas and Timothy to come and join him as soon as they could.
Some of them said, "This man doesn't really know what he is talking about. What is he trying to say?" Paul was telling them the Good Newsj about Jesus and the resurrectionk. So they said, "He seems to be telling us about some other gods."
19They took Paul to a meeting of the Areopagus councill. They said, "Please explain to us this new idea that you have been teaching. 20The things you are saying are new to us. We have never heard this teaching before, and we want to know what it means." 21(The people of Athens and the foreigners who lived there spent all their time either telling or listening to all the latest ideas.)
22Then Paul stood up before the meeting of the Areopagus council and said, "Men of Athens, everything I see here tells me you are very religious. 23I was going through your city and I saw the things you worship. I found an altar that had these words written on it: 'to an unknown god.' You worship a god that you don't know. This is the God I want to tell you about.
24"He is the God who made the whole world and everything in it. He is the Lord of the land and the sky. He does not live in temples built by human hands. 25He is the one who gives people life, breath, and everything else they need. He does not need any help from them. He has everything he needs. 26God began by making one man, and from him he made all the different people who live everywhere in the world. He decided exactly when and where they would live.
27"God wanted people to look for him, and perhaps in searching all around for him, they would find him. But he is not far from any of us. 28It is through him that we are able to live, to do what we do, and to be who we are. As your own poets have said, 'We all come from him.'
29"That's right. We all come from God. So you must not think that he is like something people imagine or make. He is not made of gold, silver, or stone. 30In the past people did not understand God, and he overlooked this. But now he is telling everyone in the world to change and turn to him. 31He has decided on a day when he will judge all the people in the world in a way that is fair. To do this he will use a man he chose long ago. And he has proved to everyone that this is the man to do it. He proved it by raising him from death!"
32When the people heard about Jesus being raised from death, some of them laughed. But others said, "We will hear more about this from you later." 33So Paul left the council meeting. 34But some of the people joined with Paul and became believers. Among these were Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus council, a woman named Damaris, and some others.
asynagogue A place in many cities where Jews gathered for prayer, study of the Scriptures, and other public meetings.
bSabbath Saturday, the seventh day of the week and a special day for Israelites or Jews. By God’s command it was set aside as a time for the people to rest and honor God.
cScripture Part of the Scriptures or “Holy Writings” - the Old Testament.
dMessiah A Hebrew word that has the same meaning as the Greek word Christ (see “Christ”). It was a title for the kings of God’s people in the Old Testament and for the special king God promised to send as a “savior” to defeat evil and establish the reign of God. Many prophets made it clear that this new kingdom would be eternal; that is, not only would the promised Messiah bring about a time of justice and right living among God’s people here on earth, but also his kingdom would extend beyond this world to life forever with God. However, most Jews of the first century expected the Messiah to be a political ruler here on earth who would defeat the other nations and return the nation of Israel to a position of great glory and power. But God intended his Messiah to establish a new “Israel,” an eternal kingdom that would bless all the nations.
eCaesar The name or title given to the emperor (ruler) of Rome.
fbeliever Where this word is marked, it is literally “brother,” a term used by followers of Jesus Christ to refer to fellow members of God’s family.
gmessage See “Good News.”
hidol A statue of a false god that people worship. It can also mean anything that is more important to a person than God.
iphilosopher A person who spends much time studying, thinking, talking, or writing about different ideas and trying to gain wisdom.
jGood News In the Gospels this is usually the news about the coming of God’s kingdom (see above) or its representative Jesus the Messiah. In other places it is, more specifically, the news or message of God’s grace - that he has made a way through Jesus Christ for people to be made right with him and enjoy his blessings now and forever.
kresurrection Being raised from death to live again.
lAreopagus council A group of important leaders in Athens who served like judges.