Paul and Silas Arrive in Thessalonica
1Paul and Silas passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia. They came to Thessalonica. A Jewish synagogue was there. 2Paul went into the synagogue as he usually did. For three Sabbath days in a row he talked about the Scriptures with the Jews. 3He explained and proved that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am telling you about is the Christ!" he said. 4His words won some of the Jews over. They joined Paul and Silas. A large number of Greeks who worshiped God joined them too. So did quite a few important women.
5But the Jews were jealous. So they rounded up some evil fellows from the market place. Forming a crowd, they started all kinds of trouble in the city. The Jews rushed to Jason's house. They were looking for Paul and Silas. They wanted to bring them out to the crowd. 6But they couldn't find them. So they dragged Jason and some other believers to the city officials. "These men have caused trouble all over the world," they shouted. "Now they have come here. 7Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all disobeying Caesar's commands. They say there is another king. He is called Jesus."
8When the crowd and the city officials heard this, they became very upset. 9They made Jason and the others give them money. They wanted to make sure they would return to the court. Then they let them go.
Paul and Silas Are Sent to Berea
10As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
11The Bereans were very glad to receive Paul's message. They studied the Scriptures carefully every day. They wanted to see if what Paul said was true. So they were more noble than the Thessalonians. 12Many of the Jews believed. A number of important Greek women also became believers. And so did many Greek men.
13The Jews in Thessalonica found out that Paul was preaching God's word in Berea. So they went there too. They stirred up the crowds and got them all worked up.
14Right away the believers sent Paul to the coast. But Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. 15The men who went with Paul took him to Athens. Then they returned with orders that Silas and Timothy were supposed to join him as soon as they could.
Paul Preaches in Athens
16Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens. He was very upset to see that the city was full of statues of gods. 17So he went to the synagogue. There he talked with Jews and with Greeks who worshiped God. Each day he spoke with anyone who happened to be in the market place.
18A group of Epicurean and Stoic thinkers began to argue with him. Some of them asked, "What is this fellow chattering about?" Others said, "He seems to be telling us about gods we've never heard of." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus. He was telling them that Jesus had risen from the dead.
19They took him to a meeting of the Areopagus. There they said to him, "What is this new teaching you're giving us? 20You have some strange ideas. We've never heard them before. We want to know what they mean."
21All the people of Athens spent their time talking about and listening to the latest ideas. People from other lands who lived there did the same.
22Then Paul stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus. He said, "Men of Athens! I see that you are very religious in every way. 23As I walked around, I looked carefully at the things you worship. I even found an altar with ~to an unknown god= written on it. Now I am going to tell you about this 'unknown god' that you worship.
24"He is the God who made the world. He also made everything in it. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn't live in temples built by hands. 25He is not served by human hands. He doesn't need anything. He himself gives life and breath to all people. He also gives them everything else they have. 26From one man he made all the people of the world. Now they live all over the earth. He decided exactly when they should live. And he decided exactly where they should live. 27God did this so that people would seek him. Then perhaps they would reach out for him and find him. They would find him even though he is not far from any of us. 28'In him we live and move and exist.' As some of your own poets have also said, 'We are his children.'
29"Yes, we are God's children. So we shouldn't think that God is made out of gold or silver or stone. He isn't a statue planned and made by clever people. 30In the past, God didn't judge people for what they didn't know. But now he commands all people everywhere to turn away from their sins. 31He has set a day when he will judge the world fairly. He has appointed a man to be its judge. God has proved this to all people by raising that man from the dead."
32When they heard Paul talk about the dead rising, some of them made fun of it. But others said, "We want to hear you speak about this again." 33So Paul left the meeting of the Areopagus. 34A few men became followers of Paul and believed in Jesus. Dionysius was one of them. He was a member of the Areopagus. A woman named Damaris also became a believer. And so did some others.