17
Paul and Silas at Thessalonica
1 After they traveled through#tn BDAG 250 s.v. διοδεύω 1 has “go, travel through” for this verse. Amphipolis#sn Amphipolis. The capital city of the southeastern district of Macedonia (BDAG 55 s.v. ᾿Αμφίπολις). It was a military post. From Philippi this was about 33 mi (53 km). and Apollonia,#sn Apollonia was a city in Macedonia about 27 mi (43 km) west southwest of Amphipolis. they came to Thessalonica,#sn Thessalonica (modern Salonica) was a city in Macedonia about 33 mi (53 km) west of Apollonia. It was the capital of Macedonia. The road they traveled over was called the Via Egnatia. It is likely they rode horses, given their condition in Philippi. The implication of v. 1 is that the two previously mentioned cities lacked a synagogue.map For location see JP1-C1; JP2-C1; JP3-C1; JP4-C1. where there was a Jewish synagogue.#sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9. 2 Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue,#tn Grk “he went in to them”; the referent (the Jews in the synagogue) has been specified in the translation for clarity. as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed#tn Although the word διελέξατο (dielexato; from διαλέγομαι, dialegomai) is frequently translated “reasoned,” “disputed,” or “argued,” this sense comes from its classical meaning where it was used of philosophical disputation, including the Socratic method of questions and answers. However, there does not seem to be contextual evidence for this kind of debate in Acts 17:2. As G. Schrenk (TDNT 2:94-95) points out, “What is at issue is the address which any qualified member of a synagogue might give.” Other examples of this may be found in the NT in Matt 4:23 and Mark 1:21. them from the scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating#tn BDAG 772 s.v. παρατίθημι 2.b has “demonstrate, point out” here. that the Christ#tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 2:31. had to suffer and to rise from the dead,#sn The Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead. These two points (suffering and resurrection) would have been among the more controversial aspects of Paul’s messianic preaching. The term translated “had to” (δεῖ, dei) shows how divine design and scripture corresponded here. saying,#tn The Greek words used here (καὶ ὅτι, kai {oti, “and that”) mark the switch from indirect to direct discourse. Contemporary English requires the use of an introductory verb of speaking or saying to make this transition. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”#tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 2:31. The identification of the Messiah with Jesus indicates Paul was proclaiming the fulfillment of messianic promise. 4 Some of them were persuaded#tn Or “convinced.” and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group#tn Or “a large crowd.” of God-fearing Greeks#tn Or “of devout Greeks,” but this is practically a technical term for the category called God-fearers, Gentiles who worshiped the God of Israel and in many cases kept the Mosaic law, but did not take the final step of circumcision necessary to become a proselyte to Judaism. See further K. G. Kuhn, TDNT 6:732-34, 743-44. Luke frequently mentions such people (Acts 13:43, 50; 16:14; 17:17; 18:7). and quite a few#tn Grk “not a few”; this use of negation could be misleading to the modern English reader, however, and so has been translated as “quite a few” (which is the actual meaning of the expression). prominent women. 5 But the Jews became jealous,#tn Grk “becoming jealous.” The participle ζηλώσαντες (zhlwsante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. So elsewhere in Acts (5:17; 7:9; 13:45). and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace,#tn Literally ἀγοραῖος (agoraio") refers to the crowd in the marketplace, although BDAG 14-15 s.v. ἀγοραῖος 1 gives the meaning, by extension, as “rabble.” Such a description is certainly appropriate in this context. L&N 15.127 translates the phrase “worthless men from the streets.” they formed a mob#tn On this term, which is a NT hapax legomenon, see BDAG 745 s.v. ὀχλοποιέω. and set the city in an uproar.#tn BDAG 458 s.v. θορυβέω 1 has “set the city in an uproar, start a riot in the city” for the meaning of ἐθορύβουν (eqoruboun) in this verse. They attacked Jason’s house,#sn The attack took place at Jason’s house because this was probably the location of the new house church. trying to find Paul and Silas#tn Grk “them”; the referents (Paul and Silas) have been specified in the translation for clarity. to bring them out to the assembly.#tn BDAG 223 s.v. δῆμος 2 has “in a Hellenistic city, a convocation of citizens called together for the purpose of transacting official business, popular assembly προάγειν εἰς τὸν δ. Ac 17:5.” 6 When they did not find them, they dragged#tn See BDAG 977-78 s.v. σύρω on this verb. It was used in everyday speech of dragging in fish by a net, or dragging away someone’s (presumably) dead body (Paul in Acts 14:19). Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials,#tn L&N 37.93 defines πολιτάρχης (politarch") as “a public official responsible for administrative matters within a town or city and a member of the ruling council of such a political unit – ‘city official’” (see also BDAG 845 s.v.). screaming, “These people who have stirred up trouble#tn Or “rebellion.” BDAG 72 s.v. ἀναστατόω has “disturb, trouble, upset,” but in light of the references in the following verse to political insurrection, “stirred up rebellion” would also be appropriate. throughout the world#tn Or “the empire.” This was a way of referring to the Roman empire (BDAG 699 s.v. οἰκουμένη 2.b).sn Throughout the world. Note how some of those present had knowledge of what had happened elsewhere. Word about Paul and his companions and their message was spreading. have come here too, 7 and#tn Grk “whom.” Because of the awkwardness in English of having two relative clauses follow one another (“who have stirred up trouble…whom Jason has welcomed”) the relative pronoun here (“whom”) has been replaced by the conjunction “and,” creating a clause that is grammatically coordinate but logically subordinate in the translation. Jason has welcomed them as guests! They#tn Grk “and they.” Because of the length of the Greek sentence, the conjunction καί (kai) has not been translated here. Instead a new English sentence is begun. are all acting against Caesar’s#tn Or “the emperor’s” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor). decrees, saying there is another king named#tn The word “named” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied for clarity. Jesus!”#sn Acting…saying…Jesus. The charges are serious, involving sedition (Luke 23:2). If the political charges were true, Rome would have to react. 8 They caused confusion among#tn Grk “They troubled the crowd and the city officials”; but this could be understood to mean “they bothered” or “they annoyed.” In reality the Jewish instigators managed to instill doubt and confusion into both the mob and the officials by their false charges of treason. Verse 8 suggests the charges raised again Paul, Silas, Jason, and the others were false. the crowd and the city officials#tn L&N 37.93 defines πολιτάρχης (politarch") as “a public official responsible for administrative matters within a town or city and a member of the ruling council of such a political unit – ‘city official.’” who heard these things. 9 After#tn Grk “And after.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here. the city officials#tn Grk “they”; the referent (the city officials) has been specified in the translation for clarity. had received bail#tn That is, “a payment” or “a pledge of security” (BDAG 472 s.v. ἱκανός 1) for which “bail” is the most common contemporary English equivalent. from Jason and the others, they released them.
Paul and Silas at Berea
10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea#sn Berea (alternate spelling in NRSV Beroea; Greek Beroia) was a very old city in Macedonia on the river Astraeus about 45 mi (75 km) west of Thessalonica.map For location see JP1-C1; JP2-C1; JP3-C1; JP4-C1. at once, during the night. When they arrived,#tn Grk “who arriving there, went to.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (οἵτινες, Joitine") has been left untranslated and a new English sentence begun. The participle παραγενόμενοι (paragenomenoi) has been taken temporally. they went to the Jewish synagogue.#sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9. 11 These Jews#tn Grk “These”; the referent (the Jews in the synagogue at Berea) has been specified in the translation for clarity. were more open-minded#tn Or “more willing to learn.” L&N 27.48 and BDAG 404 s.v. εὐγενής 2 both use the term “open-minded” here. The point is that they were more receptive to Paul’s message. than those in Thessalonica,#sn Thessalonica was a city in Macedonia (modern Salonica).map For location see JP1-C1; JP2-C1; JP3-C1; JP4-C1. for they eagerly#tn Or “willingly,” “readily”; Grk “with all eagerness.” received#tn Grk “who received.” Here the relative pronoun (“who”) has been translated as a pronoun (“they”) preceded by a semicolon, which is less awkward in contemporary English than a relative clause at this point. the message, examining#tn This verb (BDAG 66 s.v. ἀνακρίνω 1) refers to careful examination. the scriptures carefully every day#tn BDAG 437 s.v. ἡμέρα 2.c has “every day” for this phrase in this verse. to see if these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few#tn Grk “not a few”; this use of negation could be misleading to the modern English reader, however, and so has been translated as “quite a few” (which is the actual meaning of the expression). prominent#tn Or “respected.” Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica#sn Thessalonica was a city in Macedonia (modern Salonica). heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God#tn Grk “that the word of God had also been proclaimed by Paul.” This passive construction has been converted to an active one in the translation for stylistic reasons. in Berea,#sn Berea (alternate spelling in NRSV Beroea; Greek Beroia) was a very old city in Macedonia on the river Astraeus about 45 mi (75 km) from Thessalonica. they came there too, inciting#tn BDAG 911 s.v. σαλεύω 2 has “incite” for σαλεύοντες (saleuonte") in Acts 17:13.sn Inciting. Ironically, it was the Jews who were disturbing the peace, not the Christians. and disturbing#tn Or “stirring up” (BDAG 990-91 s.v. ταράσσω 2). The point is the agitation of the crowds. the crowds. 14 Then the brothers sent Paul away to the coast#tn Grk “to the sea.” Here ἕως ἐπὶ τὴν θάλασσαν ({ew" epi thn qalassan) must mean “to the edge of the sea,” that is, “to the coast.” Since there is no mention of Paul taking a ship to Athens, he presumably traveled overland. The journey would have been about 340 mi (550 km). at once, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea.#tn Grk “remained there”; the referent (Berea) has been specified in the translation for clarity. 15 Those who accompanied Paul escorted him as far as Athens,#map For location see JP1-C2; JP2-C2; JP3-C2; JP4-C2. and after receiving an order for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.#sn They left. See 1 Thess 3:1-2, which shows they went from here to Thessalonica.
Paul at Athens
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens,#map For location see JP1-C2; JP2-C2; JP3-C2; JP4-C2. his spirit was greatly upset#tn Grk “greatly upset within him,” but the words “within him” were not included in the translation because they are redundant in English. See L&N 88.189. The term could also be rendered “infuriated.”sn His spirit was greatly upset. See Rom 1:18-32 for Paul’s feelings about idolatry. Yet he addressed both Jews and Gentiles with tact and reserve. because he saw#tn Or “when he saw.” The participle θεωροῦντος (qewrounto") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle; it could also be translated as temporal. the city was full of idols. 17 So he was addressing#tn Although the word διελέξατο (dielexato; from διαλέγομαι, dialegomai) is frequently translated “reasoned,” “disputed,” or “argued,” this sense comes from its classical meaning where it was used of philosophical disputation, including the Socratic method of questions and answers. However, there does not seem to be contextual evidence for this kind of debate in Acts 17:17. As G. Schrenk (TDNT 2:94-95) points out, “What is at issue is the address which any qualified member of a synagogue might give.” Other examples of this may be found in the NT in Matt 4:23 and Mark 1:21. the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles#tn Or “and the devout,” but this is practically a technical term for the category called God-fearers, Gentiles who worshiped the God of Israel and in many cases kept the Mosaic law, but did not take the final step of circumcision necessary to become a proselyte to Judaism. See further K. G. Kuhn, TDNT 6:732-34, 743-44, and the note on the phrase “God-fearing Greeks” in 17:4. in the synagogue,#sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9. and in the marketplace every day#tn BDAG 437 s.v. ἡμέρα 2.c has “every day” for this phrase in this verse. those who happened to be there. 18 Also some of the Epicurean#sn An Epicurean was a follower of the philosophy of Epicurus, who founded a school in Athens about 300 b.c. Although the Epicureans saw the aim of life as pleasure, they were not strictly hedonists, because they defined pleasure as the absence of pain. Along with this, they desired the avoidance of trouble and freedom from annoyances. They saw organized religion as evil, especially the belief that the gods punished evildoers in an afterlife. In keeping with this, they were unable to accept Paul’s teaching about the resurrection. and Stoic#sn A Stoic was a follower of the philosophy founded by Zeno (342-270 b.c.), a Phoenician who came to Athens and modified the philosophical system of the Cynics he found there. The Stoics rejected the Epicurean ideal of pleasure, stressing virtue instead. The Stoics emphasized responsibility for voluntary actions and believed risks were worth taking, but thought the actual attainment of virtue was difficult. They also believed in providence. philosophers were conversing#tn BDAG 956 s.v. συμβάλλω 1 has “converse, confer” here. with him, and some were asking,#tn Grk “saying.” “What does this foolish babbler#tn Or “ignorant show-off.” The traditional English translation of σπερμολόγος (spermologo") is given in L&N 33.381 as “foolish babbler.” However, an alternate view is presented in L&N 27.19, “(a figurative extension of meaning of a term based on the practice of birds in picking up seeds) one who acquires bits and pieces of relatively extraneous information and proceeds to pass them off with pretense and show – ‘ignorant show-off, charlatan.’” A similar view is given in BDAG 937 s.v. σπερμολόγος: “in pejorative imagery of persons whose communication lacks sophistication and seems to pick up scraps of information here and there scrapmonger, scavenger…Engl. synonyms include ‘gossip’, ‘babbler’, chatterer’; but these terms miss the imagery of unsystematic gathering.” want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.”#tn The meaning of this phrase is not clear. Literally it reads “strange deities” (see BDAG 210 s.v. δαιμόνιον 1). The note of not being customary is important. In the ancient world what was new was suspicious. The plural δαιμονίων (daimoniwn, “deities”) shows the audience grappling with Paul’s teaching that God was working through Jesus. (They said this because he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.)#sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. 19 So they took Paul and#tn Grk “him”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity. brought him to the Areopagus,#tn Or “to the council of the Areopagus.” See also the term in v. 22.sn The Areopagus has been traditionally understood as reference to a rocky hill near the Acropolis in Athens, although this place may well have been located in the marketplace at the foot of the hill (L&N 93.412; BDAG 129 s.v. ῎Αρειος πάγος). This term does not refer so much to the place, however, as to the advisory council of Athens known as the Areopagus, which dealt with ethical, cultural, and religious matters, including the supervision of education and controlling the many visiting lecturers. Thus it could be translated the council of the Areopagus. See also the term in v. 22. saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are proclaiming? 20 For you are bringing some surprising things#tn BDAG 684 s.v. ξενίζω 2 translates the substantival participle ξενίζοντα (xenizonta) as “astonishing things Ac 17:20.” to our ears, so we want to know what they#tn Grk “these things”; but since the referent (“surprising things”) is so close, the repetition of “these things” sounds redundant in English, so the pronoun “they” was substituted in the translation. mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there used to spend their time#tn The imperfect verb ηὐκαίρουν (hukairoun) has been translated as a customary or habitual imperfect. in nothing else than telling#tn BDAG 406-7 s.v. εὐκαιρέω has “used to spend their time in nothing else than telling Ac 17:21.” or listening to something new.)#sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. The reference to newness may be pejorative.
22 So Paul stood#tn Grk “standing…said.” The participle ζηλώσαντες (zhlwsante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. before the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious#tn The term δεισιδαιμονεστέρους (deisidaimonesterou") is difficult. On the one hand it can have the positive sense of “devout,” but on the other hand it can have the negative sense of “superstitious” (BDAG 216 s.v. δεισιδαίμων). As part of a laudatory introduction (the technical rhetorical term for this introduction was capatatio), the term is probably positive here. It may well be a “backhanded” compliment, playing on the ambiguity. in all respects.#tn BDAG 513 s.v. κατά B.6 translates the phrase κατὰ πάντα (kata panta) as “in all respects.” 23 For as I went around and observed closely your objects of worship,#tn Or “your sanctuaries.” L&N 53.54 gives “sanctuary” (place of worship) as an alternate meaning for the word σεβάσματα (sebasmata). I even found an altar with this inscription:#tn Grk “on which was written,” but since it would have been carved in stone, it is more common to speak of an “inscription” in English. To simplify the English the relative construction with a passive verb (“on which was inscribed”) was translated as a prepositional phrase with a substantive (“inscription”). ‘To an unknown god.’ Therefore what you worship without knowing it,#tn BDAG 13 s.v. ἀγνοέω 1.b has “Abs. ὅ ἀγνοοῦντες εὐσεβεῖτε what you worship without knowing it (on the subject matter Maximus Tyr. 11, 5e: all sorts of philosophers ἴσασιν οὐκ ἑκόντες καὶ λέγουσιν ἄκοντες sc. τὸ θεῖον = they know and name God without intending to do so) Ac 17:23.” Paul, in typical Jewish Christian style, informs them of the true God, of whom their idols are an ignorant reflection. this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it,#tn Grk “all the things that are in it.” The speech starts with God as Creator, like 14:15. who is#tn Or “because he is.” The participle ὑπάρχων (Juparcwn) could be either adjectival, modifying οὗτος (Joutos, “who is Lord…”) or adverbial of cause (“because he is Lord…”). Since the participle διδούς (didou") in v. 25 appears to be clearly causal in force, it is preferable to understand ὑπάρχων as adjectival in this context. Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands,#sn On the statement does not live in temples made by human hands compare Acts 7:48. This has implications for idols as well. God cannot be represented by them or, as the following clause also suggests, served by human hands. 25 nor is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything,#tn L&N 57.45 has “nor does he need anything more that people can supply by working for him.” because he himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone.#tn Grk “he himself gives to all [people] life and breath and all things.” 26 From one man#sn The one man refers to Adam (the word “man” is understood). he made every nation of the human race#tn Or “mankind.” BDAG 276 s.v. ἔθνος 1 has “every nation of humankind Ac 17:26.” to inhabit the entire earth,#tn Grk “to live over all the face of the earth.” determining their set times#tn BDAG 884-85 s.v. προστάσσω has “(οἱ) προστεταγμένοι καιροί (the) fixed times Ac 17:26” here, but since the following phrase is also translated “fixed limits,” this would seem redundant in English, so the word “set” has been used instead. and the fixed limits of the places where they would live,#tn Grk “the boundaries of their habitation.” L&N 80.5 has “fixed limits of the places where they would live” for this phrase. 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around#tn See BDAG 1097-98 s.v. ψηλαφάω, which lists “touch, handle” and “to feel around for, grope for” as possible meanings. for him and find him,#sn Perhaps grope around for him and find him. The pagans’ struggle to know God is the point here. Conscience alone is not good enough. though he is#tn The participle ὑπάρχοντα (Juparconta) has been translated as a concessive adverbial participle. not far from each one of us. 28 For in him we live and move about#tn According to L&N 15.1, “A strictly literal translation of κινέω in Ac 17:28 might imply merely moving from one place to another. The meaning, however, is generalized movement and activity; therefore, it may be possible to translate κινούμεθα as ‘we come and go’ or ‘we move about’’ or even ‘we do what we do.’” and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’#sn This quotation is from Aratus (ca. 310-245 b.c.), Phaenomena 5. Paul asserted a general relationship and accountability to God for all humanity. 29 So since we are God’s offspring, we should not think the deity#tn Or “the divine being.” BDAG 446 s.v. θεῖος 1.b has “divine being, divinity” here. is like gold or silver or stone, an image#tn Or “a likeness.” Again idolatry is directly attacked as an affront to God and a devaluation of him. made by human#tn Grk “by the skill and imagination of man,” but ἀνθρώπου (anqrwpou) has been translated as an attributive genitive. skill#tn Or “craftsmanship” (cf. BDAG 1001 s.v. τέχνη). and imagination.#tn Or “thought.” BDAG 336 s.v. ἐνθύμησις has “thought, reflection, idea” as the category of meaning here, but in terms of creativity (as in the context) the imaginative faculty is in view. 30 Therefore, although God has overlooked#tn Or “has deliberately paid no attention to.” such times of ignorance,#tn Or “times when people did not know.” he now commands all people#tn Here ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") has been translated as a generic noun (“people”). everywhere to repent,#sn He now commands all people everywhere to repent. God was now asking all mankind to turn to him. No nation or race was excluded. 31 because he has set#tn Or “fixed.” a day on which he is going to judge the world#sn The world refers to the whole inhabited earth. in righteousness, by a man whom he designated,#tn Or “appointed.” BDAG 723 s.v. ὁρίζω 2.b has “of persons appoint, designate, declare: God judges the world ἐν ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὥρισεν through a man whom he has appointed Ac 17:31.”sn A man whom he designated. Jesus is put in the position of eschatological judge. As judge of the living and the dead, he possesses divine authority (Acts 10:42). having provided proof to everyone by raising#tn The participle ἀναστήσας (anasthsa") indicates means here. him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard about#tn The participle ἀκούσαντες (akousante") has been taken temporally. the resurrection from the dead, some began to scoff,#tn L&N 33.408 has “some scoffed (at him) Ac 17:32” for ἐχλεύαζον (ecleuazon) here; the imperfect verb has been translated as an ingressive imperfect (“began to scoff”). but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul left the Areopagus.#tn Grk “left out of their midst”; the referent (the Areopagus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. 34 But some people#tn Although the Greek word here is ἀνήρ (anhr), which normally refers to males, husbands, etc., in this particular context it must have a generic force similar to that of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), since “a woman named Damaris” is mentioned specifically as being part of this group (cf. BDAG 79 s.v. ἀνήρ 1.a). joined him#tn Grk “joining him, believed.” The participle κολληθέντες (kollhqente") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. On the use of this verb in Acts, see 5:13; 8:29; 9:26; 10:28. and believed. Among them#tn Grk “among whom.” Due to the length of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) has been translated as a third person plural pronoun (“them”) and a new sentence begun in the translation. were Dionysius, who was a member of the Areopagus,#tn Grk “the Areopagite” (a member of the council of the Areopagus). The noun “Areopagite” is not in common usage today in English. It is clearer to use a descriptive phrase “a member of the Areopagus” (L&N 11.82). However, this phrase alone can be misleading in English: “Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, and a woman named Damaris” could be understood to refer to three people (Dionysius, an unnamed member of the Areopagus, and Damaris) rather than only two. Converting the descriptive phrase to a relative clause in English (“who was a member of the Areopagus”) removes the ambiguity. a woman#tn Grk “and a woman”; but this καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more. named Damaris, and others with them.
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