17
More troubles for Paul
1Paul and Silas journeyed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, then came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2As was Paul’s custom, he entered the synagogue and for three Sabbaths interacted with them on the basis of the scriptures. 3Through his interpretation of the scriptures, he demonstrated that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. He declared, "This Jesus whom I proclaim to you is the Christ." 4Some were convinced and joined Paul and Silas, including a larger number of Greek God-worshippers and quite a few prominent women.
5But the Jews became jealous and brought along some thugs who were hanging out in the marketplace. They formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They attacked Jason’s house, intending to bring Paul and Silas before the people. 6When they didn’t find them, they dragged Jason and some believers before the city officials. They were shouting, "These people who have been disturbing the peace throughout the empire have also come here. 7What is more, Jason has welcomed them into his home. Every one of them does what is contrary to Caesar’s decrees by naming someone else as king: Jesus." 8This provoked the crowd and the city officials even more. 9After Jason and the others posted bail, they released them.
10As soon as it was dark, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas on to Beroea. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11The Beroean Jews were more honorable than those in Thessalonica. This was evident in the great eagerness with which they accepted the word and examined the scriptures each day to see whether Paul and Silas’ teaching was true. 12Many came to believe, including a number of reputable Greek women and many Greek men.
13The Jews from Thessalonica learned that Paul also proclaimed God’s word in Beroea, so they went there too and were upsetting and disturbing the crowds. 14The brothers and sisters sent Paul away to the seacoast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained at Beroea. 15Those who escorted Paul led him as far as Athens, then returned with instructions for Silas and Timothy to come to him as quickly as possible.
16While Paul waited for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to find that the city was flooded with idols. 17He began to interact with the Jews and Gentile God-worshippers in the synagogue. He also addressed whoever happened to be in the marketplace each day. 18Certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers engaged him in discussion too. Some said, "What an amateur! What’s he trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods." (They said this because he was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) 19They took him into custody and brought him to the council on Mars Hill. "What is this new teaching? Can we learn what you are talking about? 20You’ve told us some strange things and we want to know what they mean." (21They said this because all Athenians as well as the foreigners who live in Athens used to spend their time doing nothing but talking about or listening to the newest thing.)
22Paul stood up in the middle of the council on Mars Hill and said, “People of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. 23As I was walking through town and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown God.’ What you worship as unknown, I now proclaim to you. 24God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in temples made with human hands. 25Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he is the one who gives life, breath, and everything else. 26From one person God created every human nation to live on the whole earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands. 27God made the nations so they would seek him, perhaps even reach out to him and find him. In fact, God isn’t far away from any of us. 28In God we live, move, and exist. As some of your own poets said, ‘We are his offspring.’
29"Therefore, as God’s offspring, we have no need to imagine that the divine being is like a gold, silver, or stone image made by human skill and thought. 30God overlooks ignorance of these things in times past, but now directs everyone everywhere to change their hearts and lives. 31This is because God has set a day when he intends to judge the world justly by a man he has appointed. God has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead."
32When they heard about the resurrection from the dead, some began to ridicule Paul. However, others said, "We’ll hear from you about this again." 33At that, Paul left the council. 34Some people joined him and came to believe, including Dionysius, a member of the council on Mars Hill, a woman named Damaris, and several others.
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