Paul and Silas in Thessalonica
1 Paul and Silas traveled through the cities of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to the city of Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue. 2 As usual, Paul went into the synagogue. On three consecutive days of worship, he had discussions about Scripture with the synagogue members. 3 He explained and showed them that the Messiah had to suffer, die, and come back to life, and that Jesus, the person he talked about, was this Messiah.
4 Some of the Jews were persuaded to join Paul and Silas, especially a large group of Greeks who had converted to Judaism and the wives of many prominent men.
5 Then the Jews became jealous. They took some low-class characters who hung around the public square, formed a mob, and started a riot in the city. They attacked Jason’s home and searched it for Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 When they didn’t find Paul and Silas, they dragged Jason and some other believers in front of the city officials. They shouted, “Those men who have made trouble all over the world are now here in Thessalonica, 7 and Jason has welcomed them as his guests. All of them oppose the emperor’s decrees by saying that there is another king, whose name is Jesus.”
8 The crowd and the officials were upset when they heard this. 9 But after they had made Jason and the others post bond, they let them go.
10 Immediately when night came, the believers sent Paul and Silas to the city of Berea.
Paul and Silas in Berea
When Paul and Silas arrived in the city of Berea, they entered the synagogue. 11 The people of Berea were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive God’s message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true. 12 Many of them became believers, and quite a number of them were prominent Greek men and women.
13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica found out that Paul was also spreading God’s word in Berea, they went there to upset and confuse the people. 14 The believers immediately sent Paul to the seacoast, but Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea.
Paul in Athens
15 The men who escorted Paul took him all the way to the city of Athens. When the men left Athens, they took instructions back to Silas and Timothy to join Paul as soon as possible.
16 While Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens, he saw that the city had statues of false gods everywhere. This upset him. 17 He held discussions in the synagogue with Jews and converts to Judaism. He also held discussions every day in the public square with anyone who happened to be there. 18 Some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers had discussions with him. Some asked, “What is this babbling fool trying to say?” Others said, “He seems to be speaking about foreign gods.” The philosophers said these things because Paul was telling the Good News about Jesus and saying that people would come back to life.
19 Then they brought Paul to the city court, the Areopagus, and asked, “Could you tell us these new ideas that you’re teaching? 20 Some of the things you say sound strange to us. So we would like to know what they mean.”
21 Everyone who lived in Athens looked for opportunities to tell or hear something new and unusual.
22 Paul stood in the middle of the court and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious. 23 As I was going through your city and looking closely at the objects you worship, I noticed an altar with this written on it: ‘To an unknown god.’ I’m telling you about the unknown god you worship. 24 The God who made the universe and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in shrines made by humans, 25 and he isn’t served by humans as if he needed anything. He gives everyone life, breath, and everything they have. 26 From one man he has made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth. He has given them the seasons of the year and the boundaries within which to live. 27 He has done this so that they would look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. In fact, he is never far from any one of us. 28 Certainly, we live, move, and exist because of him. As some of your poets have said, ‘We are God’s children.’ 29 So if we are God’s children, we shouldn’t think that the divine being is like an image made from gold, silver, or stone, an image that is the product of human imagination and skill.
30 “God overlooked the times when people didn’t know any better. But now he commands everyone everywhere to turn to him and change the way they think and act. 31 He has set a day when he is going to judge the world with justice, and he will use a man he has appointed to do this. God has given proof to everyone that he will do this by bringing that man back to life.”
32 When the people of the court heard that a person had come back to life, some began joking about it, while others said, “We’ll hear you talk about this some other time.”
33 With this response, Paul left the court. 34 Some men joined him and became believers. With them were Dionysius, who was a member of the court, and a woman named Damaris, and some other people.