Paul and Silas in Thessalonica and Berea – Acts 17

Church of Saint Demetrius Patron Saint of Thes...

Church of Saint Demetrius Patron Saint of Thessaloniki. Grave of the Metropolitan of Thessalonica Panteleimon II. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luke has now dropped the use of the first person plural in the text, suggesting that he may have remained in Philippi as Paul and Silas pass through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica. Neither the reference to “three sabbath days” in verse 2, nor the fact that they left the city after only 9 verses of this chapter should be construed as the an indication of the length of their stay in Thessalonica. Indications from 1 Thessalonians 2:9 and Philippians 4:16, for example, are that their ministry there was much longer. The Jewish religious leaders, once again, became jealous and stirred up a mob until they attacked the house of a believer – hoping to lay hands on Paul, no doubt. Not finding them, they dragged the man (Jason) and some other believers before authorities, falsely claiming they were touting Jesus as an earthly king and a threat to Caesar.

In verse 10, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away, but it should be noted that their mission there was successful, as some of the Jews had been converted, and “a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.” This explains the jealousy of the Jewish religious leaders there. They arrived in Berea, and had even more success (verses 10-12), but the Jews in Thessalonica learned of Paul teaching there, and came to stir crowds again. Paul was sent off by sea to Athens, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. After arriving in Athens, Paul sent word back with those who had accompanied him for Silas and Timothy to join him .


Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

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Do Not Grow Weary – (2 Thessalonians)

Paul’s second letter to the brethren at Thessalonica was probably written from Corinth about 49-51 A.D., shortly after his first letter. The reason for the second letter could be a sense of urgency because someone was sending letters to the church at certain locations falsely claiming to be from Paul or another apostle. Consider 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2:

“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.”

Thessalonica

Thessalonica

Further evidence of this is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:17, where Paul closes the letter with: “I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” Such a wicked and cruel deception was probably done by someone simply wishing to discourage Gentiles from Christianity, or by someone whose only intention was to harm the church. Either way, the latter was the effect, of course.

We know that the Thessalonians already had some distress because in the first letter, Paul had needed to reassure them. False teachers had made them to grieve for those who had already “fallen asleep,” thinking that they were gone forever – that only those alive when Jesus returned would be taken to heaven. Paul devotes 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 to explain to them concerning this. And just as in 1 Thessalonians, the bulk of this letter is geared toward the second coming of Jesus.

It seems now they had fallen prey to the idea that the second coming had already occurred, and they were very afraid of being left behind. To make matters worse, they were being persecuted – and that in itself just made these fears worse. It may be that this was the cause of another problem Paul addresses in the letter. In 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, he spends some time speaking about reports he had received that there were those among them that had stopped working, and so they were sponging off of others and generally becoming “busybodies” in their idleness. Perhaps this false notion of the second coming had something to do with this problem.

Paul’s message was that unbelievers will be condemned, and the righteous will be saved when Jesus does return, and there will not be any that are not included. And of course, Christians should not take advantage of the charitable character of their fellow Christians, and should “not grow weary in doing good.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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1 Thess 1 – The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example

Thessalonica waterfront

Known today as Salonica, it is the second largest city in Greece, and a thriving commercial port.  In the 4th century BC, it was founded by Cassander of Macedonia beginning from the city of Therma (or Therme), named for hot springs in the area.  His wife was named Thessalonica, and was sister of Alexander the Great.

Silvanus, in Paul’s opening greeting to the Christians at Thessalonica refers to Silas.  The church there was founded in Acts 17:1-9 on Paul’s second missionary journey.  In this portion of the epistle, Paul praises and encourages them for their faith and the example that they have been for Christians elsewhere, as word of their conversion and faith in the Lord Jesus has spread throughout the region by reason of the comings and going of people doing trade there, and possibly evangelistic efforts on their part.    They had moved from pagan idol worship to deep faith in the resurrected Lord, while at the same time facing tremendous persecution for doing so (Acts 17:5-8).

Side note:This article at Ferrell’s Travel Blog shows pictures of the ruins of the Roman forum there.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.