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                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                           Chapter Seventeen


1) To explore how Paul preached in Thessalonica and Berea, and how his
   preaching was received in each

2) To recognize how the enemies of the gospel can be relentless in their
   efforts to stop the spread of the Truth

3) To examine how Paul preached in Athens and how he found common ground
   from which to teach the Gospel of Christ in an idolatrous city

SUMMARY (Kevin Scott)

Paul, Silas and Timothy continued on the second missionary journey.  As
they departed Philippi, they traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia,
arriving at Thessalonica (1).  Paul found the Jewish synagogue and for
three Sabbaths "reasoned with them from the Scriptures" (2).  He taught
them that Jesus had suffered and died, and then was raised from the
dead.  He proclaimed to them that Jesus was the Christ.  Some Jews and a
great multitude of Greeks believed and joined them. (3-4)

The Jews, who did not believe, became envious of the success of the
gospel of Christ. They set out to create a mob, and enraged them against
Paul and Silas, but they could not find them.  Thus, they took
Jason and some of the brethren before the rulers of the city, claiming
they had harbored these men who were "acting contrary to the decrees of
Caesar, saying there is another king - Jesus."  This incited the crowd
and the city rulers.  They tried to depict Paul and Silas as
revolutionaries against Caesar.  The rulers then took security from
Jason and the others, and released them. (5-9)

The brethren sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea (about 50 miles
away).  They went to the Jewish synagogue there and found the people to
be receptive to the gospel. They were willing to study the Scriptures to
determine the Truth.  Many believed.  When word got back to
Thessalonica, Jews traveled there to stir up the city against them.  The
brethren sent Paul away to Athens. Silas and Timothy remained there.
Paul requested that they quickly join him in Athens. (10-15)

Upon arrival in Athens, Paul's "spirit was provoked within him when he
saw that the city was given over to idols." Again, he went to the
synagogue to reason with the Jew and Gentile worshipers, daily.  He also
reasoned with others in the marketplace each day.  This created an
opportunity to speak with the philosophers (i.e., Epicureans, Stoics,
and others).  Some derided him, calling him a "babbler."  Others
thought he spoke of foreign gods.  They invited him to speak in the
Areopagus (also called Mar's Hill).  This was the place of the supposed
experts of philosophy and religion in Athens. (16-19)

Paul spoke to them by finding common ground from which to launch into
his gospel message.  He keyed into the inscription:  "TO THE UNKNOWN
GOD."  This is the One he proclaimed to them.  Paul also referenced a
saying of their own poets, "For we are also His offspring."  He pointed
out that since we were the offspring of God, He could not be made of
gold or silver or stone by human artists.  Paul then taught them of
repentance and judgment.  He indicated that Christ would be the judge
and that He was raised from the dead.  Some mocked Paul at this saying.
Others wanted to hear more about this later.  Some believed and joined
him. (20-34)

OUTLINE (Mark Copeland)


      1. Passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they arrive in
      2. Paul visits the synagogue and reason with the Jews for three
      3. His goal: to convince them that Jesus is the Christ who had to
         suffer and rise from the dead
      4. Some were persuaded, including a large number of devout Greeks
         and leading women who join Paul and Silas

      1. Envious Jews use evil men from the marketplace to gather a mob
      2. They set the city in an uproar, and attack Jason's house
      3. Unable to find Paul, they drag Jason and others before the
         rulers of the city
      4. Accusing them of turning the city upside down, disobeying
         Caesar, claiming Jesus as king
      5. The rulers take security from Jason and the others before
         letting them go


      1. Sent by night to Berea, Paul and Silas go to the synagogue
      2. The Jews are more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica
      3. They receive the word with all readiness, then search the
         Scriptures daily
      4. Many Jews believe, also Greeks, prominent women as well as men

      1. Hearing of their success, Jews from Thessalonica come and stir
         up the crowds
      2. Paul is immediately sent away to the sea, while Silas and
         Timothy remain


      1. Paul arrives in Athens, sends word for Silas and Timothy to
      2. While waiting, Paul's spirit is provoked by the idolatry in the
      3. He reasons with Jews and Gentile worshippers in the synagogue,
         and with people in the Marketplace
      4. Epicurean and Stoic philosophers hear him preach about Jesus
         and the resurrection

   B. AT THE AREOPAGUS (19-34)
      1. Brought to the Areopagus, the inquisitive Athenians invite Paul
         to present his doctrine
      2. Paul preaches to the men of Athens
         a. Mentioning their spirituality
         b. Especially the altar inscribed "To The Unknown God"
      3. Paul proclaims this God they do not know as the Creator:
         a. Who does not dwell in temples
         b. Who is not worshiped as though He needed anything
         c. Who gives to all life, breath, and all things
         d. Who has made from one blood all nations to dwell on the
         e. Who has determined their appointed times and dwelling
         f. Who does things so that men might seek for Him, grope for
            Him, and find Him
         g. Who is not far from anyone, for in Him we live, move, and
            exist, even as some of their own poets have said, "We are
            also His offspring"
         h. Who is not an idol, shaped by art and man's devising
      4. Paul proclaims that God now commands all men everywhere to
         a. Even though He may have overlooked their ignorance in times
         b. He has appointed a Day of Judgment
         c. He will judge the world in righteousness by a Man He has
         d. He has given proof of this judgment by raising Him from the
      5. The response to Paul's sermon, especially his mention of the
         resurrection of the dead
         a. Some mocked, others were willing to hear him again
         b. As Paul left, he was joined by some who believed, including
            Dionysius the Aeropagite and a woman named Damaris


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Preaching in Thessalonica (1-9)
   - Preaching in Berea (10-14)
   - Conversions at Philippi (15-34)

2) After passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, where did Paul's
   company arrive? (1)
   - In Thessalonica

3) What was Paul's custom when he found a synagogue in a city? (2)
   - To visit on the Sabbath to reason with the Jews from the Scriptures

4) What was his purpose in visiting the synagogue? (3)
   - To demonstrate that the Christ had to die and rise again, and that
     Jesus is the Christ

5) What was the initial reaction to Paul's teaching in the synagogue?
   - Some were persuaded, and a great multitude of devout Greeks along
     with some leading women joined Paul and Silas

6) What did the Jews who were not persuaded do? (5-6)
   - Took some evil men from the market place and formed a mob
   - Set the city in uproar, attacked the house of Jason looking for
     Paul and Silas
   - Not finding Paul and Silas, drag Jason and some brethren to the
     rulers of the city

7) What charges did they bring against Jason and those whom he received?
   - "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too."
   - "These are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying
     there is another king-Jesus."

8) Troubled by such charges, what did the rulers of the city do? (8-9)
   - Took security from Jason and let them go

9) What did the brethren do with Paul and Silas?  What did they find
   there? (10)
   - Sent them away by night to Berea; a synagogue of the Jews

10) List two ways the Bereans were more noble-minded than those in
    Thessalonica. (11)
   - They first received the word with all readiness
   - They then searched the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul taught
     were so

11) What was the initial response?  Who soon stirred up trouble?
   - Many believed, including Greeks along with prominent women and men
   - Jews from Thessalonica, who came as soon as they heard Paul was in

12) Where was Paul then sent?  Who initially stayed behind in Berea?
   - By sea to Athens; Silas and Timothy

13) As Paul waited for his companions to arrive in Athens, what provoked
    Paul? (16)
   - How the city was given over to idols

14) What two venues did Paul use to reason with people? (17)
   - The synagogue with Jews and the Gentile worshipers
   - The market place daily with those gathered there

15) Who encountered Paul?  Why did they think he proclaimed some foreign
    god? (18)
   - Certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers
   - Because he preached Jesus and the resurrection

16) Where did they invite Paul to speak?  Why were they willing to
    listen to him? (19-21)
   - The Aeropagus (Mar's Hill)
   - Because Athenians and the foreigners loved to hear new things

17) As Paul began to speak, what did he first acknowledge?  Why? (22-23)
   - They were very religious
   - Because of all their idols, including an altar inscribed:  "To The
     Unknown God"

18) Whom did Paul proclaim as the subject of his speech? (23)
   - The God whom they worshiped without knowing

19) What seven things did Paul first declare about Him? (24-26)
   - He made the world and everything in it
   - He is Lord of heaven and earth
   - He does not dwell in temples made with hands
   - He is not worshiped with men's hands as though He needed anything
   - He gives to all life, breath and everything
   - He has made from one blood every nation of men
   - He has determined their pre-appointed times and boundaries of their

20) What was God's purpose in all this? (27)
   - So that man should seek the Lord, in the hope they will grope for
     Him and find Him

21) What should give one hope that God can be found? (27-28)
   - He is not far from us
   - In Him we live and move and have our very being

22) To whom did Paul appeal for support in what he was saying? (28)
   - Some of their own poets, who said 'For we are also His offspring'

23) What conclusion did Paul draw from such observations? (29)
   - As God's offspring, we should not think that He is like gold,
     silver, or stone shaped by man

24) What does Paul then reveal? (30)
   - Such times of ignorance God once overlooked, but now commands all
     men every where to repent

25) Why should man repent? What evidence has God given?  (31)
   - There is a Day of Judgment on which God will judge the world in
     righteousness by a Man whom He has ordained
   - Raising Jesus from the dead

26) What reaction was there to the subject of the resurrection? (32)
   - Some mocked, while others were willing to listen again on another

27) As Paul left, who joined him? (33-34)
   - Some men who believed, including Dionysius the Aeropagite
   - A woman named Damaris, and others with them
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