Read Acts Chapter 17:1-15
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What stands out to you as you read this chapter?
Are there any words or phrases that you feel are key ideas in this chapter?
What other features do you wish you knew more about (culture, religion, customs, etc.) in order to help you understand this chapter?
How do you think this chapter fits in the larger story of Acts and the Bible as a whole?
ACT OUT: How does the Holy Spirit want to use this text in your life, for others or for yourself?
Paul’s second missionary journey gives readers a glimpse of how he shared the good news of Jesus with different audiences. People have different ideas about God. Paul acknowledges this, but he is a no-holdsbarred influencer for the gospel of Jesus wherever he goes!
In Thessalonica, the synagogue was split over the message that Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, had to suffer and rise from the dead (Acts 17:2-3). This is what the Scriptures (what we call the “Old Testament”) had taught. His presentation must have been convincing, because some Jews, God-fearing Greeks, and prominent women believed and “joined Paul and Silas” (Acts. 17:4). Others opposed Paul and Silas and stirred up trouble, using false charges and intimidation (Acts 17:6-7). The believers in Thessalonica quickly got the apostles out of town (Acts 17:10).
In Berea, the synagogue audience was more open. When they heard Paul’s message, they didn’t respond with religious prejudice, instead they searched the Scriptures to verify the truth of the message (Acts 17:11), and many believed! Like a broken record, the jealous troublemakers from Thessalonica showed up. So again, Paul was whisked off, this time to Athens, where he would bring the witness of Jesus to a totally different audience in the thought-center of the Western world.
Because Acts 17:16-33 is so significant, we will take an extra day to consider it. Pause just a minute to think about the two different responses to the gospel. The message was effective in both Thessalonica and Berea, but the Bereans received it with more honor, and so it had a greater effect (many believed). How do you receive the message when the Bible is preached or read?
Prayer: Lord, let me have a noble heart to receive your good news whenever and through whomever I hear it, and help me to know the Scriptures that I might test what I hear. Amen.