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Chapter 17

1After passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they reached Thessalonica, where the Jews had a synagogue. 2Paul went to it as he was accustomed to do, and for three Sabbaths he discussed the Scriptures with them, 3explaining them and showing that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead.

“Jesus,” he said, “of whom I am telling you, is the Christ!”

4He convinced some of them, and they joined Paul and Silas, along with a great many devout Greeks and a number of the principal women. 5This offended the Jews and they gathered some unprincipled loafers, formed a mob and started a riot in the town. They attacked Jason’s house, to find them and bring them out among the people. 6As they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the town magistrates, shouting,

“The men who have made trouble all over the world have come here too, 7and Jason has taken them in. They all disobey the emperor’s decrees, and claim that someone else called Jesus is king.”

8The crowd and the magistrates were very much excited at hearing this, 9and they put Jason and the others under bonds before they let them go.

10The brothers sent Paul and Silas away immediately, in the course of the following night, to Berea. On arriving there they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11The Jews there were more high-minded than those at Thessalonica, and received the message with great eagerness and studied the Scriptures every day, to find out whether it was true. 12Many of them became believers and so did no small number of Greek women of position, and men too. 13But when the Jews at Thessalonica found out that God’s message had been delivered at Berea by Paul, they came there too, to excite and stir up the populace. 14Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off to the coast, while Silas and Timothy stayed behind. 15The men who went with Paul took him all the way to Athens, and came back with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin him as soon as possible.

16While Paul waited for them at Athens, he was exasperated to see how idolatrous the city was. 17He had discussions at the synagogue with the Jews and those who worshiped with them, and every day in the public square with any whom he happened to find. 18Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers debated with him. Some of them said,

“What is this rag-picker trying to make out?”

Others said,

“He seems to be preaching some foreign deities.”

This was because he was telling the good news of Jesus and the resurrection. 19So they took him and brought him to the council of the Areopagus and said,

“May we know just what this new teaching of yours is? 20Some of the things you tell us sound strange to us, and we want to know just what they mean.”

21For all Athenians and all visitors there from abroad used to spend all their time telling or listening to something new.

22Then Paul stood up in the middle of the council and said,

“Men of Athens, from every point of view I see that you are extremely religious. 23For as I was going about and looking at the things you worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an Unknown God.’ So it is what you already worship in ignorance that I am now telling you of. 24God who created the world and all that is in it, since he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples built by human hands, 25nor is he waited on by human hands as though he were in need of anything, for he himself gives all men life and breath and everything. 26From one forefather he has created every nation of mankind, and made them live all over the face of the earth, fixing their appointed times and the limits of their lands, 27so that they might search for God, and perhaps grope for him and find him, though he is never far from any of us. 28For it is through union with him that we live and move and exist, as some of your poets have said,

“ ‘For we are also his offspring.’

29So if we are God’s children we ought not to imagine that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, wrought by human art and thought. 30While God overlooked those times of ignorance, he now calls upon all men everywhere to repent, 31since he has fixed a day on which he will justly judge the world through a man whom he has appointed, and whom he has guaranteed to all men by raising him from the dead.”

32When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said,

“We should like to hear you again on this subject.”

33So Paul left the council. 34Some persons joined him, however, and became believers, among them Dionysius, a member of the council, and a woman named Damaris, and some others.

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