The Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 17

Paul preaches at Thessalonica, where some believe, 1-4, and others persecute him, 5-9. He is sent to Berea and preaches there, 10-12. Being persecuted by Jews from Thessalonica, 13-15, he comes to Athens, disputing with the Jews and preaching the living God, to them unknown, 16-31; whereby, though some mock, many are converted to Christ, 32-34.

1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul, as his manner was, went to them, and on three sabbaths reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, 3 Opening and alleging that it was needful that Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus, whom I preach to you, is Christ." 4 And some of them believed and consorted with Paul and Silas, along with a great multitude of the devout Greeks and many of the chief women. 5 But the Jews who did not believe, being moved with envy, took for themselves some vile fellows of the baser sort, and gathering a company, set all the city in an uproar. They assaulted the house of Jason and sought to bring them out to the people. 6 And when they did not find them, they drew Jason and some brothers to the rulers of the city, crying, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 Whom Jason has received, and they all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus." 8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. 9 And when they had received a pledge from Jason and from the others, they let them go.

10 And the brothers immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night to Berea, who, coming there, went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12 Therefore, many of them believed, along with a number of honorable women and men who were Greeks. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the people. 14 And then immediately the brothers sent Paul away to go as far as to the sea, but Silas and Timothy stayed there still. 15 And those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens, and receiving a commandment to Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.

16 Now, while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. 17 Therefore, he disputed in the synagogue with the Jews and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with those who met with him. 18 Then some philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics encountered him. And some said, "What will this babbler say?" and others said, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange gods," because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We therefore wish to know what these things mean"— 21 For all the Athenians and strangers who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars-hill, and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription: 'TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.' Therefore, whom you ignorantly worship, I declare him to you. 24 God who made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, 25 Neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he gives to all life, breath, and all things, 26 And has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and has determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation, 27 That they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 For in him we live, move, and have our being, as some of your own poets have also said, 'For we are also his offspring.' 29 Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like gold, silver, or stone engraved by art and man's device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 Because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained, of which he has given assurance to all men in that he has raised him from the dead."

32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, but others said, "We will hear you again concerning this matter." 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 But some men adhered to him and believed, among whom was Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Acts, Chapter 17[➚]