Coachlight Bible Study - Acts Chapter 17

Paul's Second Missionary Journey Part Two

Phillipi to Thesalonica - Thessalonica to Berea - Berea to Athens

We will continue with the travels of Paul and his services and sufferings for Christ. He was called into Macedonia in Acts 16:9 andbegan the Macedonian ministry in Philippi.

In the first part of this chapter, weread of his ministry in Thessalonica. Paulís first two epistles written by inspiration were to the Thessalonians.Theygive such a shining character of that church,that it is great to read the account of the planting of that church in Acts.

We will also read in this chapter of his preaching and persecution in Berea, and his famous sermon on Mars Hill to the philosophers in Athens.

We have an important lesson in evangelism in this chapter. To the Jews in Thessalonica, Paul preached Jesus suffering, died, and ressurected. But to the Philosophers and idoloters, (much like today's evolutionists), Paul preached Creation.


I. A Church Planted at Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-4)

A. Paul went on with his work even after the beating and jail in Philippi


1 Thessalonians 2:2But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.


B. Paul'spreaching was to the Jews first - in their synagogue.

1. He reasoned with them in the Scriptures


1256 dialegomai dialegomai dee-al-egí-om-ahee

AV-dispute 6, reason with 2, reason 2, preach unto 1, preach 1, speak 1; 13

1) to think different things with oneís self, mingle thought with thought

1a) to ponder, revolve in mind

2) to converse, discourse with one, argue, discuss


2. He continued to do this three sabbath days in a row

3. His preaching and arguing was to prove that Jesus is the Christ to the Jews

a. He suffered

b. He died

c. He rose again from the dead

d. This Jesus is Christ or Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament


4. Some of the Jews believed

a. Devout Greeks - a great multitude

b. Chief women - not a few


5. Paul writes to the Christians there


1 Thessalonians 1:9For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;


II. Non Believing Jews Persecute Paul out of Envy (Acts 17:5-9)


1 Thessalonians 2:15Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: {persecuted us: or, chased us out}

1 Thessalonians 2:16Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.


A. The Enemies of the Gospel are the worst of Men (tertullien)

1.They had the city in an uproar

2. Assalted Jason's house

a. The house in which the apostles were staying

b. Took Jason and other brethern to the rulers

B. Accuse Jason and the rest

1. They do contrary to the decrees of Ceaser

2. They preach another King, One Jesus

C. {When they had taken security} (labontev to ikanon). A Greek idiom - to receive the sufficient (bond), usually money for the fulfilment of the judgment.


2983 lambanw lambano lam-baní-o

a prolonged form of a primary verb, which is use only as an alternate in certain tenses; TDNT-4:5,495; v

AV-receive 133, take 106, have 3, catch 3, not tr 1, misc 17; 263


2425 ikanov hikanos hik-an-osí

from hiko [hikano or hikneomai, akin to 2240] (to arrive); TDNT-3:293,361; adj

AV-many 11, much 6, worthy 5, long 4, sufficient 3, misc 12; 41


D. Probably the demand was made of Jason that he see to it that Paul and Silas leave the city not to return.

E. Paul writes of when he was taken from them


1 Thessalonians 2:17But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.


F. They Let Jason go after taking the bail


III. Paul Preaches in Berea - (Acts 17:10-12)

A. Brethern take care of Paul and Silas

1. Sent them away by night to Berea

2. Paul wrote that this would not be a surprise to new converts


1 Thessalonians 3:4For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.


B. Paul & Silas go right to work - to the synagogue

C. Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians

1. Received the Word with all readiness of mind

2. Searched the Scriptures daily for proof

D. Many of them Believed

1. Also of honourable Greek women

2. Greek men - not a few

III. Paul is Persecuted in Berea - (Acts 17:13-15)

A. Jews of Thessalonica find out Paul preaching in Berea

1. They stirred up the people of Berea

2. The brethren send Paul to Athens

3. Silas and Timothy remained for a while - to continue the work


1 Thessalonians 3:1Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;

1 Thessalonians 3:2And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

B. Paul told them to meet him in Athens as soon as possible

IV. Disputation with Greek Philosophers (Acts 17:16-21)

A. Paul waited at Athens

1. Areopagus - same word that is translated Marsí Hill in verse 22

a. The town house of their city

b. It was where the magistrates met upon public business

c. It was where the courts of justice were kept

d. It was as the theatre in the university where philosophers met

2. Paul noticed that the city was wholly given to idolatry


This agrees with the account which the heathen writers give of it,that there were more idols in Athens than there were in all Greece besides put together,and that they had twice as many sacred feasts as others had.Whatever strange gods were recommended to them, they admitted them,and allowed them a temple and an altar,so that they had almost as many gods as men.

And this city,after the empire became Christian,continued incurably addicted to idolatry,and all the pious edicts of the Christian emperors could not root it out,till,by the irruption of the Goths,that city was in so particular a manner laid waste that there are now scarcely any remains of it. It is observable that there,where human learning most flourished,idolatry most abounded,and the most absurd and ridiculous idolatry


3. The famous court of justice drew from all over

a. If any denied a god,he was liable to the censure of this court.

b. No new god be admitted without their OK.

c. Here Paul was tried - but not as a criminal - as a candidate.

B. Two Schools of Philosophy at Athens - Much like today's Evolutionists

1. Epicurians

a. Believed god was an inactive being

b. Believed God didn't make or govern the world

c. Believed pleasure of the senses was most important

d. Did not believe in life after death

2. Stoicks

a. Pantheists - thought themselves as good as god

b. Indulged in pride of life as much as Epicurians did pleasures

c. Believed men need to abstain from pleasures

d. Did not believe in life after death

C. Philosophers were interested in conversation with Paul

1. They were there for conversation

2. They were for telling and hearing some new thing

3. They preferred learning by conversation rather than study

4. They spent their time in nothing else

5. They were busybodies


1 Timothy 5:13And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.


D. Philosophers took Paul to Mars Hill

1. Thought he preached strange gods

a. He preached Jesus

b. He preached the resurrection

2. Wanted to know what the new teaching was

V. Paul's Sermon at Mars Hill - Creation (Acts 17:22-31)

A. Told them he knew the God they called the unknown God

1. He made the world and all things in it.

2. He does not live in buildings

3. He is not worshiped with men's hands as if he needed anything


1 Kings 8:27But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

Isaiah 66:1Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

Isaiah 66:2For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.


4. He maintains all and does not benefit by any of our services

5. God made all men of one kind

a. That they should seek the Lord

b. He is not far - you can know Him

6. The Godhead is not gold or silver or graven images


2304 yeiov theios thií-os

from 2316; TDNT-3:122,322; adj

AV-divine 2, Godhead 1; 3

1) a general name of deities or divinities as used by the Greeks

2) spoken of the only and true God, trinity

2a) of Christ

2b) Holy Spirit

2c) the Father


7. God winked at ignorance before the gospel was preached - Paul said of himself


1 Timothy 1:13Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.


8. God calls all to repentance - come out of ignorance

9. He has appointed a Day of judgment

a. By the One He hath ordained

b. He assured everyone by raising Him from the dead

VI. Result of Paul's Sermon at Mars Hill(Acts 17:22-31)

1. Some ridiculed Paul and his preaching -

a. did not believe in the resurection of the dead

b. They deified their heroes after their death,but never thought of them being raised from the dead

2. Others were willing to take time to consider of it - "We will hear thee again of this matter"

3. Paulleft them to considerit- "He departed from amongst them"

4.There were certain men that adhered to him,and believed.

a. Dionysius the Areopagite,one of that high court or great council that sat in Areopagus

†† The account of Eusebius of this Dionysius is that he was bred at Athens,had studied astrology in Egypt,where he took notice of the miraculous eclipse at our Saviourís passion, -that,returning to Athens,he became a senator,disputed with Paul,and was by him converted from his error and idolatry; and,being by him thoroughly instructed,was made the first bishop of Athens.

b. The woman named Damaris

c. And others with them