College Notes
The Acts
Chapter 17

Thessalonica (17:1-9)

vs. 1

  1. 2nd place the gospel was preached in Europe; Philippi being the first.
  2. Through it ran the great Roman Road from the Adriatic Sea to the Middle East called Egnatian Way.
  3. Over l00 miles from Philippi to Thessalonica.
  4. Paul's lst canonized epistle was sent to the Church in Thessalonica from Corinth around A.D. 50.

vs. 2
"as his manner was" means he kept the Sabbath.

vs. 4
Point: God was calling men and women.

vs. 5
Jason is mentioned in Rom. l6:2l as one of Paul's countrymen, i.e. "kinsmen."

vs. 7
Paul's message:  Christ as king -- The Kingdom of God.

vs. 9
"taken security" means made Jason put up bond, forfeitable if there were further trouble.

Berea (17:10-15)

vs. 11
Berea = 60 miles west of Thessalonica.

"search the scriptures daily" -- the Word of God.

vs. 14
Silas and Timothy stay in Berea.

Athens (17:16-34)
Paul With Athenians (17:16-21)

Athens, History of (emphasis on worship)

  1. Little known before 1900 B.C.
  2. Athens was one of the 1st city-states.
  3. 1st king was named Cecrops.
  4. 4. 682 B.C. saw beginning of elected officials (archons).
  5. State becomes a democracy -- 508 B.C.
  6. Persian Wars -- 490 B.C. & 480 B.C.
  7. Becomes literary and artistic center of Greece.
  8. Peloponnesian War (against Sparta) 431-404 B.C.  Sparta won.
  9. Became finishing school for the sons of wealthy Roman families.

Athens, Worship

  1. Greeks worshipped many gods.
  2. Each city-state had its own minor gods and worshipped it in its own way.  Athens had city throughout Greece.
  3. Zeus = chief god, ruling men and other gods -- lived on Mt. Olympus.
  4. Hera = wife of Zeus, goddess marriage and birth.
  5. Greeks held many festivals in honor of gods, e.g. dramas, prayers, animal sacrifices and athletic contests.
  6. Religion seemed childish to many thoughtful Greeks.
  7. Isis, an Egyptian goddess, and Mithras, a Persian god, attracted many followers.
  8. Ancient Greek religion did not die until Roman Emperor Justinian in A.D. 529.                     

vs. 18
Philosopher's followers (schools of thought): 

  1. Epicureans: Followed Epicurus (341-270 B.C.)
  2.  Stoics: Followed Zeno (340-265 B.C.)

vs. 19
Areopagus:  The venerable council that had charge of religious and educational matters in Athens.

(Greek) for Mars Hill.

Perhaps only 30 members.

Dealt also with cases of homicide.

vs. 21
To philosophize = major part of both Jewish and Greek culture.

Paul's Sermon (17:22-31)

vs. 22
"Superstitious" means religious.

All men are of one blood.

vs. 23
"The unknown God" means...

From Unger's Bible Dictionary:

  1. Agnostos theos = Greek mg. unknown god.  "...not addressed to the philosophers; they did not dedicate altars to unknown gods,  but regarded  all  such  proceedings as the mere superstition of the vulgar..."
  2. 600 years before this a terrible pestilence had fallen on the city.   A Cretian Poet, Epimenides, came forward with a plan.  A flock of black and white sheep were let loose throughout the city from Mars Hill.
  3. “Epimendes put an end to a plague in Athens by causing black and white sheep, which he had let loose on the Areopagus, to be sacrificed on the spots where they lay down, to the god concerned, yet not known by name, Viz., who was the author of the plague; and that therefore one may find in Athens altars without the designation of a god by name.  From this particular instance the general view may be derived, that on important occasions, when the reference to a god known by name was wanting, as in public calamities of which no definite god could be assigned as the author, in order to honor or propitiate the god concerned by sacrifice, without lighting upon a wrong one, altars were erected which were destined and designated 'agnosto theo' (unknown God)."

vs. 26
God has set national boundaries. See Job 12:23.

vs. 28
Paul knew Greek literature and spoke Greek to these people.

vs. 30
"winked at" means "let it go on."

vs. 31
Theme = resurrection of dead.  Also Isaiah 11:4; Revelations 20:4.

Departs (17:32-34)

vs. 34
Dionysius -- member of Areopagus;

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