Then, passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they went to Thessalonica. Here there was a synagogue of the Jews.
Paul--following his usual custom--betook himself to it, and for three successive Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
which he clearly explained, pointing out that it had been necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise again from the dead, and insisting, "The Jesus whom I am announcing to you is the Christ."
Some of the people were won over, and attached themselves to Paul and Silas, including many God-fearing Greeks and not a few gentlewomen of high rank.
But the jealousy of the Jews was aroused, and, calling to their aid some ill-conditioned and idle fellows, they got together a riotous mob and filled the city with uproar. They then attacked the house of Jason and searched for Paul and Silas, to bring them out before the assembly of people.
But, failing to find them, they dragged Jason and some of the other brethren before the magistrates of the city, loudly accusing them. "These men," they said, "who have raised a tumult throughout the Empire, have come here also.
Jason has received them into his house; and they all set Caesar's authority at defiance, declaring that there is another Emperor-- one called Jesus."
Great was the excitement among the crowd, and among the magistrates of the city, when they heard these charges.
They required Jason and the rest to find substantial bail, and after that they let them go.
The brethren at once sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea, and they, on their arrival, went to the synagogue of the Jews.
The Jews at Beroea were of a nobler disposition than those in Thessalonica, for they very readily received the Message, and day after day searched the Scriptures to see whether it was as Paul stated.
As the result many of them became believers, and so did not a few of the Greeks--gentlewomen of good position, and men.
As soon, however, as the Jews of Thessalonica learnt that God's Message had been proclaimed by Paul at Beroea, they came there also, and incited the mob to a riot.
Then the brethren promptly sent Paul down to the sea-coast, but Silas and Timothy remained behind.
Those who were caring for Paul's safety went with him as far as Athens, and then left him, taking a message from him to Silas and Timothy, asking them to join him as speedily as possible.
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was stirred within him when he noticed that the city was full of idols.
So he had discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and the other worshippers, and in the market place, day after day, with those whom he happened to meet.
A few of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also encountered him. Some of them asked, "What has this beggarly babbler to say?" "His business," said others, "seems to be to cry up some foreign gods." This was because he had been telling the Good News of Jesus and the Resurrection.
Then they took him and brought him up to the Areopagus, asking him, "May we be told what this new teaching of yours is?
For the things you are saying sound strange to us. We should therefore like to be told exactly what they mean."
(For all the Athenians and their foreign visitors used to devote their whole leisure to telling or hearing about something new.)
So Paul, taking his stand in the centre of the Areopagus, spoke as follows: "Men of Athens, I perceive that you are in every respect remarkably religious.
For as I passed along and observed the things you worship, I found also an altar bearing the inscription, `TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' "The Being, therefore, whom you, without knowing Him, revere, Him I now proclaim to you.
GOD who made the universe and everything in it--He, being Lord of Heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries built by men.
Nor is He ministered to by human hands, as though He needed anything--but He Himself gives to all men life and breath and all things.
He caused to spring from one forefather people of every race, for them to live on the whole surface of the earth, and marked out for them an appointed span of life and the boundaries of their homes;
that they might seek God, if perhaps they could grope for Him and find Him. Yes, though He is not far from any one of us.
For it is in closest union with Him that we live and move and have our being; as in fact some of the poets in repute among yourselves have said, `For we are also His offspring.'
Since then we are God's offspring, we ought not to imagine that His nature resembles gold or silver or marble, or anything sculptured by the art and inventive faculty of man.
Those times of ignorance God viewed with indulgence. But now He commands all men everywhere to repent,
seeing that He has appointed a day on which, before long, He will judge the world in righteousness, through the instrumentality of a man whom He has pre-destined to this work, and has made the fact certain to every one by raising Him from the dead."
When they heard Paul speak of a resurrection of dead men, some began to scoff. But others said, "We will hear you again on that subject."
So Paul went away from them.
A few, however, attached themselves to him and believed, among them being Dionysius a member of the Council, a gentlewoman named Damaris, and some others.