Acts 17 Outline
– Paul preached on 3 consecutive Sabbath days in Thessalonica and many believed in Jesus Christ (Acts 17:1-3)
– The Thessalonian Jews started a riot and captured Jason and others (Acts 17:4-8)
– Jason was freed after posting bonds (Acts 17:9)
– Paul and Silas were sent away to Berea (Acts 17:10)
– Paul preached in Berea and many believed in Jesus Christ (Acts 17:11-14)
– The believers sent Paul to Athens (Acts 17:15)
– Paul saw that Athens is a city full of idols (Acts 17:16-17)
– The Epicureans and Stoics members debated with Paul (Acts 17:18)
– Paul was brought to the Areopagus meeting to explain more about the gospel (Acts 17:19)
– Paul preached about Jesus and his resurrection in the Areopagus meeting (Acts 17:20-31)
– The people mocked Paul after hearing him preaching about Jesus’ resurrection but some believed and became Paul’s followers (Acts 17:32-34)
Acts 17 Bible Study
Paul arrived in Thessalonica after he had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia. Paul reasoned with the Jews on three consecutive Sabbath days. Some Jews and a large number of God fearing Greeks believed. There are also a number of prominent women that believed. There were some Jews who were jealousy and they got the support of some bad characters and started a riot. They entered Jason’s house to search for Paul and Silas. When they couldn’t find Paul and Silas, they dragged Jason and some believers before the officials of Thessalonica and accused them for stirring up trouble by saying that there is another king called Jesus. Jason and others were released after they had posted bonds.
At night, Paul and Silas were sent by the believers to Berea. The Jews in Berea were more noble compared to the Jews in Thessalonica. The Berean Jews would examine the scripture to confirm what Paul preach is according to the standard of God’s word. Many people in Berea came to believe in Jesus Christ. Many Greek women and men also came to the faith in Jesus Christ. The Jews from Thessalonica found out that Paul was preaching in Berea so they came and stir up the crowd there. Later, the believers sent Paul to Athens. Those who escorted Paul were instructed to join him soon. They were also left with instructions for Silas and Timothy,.
While in Athens, Paul found that the whole city is full of idols. Then, he entered into the synagogue and preached about Jesus and his resurrection to the Jews and God fearing Greeks. The Epicureans and Stoic members debated with Paul and then brought him to the Areopagus, where they asked him to explain further about the new teaching he is bringing. Paul stood up in the Areopagus meeting and rebuked their idol worshiping. According to Paul, he walked around the city and look at the worship objects and found an altar with an inscription ‘To The Unknown God.’ (Acts 17:23).
Paul explained to the people that God does not live in temple made by hands. God is never too far away from human beings. In the past, God has overlooked idolatry, when Jesus Christ haven’t come to die on the cross for our sins. After Jesus Christ come to the earth to die on the cross, anyone who believe in Jesus Christ can be saved and inherit eternal life. In the past, only the Jews are God’s people and entitled to receive eternal life. After Jesus Christ died, God raised him to life on the third day. The judgment day will come when everyone will stand before God and be judged according to their deeds.
When the people hear about Jesus’ resurrection, they mocked Paul but a number of them believed and became Paul followers. Some of the people in Athens that had came to believe in Jesus were Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris.
Acts 17 Bible Study
1. Test every teaching by examining the scripture in the bible
In Acts 17:10-12, the Bereans did not just believe what Paul preached. Instead, they search the scripture to see if what Paul preach is according to the standard of God’s word. In 1 Thessalonians 5:21, we should test everything and hold to the good. In 1 John 4:1, we should not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see if they are from God because there are many false prophets on earth. You can pray to the Holy Spirit to give you discernment between right and wrong preaching. The Holy Spirit is the small voice that speak to you in your heart and guide you on the path of righteousness.
2. Don’t worship or bow down to idols
In Acts 17:36, Paul was very distressed after he saw that the city was full of idols. Christians must keep themselves away from anything that has relation to idolatry (Exodus 20:4; 1 Corinthians 10:14; Galatians 5:19-21). You should not keep any idol or statue in the house even if you don’t believe in the religion. Christians should not keep anything related to idolatry including charms, bracelets, clothes, posters, photos and etc. You cannot visit a temple of pagan gods when you are on holiday in a country. Idolatry also refer to the things that you put first in your life over God including job, family, and etc (Matthew 6:33).