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Acts 17 New King James Version (NKJV)

Preaching Christ at Thessalonica

17 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.

Assault on Jason’s House

But the Jews [a]who were not persuaded, [b]becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has [c]harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

Ministering at Berea

10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more [d]fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. 14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.

The Philosophers at Athens

16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was [e]given over to idols. 17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. 18 [f]Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this [g]babbler want to say?”

Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.

19 And they took him and brought him to the [h]Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? 20 For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.” 21 For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.

Addressing the Areopagus

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the [i]Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:

TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.

Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one [j]blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter. 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 17:5 NU omits who were not persuaded
  2. Acts 17:5 M omits becoming envious
  3. Acts 17:7 welcomed
  4. Acts 17:11 Lit. noble
  5. Acts 17:16 full of idols
  6. Acts 17:18 NU, M add also
  7. Acts 17:18 Lit. seed picker, an idler who makes a living picking up scraps
  8. Acts 17:19 Lit. Hill of Ares, or Mars’ Hill
  9. Acts 17:22 Lit. Hill of Ares, or Mars’ Hill
  10. Acts 17:26 NU omits blood
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Acts 17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Paul at Thessalonica

17 Now after Paul and Silas had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul entered the synagogue, as was his [a]custom, and for three Sabbaths he engaged in discussion and friendly debate with them from the Scriptures, explaining and pointing out [scriptural evidence] that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I am proclaiming to you, is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).” And some of them were persuaded to believe and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and many of the leading women. But the [unbelieving] Jews became jealous, and taking along some thugs from [the lowlifes in] the market place, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and then attacking Jason’s house tried to bring Paul and Silas out to the people. But when they failed to find them, they dragged Jason and some brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too; and Jason has welcomed them [into his house and protected them]! And they all are saying things contrary to the decrees of Caesar, [actually] claiming that there is another king, Jesus.” They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. And when they had taken security (bail) from Jason and the others, they let them go.

Paul at Berea

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they entered the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these people were more noble and open-minded than those in Thessalonica, so they received the message [of salvation through faith in the Christ] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 As a result many of them became believers, together with a number of prominent Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] had also been preached by Paul at Berea, they came there too, agitating and disturbing the crowds. 14 So at that time the brothers immediately sent Paul away to go as far as the sea; but Silas and Timothy remained there [at Berea]. 15 Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens; and [after] receiving instructions [from Paul] for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible, they left.

Paul at Athens

16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was greatly angered when he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he had discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place day after day with any who happened to be there. 18 And some of the [b]Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to engage in conversation with him. And some said, “What could this idle babbler [with his eclectic, scrap-heap learning] have in mind to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities”—because he was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 They took him and brought him to the [c]Areopagus (Hill of Ares, the Greek god of war), saying, “May we know what this [strange] new teaching is which you are proclaiming? 20 For you are bringing some startling and strange things to our ears; so we want to know what they mean.” 21 (Now all the Athenians and the foreigners visiting there used to spend their [leisure] time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

Sermon on Mars Hill

22 So Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I observe [with every turn I make throughout the city] that you are very religious and devout in all respects. 23 Now as I was going along and carefully looking at your objects of worship, I came to an altar with this inscription: ‘TO AN [d]UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you already worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who created the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He [e]served by human hands, as though He needed anything, because it is He who gives to all [people] life and breath and all things. 26 And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands and territories. 27 This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grasp for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of [f]your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 So then, being God’s children, we should not think that the Divine Nature (deity) is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination or skill of man. 30 Therefore God overlooked and disregarded the former ages of ignorance; but now He commands all people everywhere to repent [that is, to change their old way of thinking, to regret their past sins, and to seek God’s purpose for their lives], 31 because He has set a day when He will judge the inhabited world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed and destined for that task, and He has provided credible proof to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”

32 Now when they heard [the term] resurrection from the dead, [g]some mocked and sneered; but others said, “We will hear from you again about this matter.” 33 So Paul left them. 34 But some men joined him and believed; among them were Dionysius, [a judge] of the Council of Areopagus, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 17:2 Paul had earlier announced that he was turning to the Gentiles (13:46), but he nevertheless kept to his practice of speaking to Jews first while focusing primarily on Gentiles.
  2. Acts 17:18 These were among the leading philosophies of the day. Neither believed in a personal God; indeed, the Epicureans were confirmed atheists. Their goal was to get as much out of life as possible. The Stoics had a strong, fatalistic sense of duty, seeking to improve the inner man.
  3. Acts 17:19 Also known as Mars Hill, named for Mars, the Roman god of war. It was the place where the ancient Greek Areopagus Council convened and had varying powers in the course of its history. In Roman times it was where the supreme government of Athens met.
  4. Acts 17:23 While the philosophers had little or no regard for the old mythological gods of the Greeks, the temples to various deities remained and worship practices continued, at least as a formal tradition. The altar to the Unknown seems to have been constructed for the purpose of acknowledging any god who had been overlooked. Paul seized upon it as an opportunity to introduce the Greeks to Christ.
  5. Acts 17:25 Here Paul uses an unusual word which normally refers to healing. He was educated in classical Greek literature to some extent (see note v 28 and 22:3), and what he says here recalls earlier arguments by Plato (in his dialogues the Euthyphro and the Symposium) which should have struck a responsive chord in the listeners. In the dialogues, Plato represents Socrates as analyzing the nature of service to a god, and points out that the god can only receive actual benefit from service if he is in need or lacking something. Paul masterfully adapts himself to the thinking of the Athenians, demonstrating to them that the gods whom they serve with sacrifices and worship cannot really be gods at all, unless it is possible for a god to have faults or needs that have to be satisfied. This is also a good point for the Christian to bear in mind; believers are to serve God, but this is not a service that in any way actually benefits Him, because He is perfect and in no need of anything which man can supply. The same is true for the sacrificial system of the OT. While God is represented there as demanding sacrifices and sometimes enjoying their pleasant aromas, the sacrifices did not actually benefit Him. In reality they pointed ahead to the supreme sacrifice of Christ, which was the ultimate payment for mankind’s sins.
  6. Acts 17:28 Paul was probably exposed to Greek literature when he studied with Gamaliel, and quoting or paraphrasing a line from one of their poets would have surprised and kept the attention of the audience. See note 22:3.
  7. Acts 17:32 See note v 18.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Acts 17 New Living Translation (NLT)

Paul Preaches in Thessalonica

17 Paul and Silas then traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.” Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women.[a]

But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd.[b] Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers[c] instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too. And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.”

The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports. So the officials forced Jason and the other believers to post bond, and then they released them.

Paul and Silas in Berea

10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.

13 But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble. 14 The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind. 15 Those escorting Paul went with him all the way to Athens; then they returned to Berea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.

Paul Preaches in Athens

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. 17 He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.

18 He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, “What’s this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up?” Others said, “He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods.”

19 Then they took him to the high council of the city.[d] “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. 20 “You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.” 21 (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)

22 So Paul, standing before the council,[e] addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.

24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man[f] he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.

27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your[g] own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.

30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”

32 When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33 That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34 but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council,[h] a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Footnotes:

  1. 17:4 Some manuscripts read quite a few of the wives of the leading men.
  2. 17:5 Or the city council.
  3. 17:6 Greek brothers; also in 17:10, 14.
  4. 17:19 Or the most learned society of philosophers in the city. Greek reads the Areopagus.
  5. 17:22 Traditionally rendered standing in the middle of Mars Hill; Greek reads standing in the middle of the Areopagus.
  6. 17:26 Greek From one; other manuscripts read From one blood.
  7. 17:28 Some manuscripts read our.
  8. 17:34 Greek an Areopagite.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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