Chapter Seventeen — Part Two: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 06/05/2022Foundation Scriptures:
a. Acts 17:10 KJV — And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
b. The decision was made to send Paul and Silas away, under the cover of night, to Berea—about 30 miles from Thessalonica.
c. They immediately headed for the synagogue.
d. Acts 17:11a KJV — These were more noble than those in Thessalonica…
e. These Jews were more noble (well-born; better bred; noble-minded) than those of the previous cities—and appeared to be more courteous, better educated, more polished, and more disposed to receive the Gospel.
f. They did not shut their eyes to the light but were willing to hear truth and reason and receive it.
g. Acts 17:11 KJV — …in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
h. They received the Word of God with all readiness and open-mindedness.
i. They searched the Scriptures daily to know the truth.
j. They believed what they saw plainly written in the Scriptures.
k. The Truth is freely available to any who truly and sincerely seek it.
l. Acts 17:12 KJV — Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
m. A great number of them were convinced by the truth of the Gospel and believed, committing themselves to Christ.
n. There were also many (not a few) of the Greeks who believed—of the prominent women, and the men.
o. Honorable (Greek euschēmōn) decorous; of elegant figure and of good standing; shapely; graceful; comely; noble (in rank); bearing oneself becomingly in speech or behavior; honorable; influential; wealthy; respectable.
p. It is interesting to note that in many of these passages where the Gentiles received Christ, the women are mentioned ahead of the men—perhaps because they were the first to receive and believe.
q. Jesus came to level the playing field, and all are welcome into the Kingdom: Jews, Gentiles, men, and women, from every stratum of society.
2. Trouble Arrives.
a. Acts 17:13 KJV — But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.
b. These envious Jews, used of the devil, were not satisfied until they had caused trouble for God’s messengers everywhere they went.
c. Again, they disturbed and incited the people to persecute the apostles here in Berea.
d. They attempted to quench the flame of the fire of God that was being lit in each of these the cities, but only succeeded in spreading it further abroad.
e. Acts 17:14-15 KJV — And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. 15 And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
f. They escorted Paul toward the sea and brought him all the way into Athens.
g. Silas and Timothy remained in Berea, so the brethren left Paul in Athens and returned to the other two in Berea, according to the instructions they were given.
h. Athens was, and is, the chief city of Greece—a very old and famous city.
i. Famous for its power and dominion, and as a center of learning and a rendezvous of scholars and philosophers.
j. Paul was not ashamed to preach the Gospel here in Athens, even though they considered it foolishness.
k. 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 KJV — For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
a. Acts 17:16 KJV — Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
b. Athens had a reputation for having more idols than the whole of the rest of Greece; plus twice as many sacred feasts.
c. Whatever strange gods were recommended to them, they received them and built them temples and altars.
d. Even after the empire became Christian, the Athenians continued with their addiction to idolatry and no Christian emperor could root it out.
e. Later, the city, with all of its idols and temples, was destroyed by the Goths.
f. Paul’s spirit, by the Holy Spirit, was stirred up with a holy indignation when he saw the ungodly condition the city was in.
g. He was stirred up to boldly preach the Truth and to rescue the souls of men from the clutches of the devil and idolatry.
h. Acts 17:17 KJV — Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
i. Again, he headed first to the Jews in the synagogues, to dialog and to share the Gospel with them.
j. He also met daily in the marketplace with those devout persons who had left their idols to worship God with the Jews.
k. Acts 17:18 KJV — Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
l. The epicureans were followers of Epicurus, 342-279 B.C.
m. They did not believe in any gods and denied that they exercised any powers over anyone or anything.
n. They believed that gratification of the appetites and pleasure was the only aim and point of life, denying the immortality of the soul.
o. The Stoics were followers of Zeno, 270 B.C.
p. They believed in gods, but that all human affairs were governed by fate.
q. They claimed that man should be free from passion and unmoved by joy or grief, pleasure, or pain.
r. The Epicureans were for gratifying every lust of their sensual nature, and the Stoics were for denying flesh and feelings completely.
s. Both sects denied the resurrection of the body.