Acts 17

Acts 17:7

and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

Another king, Jesus. Talk about Jesus the good teacher and no one will object. But preach Jesus the King of kings, as Paul did on many occasions, and there will be opposition and persecution.

Acts 17:13

But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds.

(a) The word of God is the good news of Jesus. See entry for Word of God.

(b) Agitating and stirring up the crowds. If Paul and Barnabas had been preaching the law, the Jews of Thessalonica would not have created trouble (Acts 13:45). The apostles were preaching about the grace of God revealed in Jesus.

Acts 17:14

Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there.

Sent Paul out. Perhaps no one faced more persecution than the Apostle Paul and his standard response was to walk away, keep moving, and keep preaching. See entry for Acts 14:20.

Acts 17:16

      Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.

(a) Provoked. In every city Paul visited there were idols and temples. But when he came to Athens, his spirit reacted with anger. “The longer Paul waited in Athens, the angrier he got – all those idols!” reads the Message Bible.

(b) Full of idols. The Athenians worshipped many idols because they were fearful and superstitious (see entry for Acts 17:22).

Acts 17:18

And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

Preaching. Announcing the good news. The original word for preaching (euaggelizo) is closely related to the word for gospel (euaggelion). This is one of three words that are commonly translated as “preaching” in the New Testament. See entry for Acts 5:42.

Acts 17:22

      So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.

Religious. The original word (deisidaimonia) means superstitious. According to Strong, it is related to two other words; deilos, which means faithless or fearful, and daimon, which means demon or devil. Paul is saying, “I see that you worship a lot of idols” (see Acts 17:16). The Athenians worshipped idols because they were fearful and superstitious. Paul brilliantly used their superstition as a stepping stone to introduce the one true God.

Acts 17:28

for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’

In Him. When you believed the good news about Jesus, you were sealed in him (Eph. 1:13). All the blessings of heaven are found in him (Eph. 1:3), and in him we have redemption, forgiveness, and righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21, Eph. 1:7). All the promises of God are yes in him (2 Cor. 1:20), and in him you have been made complete (Col. 2:10). In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). See entry for Union.

Acts 17:29

“Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.

The children of God. A better translation might be “offspring of God” since the original word does not mean children. Although God is the Father of us all (Mal. 2:10, 1 Cor. 8:6, Eph. 3:15), the phrase “children of God” usually refers to believers (Rom. 9:8, 1 John 5:2). See entry for Children of God.

Acts 17:30

“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,

(a) Now. Now is one of the key words of the new covenant. Because of Jesus, you can be set free now. In the old covenant, people looked forward to the coming Messiah. For them, salvation was tomorrow. But for us, salvation is today (2 Cor. 6:2). The shackles that bound you and the charges that condemned you were dealt with at the cross. Because of Jesus, you can be free now.

(b) All people everywhere. Like Peter, Paul understood that God wants no one to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). All people includes Jews and Gentiles. All people includes both the good and the bad.

(c) Should repent. The apostles preached for a verdict. They did not believe that the whole world was saved. Like Jesus who encouraged people to repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15), they encouraged their listeners to repent, believe the good news, and be saved (Acts 4:12, 11:14, 1 Cor. 10:33, 1 Th. 2:16, 1 Tim. 2:4, 1 John 3:23).

(d) Repent. To repent means to change your mind. In context, it means changing your mind about Christ and the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4). Paul is echoing Jesus who said “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). “Change your unbelieving mind and believe the glad tidings of God’s grace and forgiveness.” See entry for Repentance.

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