"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 who were not persuaded, 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 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
"Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more 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. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. 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. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. 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". (NKJV)
Paul and Silas left the city of Philippi having ministered and through the preaching of the Gospel and fervent prayer left many converts to Jesus Christ in that wicked city. Among the converts were the first European convert, Lydia, a seller of purple cloth and the Philippian jailer, who before his conversion placed Paul and Silas in prison and secured them in stocks in the innermost part of the Jail, a dungeon.. Before they left Philippi, the stopped by Lydia’s house to console the brethren there and to say their final goodbyes. Leaving Philippi, the Missionary team now embark further into Asia Minor. Their mission is to preach the gospel to the people in Thessalonica and establish a new church there.
Preaching Jesus Christ in Thessalonica (verse 1-4)
In order to get to Thessalonica, Paul and Silas had to pass through 2 cities: Amphipolis and Apollonia. The distance between the 2 cities to Thessalonica are the following: Philippi to Amphipolis, 33 miles; Amphipolis to Apollonia, 30 miles; Apollonia to Thessalonica, 37 miles. " Total distance: 100 miles
Concerning "Apollonia" This city was situated between Amphipolis and Thessalonica, and was formerly much celebrated for its trade. (vs. 1)
New Converts in Jason’s house (vs. 2-4)
Paul, as he did in Philippi went to the Jewish temple for 3 consecutive Sabbaths and reasoned with the congregation out of the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, he said. Paul always attempted to preach the gospel to Jews first, then to the Gentiles which is why he went to the Jewish temple first.
What Paul said and did in presenting the Gospel to the people in the synagogue
Paul expounded on the 4 fundamental facts concerning the Gospel based on 1 Corinthians 15:1-8.
Note : Paul preached and expounded on 30 major doctrines concerning Christ and the Christian faith. In presenting the gospel, Paul revealed all the facts of what Jesus Christ came to do and how HE would suffer, then provided the facts according to the Law (Torah) how Jesus literally fulfilled each and every prophesy concerning the “coming Messiah”. All they had was the Torah at this point in history. Here ‘s some of the things Paul talked about concerning Jesus Christ:
(1) That everything Jesus said and did corresponded with the prophecies respecting him in the following particulars:
(a) He was born at Bethlehem, (Micah 5:2).
(b) He was of the tribe of Judah, (Genesis 49:10).
(c) He was descended from Jesse, and of the royal line of David, (Isaiah 11:1,10).
(d) He came at the time predicted, (Daniel 9:24-27).
(e) His appearance, character, work, etc., corresponded with the predictions, Isaiah 53.
(2) His miracles proved that he was the Messiah, for he professed to be, and God would not work a miracle to confirm the claims of an impostor.
(3) For the same reason, his resurrection from the dead proved that he was the Messiah.
The Results: A New Church comprised of both Jews and Gentiles.
(The Church at Thessalonica)
This resulted in some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas and became disciple of Jesus Christ, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. (vs.4)
Note: By “Scriptures” we mean the Torah or Pentateuch the first 5 books of the Bible.
More Opposition to Gospel Preaching “Unbelieving Jews” (verses 5-9)
“Assault on Jason’s house”
Of course, the Jews who heard but refused to believe the Gospel moved against the new church with envy and jealousy (because of the success of the message and the large number of converts, especially Gentiles.) did the following:
1. These Jews went into the Market place and aligned themselves with wicked people (people of the “baser” sort) and with them convince them to start a riot against the Gospel and the new church.
2. They assaulted the house of Jason because Paul and Silas were believed to be staying there looking to grab hold to Paul and Silas and bring them in front of the people in the “Forum” or Marketplace. When they could find them there, they grabbed hold to Jason and certain brethren and took them before the magistrates crying out (accusing them of the following: “These have turned the world upside down” have come here too. (They have caused a commotion and disturbances in other places too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king Jesus" (vs. 6-7)
"It’s worth noting here that the Gospel has always been accused of causing a major disturbance and turning the world upside down. Paul said it best concerning the Gospel: "It's the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes it!""
Concerning the Men of the “Baser sort”:
Many of these men would be of “abandoned” character: the idle, the dissipated, and the worthless, and, therefore, just primed to become a vicious mob. Here, in verse 5, it does not appear that they felt any particular interest in the subject; but they were, like other mobs, easily excited, and urged on to any acts of violence. They were always looking for a reason to become violent, even if it was for no real reason at all.
The "pretense” or charge on which the unbelieving Jews baited the mob on was the mob was excited was, that Paul and Silas had been making trouble and producing a disturbance, and that they violated the laws of the Roman emperor. (Accused of Sedition and high treason)
The purpose of making this accusation was the same as why the Sanhedrin went before Pilate to accuse Jesus of the same thing. They did this to enraged the Roman magistrates in hopes of causing them to severely punish Paul and Silas, including getting a death sentence levied against them.
Note: In Acts 17:7, these unbelieving Jews are making the same attempt to raise the charge of high treason, as in John 18:36-37 and in John 19:12 against Jesus. There’s no doubt the apostles spoke of the kingdom of heaven and of Christ coming back as king, but never did they say that Jesus was in competition with any king though Bible prophecies say the Millennial kingdom will supersede any earthly kingdom in place when before the prophecies are fulfilled and the Messiah comes to earth.
Jason Posted Bond: Paul and Silas Forced to leave Thessalonica (vs. 8-14)
Held in contempt by the Roman magistrates, Jason was forced to post a substantial bail to satisfy the magistrates and to vouch for the fact that Paul and Silas was not attempting in any way to start a riot. Jason and the other satisfied the concerns of the magistrates for the good conduct of Paul and Silas, and became responsible for it. Whether it was by depositing a sum of money, and by thus giving bail, is not quite clear. The sense is, that they did it in accordance with the Roman usages, and gave sufficient security for the good conduct of Paul and Silas. They were let go after posting bail. (vs. 8)
"Having posted bail and promising the magistrates not to create another uproar, Jason and the rest of the brethren sent Paul and Silas away in the night time to the city of Berea". (vs. 9)
From Thessalonica to Berea: Another Jewish Opposition….”Expelled from Berea” (verses 10-14)
Paul arrived in Berea and immediately went into their Synagogue and reasoned with them out of the scriptures.
The Jews in this temple were more “noble” then at Thessalonica in three ways:
1. They received the Gospel with “readiness of mind”
The people here were more courteous and had a better disposition (open minded), better education, a better attitude and were more “polished”. (well mannered and respectful)
2. Then to confirm what Paul preached, they searched the scriptures daily to see for themselves if what was Paul preached true.
They read for themselves and meditated on what they read day and night. They delighted themselves in searching the Scriptures to find everything Paul said to them concerning Jesus Christ and the Law.
3. Many of them believed, including the honorable Greek women and men.
They believed what was written in the scriptures for themselves.
Note: This is the proper way we are to approach the receiving of God’s WORD when it is ministered.
Search the scriptures daily (Study the entire Bible (2 Timothy 2:15) and remember (Psalms 1).
Delight yourself in the Word of God and read every day or night, then meditate upon what you read. The major lessons we are to take from the response of the congregation in Berea is:
(1) It is proof of nobleness and liberality of mind to be willing to examine the proofs of the truth of God’s WORD. Unfortunately, too many professing Christians are guilty of having a unwillingness to examine what God WORD claims, so much so that they spurn it as unworthy of serious thought, and condemn it without hearing.
(2) The Scriptures should be examined daily. If we wish to arrive at the truth, they should be the object of constant study. That man has very little reason to expect that he will grow in knowledge and grace who does not peruse, with candor and with prayer, a portion of the Bible every day.
(3) Searching of the Scriptures is the best way to keep your mind from believing erroneous doctrines and keep you from living out your faith based on constant error. Anyone who does not do it daily may expect to "be carried about with every wind of doctrine," and to have no settled opinions.
(4) The preaching of ministers should be examined by the Scriptures. Whatever is taught or preached by the minister or teachers are of no value unless they accord with the Bible.
A note to every Minister:
Every preacher should expect his doctrines to be examined in this way, and to be rejected if they are not in accordance with the Word of God.
The church, in proportion to its increase in purity and knowledge, will feel this more and more; and it is an indication of advance in piety when people are increasingly disposed (compelled) to examine everything by the Bible. How immensely important, then, is it that the young should be trained up to diligent habits of searching the Word of God. And how momentous is the obligation of parents, and of Sunday school teachers, to inculcate just views of the interpretation of the Bible, and to form the habits of the rising generation, so that they shall be disposed and enabled to examine every doctrine by the sacred oracles.
Out of Town Opposition: Hostile Jews from Thessalonica come to Berea (verses 13-15)
When the Jews from Thessalonica got word the Gospel was successfully preached in Berea by Paul, they came to Berea and stirred up the people . (vs. 13)
Immediately they sent Paul out of town to o to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. (vs. 14)
For his safety, the brethren got Paul to Athens (Greece) and received a command from Paul to Silas and Timothy to meet him in Athens.(vs. 15)
To be Continued............
Dr. William Edward Boddie