17:1 Now 1 when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
(1) The casting out of Silas and Paul was the
saving of many others.
Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from
the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
(2) Christ is therefore the mediator, because he
was crucified and rose again: and he is certainly not to be rejected because
the cross is shameful.
But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain a
lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on
an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the
(3) Although the zeal of the unfaithful seems
ever so virtuous, yet at length it is found to have neither truth nor
fairness. Yet the wicked cannot do what they wish, for even among themselves
God stirs up some, whose help he uses for the deliverance of his own.
(a) Certain companions which do nothing but walk
the streets, wicked men, to be hired for every man's money to do any
mischief, such as we commonly call the rabble and very cesspools and dunghill
knaves of all towns and cities.
17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason
and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned
the b world upside down are come hither
(b) Into whatever country and place they come,
they cause sedition and tumult.
when they had taken c security of Jason,
and of the other, they let them go.
(c) When Jason had put them in good assurance
that they would appear.
17:10 4 And
the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who
coming [thither] went into the synagogue of the Jews.
(4) That is indeed the wisdom of the Spirit which
always sets the glory of God before itself as a mark with which it directs
itself, and never wavers from it.
These were more d noble than those in
Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and
searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
(5) The Lord sets out in one short period of
time, and in one people, different examples of his unsearchable wisdom to
cause them to fear him.
(d) He compares the Jews with the Jews.
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.
(6) Satan has his who are zealous for him, and
those who one would least suspect.
17:14 7 And
then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but
Silas and Timotheus abode there still.
(7) There is neither counsel, nor fury, nor
madness against the Lord.
17:15 8 And
they that conducted Paul e brought him
unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to
him with all speed, they departed.
(8) The sheep of Christ also watch their
pastor's health and safety, but yet in the Lord.
(e) It is not for nothing that the Jews of Berea
were so commended, for they brought Paul safe from Macedonia to Athens, and
there is in between these two places all of Thessalia, and Boeotia, and
17:16 9 Now
while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was f
stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to g
(9) In comparing the wisdom of God with man's
wisdom, men scoff and mock at that which they do not understand: and God uses
the curiosity of fools to gather together his elect.
(f) He could not forbear.
(g) Slavishly given to idolatry: Pausanias writes
that there were more idols in Athens than in all Greece; yea they had altars
dedicated to Shame, and Fame, and Lust, whom they made goddesses.
17:17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with
the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with h
them that met with him.
(h) Whoever Paul met with that would allow him to
talk with him, he reasoned with him, so thoroughly did he burn with the zeal
of God's glory.
Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered
him. And some said, What will this i
babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods:
because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
(10) Two special sects of the philosophers set
themselves against Christ: the Epicures, who mock and scoff at religion: and
the Stoics, who decide religious matters according to their own thinking.
(i) Literally, "seed gatherer": a
borrowed kind of speech taken from birds which spoil corn, and is applied to
those who without any skill blurt out the knowledge which they have gotten by
hearing this man and that man.
17:19 And they took him, and brought him unto k
Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest,
(k) This was a place called, as one would say,
Mars hill, where the judges sat who were called Areopagita upon important
matters, who in ancient time arraigned Socrates, and afterward condemned him
(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in
nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
(11) The wisdom of man is vanity.
Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, [Ye] men of Athens, I
perceive that in all things ye are too l
(12) The idolaters themselves provide most strong
and forcible arguments against their own superstition.
(l) To stand in too foolish and slavish a fear of
17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your m
devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE n
UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
(m) Whatever men worship for religion's sake,
that we call religion.
(n) Pausanias in his Atticis makes mention of the
altar which the Athenians had dedicated to unknown gods: and Laertius in his
Epimenides makes mention of an altar that had no name entitled upon it.
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven
and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
(13) It is a most foolish and vain thing to
compare the Creator with the creature, to limit him within a place who can be
comprehended in no place, and to think to allure him with gifts, from whom all
men have received all things whatever they have: and these are the fountains
of all idolatry.
And hath made of o one blood all nations
of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times
before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
(14) God is wonderful in all his works, but
especially in the work of man: not that we should stand amazed at his works,
but that we should lift our eyes to the workman.
(o) Of one stock and one beginning.
17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they
might p feel after him, and find him,
though he be not far from every one of us:
(p) For as blind men we could not seek out God
except by groping, before the true light came and enlightened the world.
17:29 Forasmuch then as we
are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto
gold, or silver, or stone, q graven by
art and man's device.
(q) Which things (gold, silver, and stones) are
custom engraved as much as a man's mind can devise, for men will not worship
those things as they are, unless by some art it has formed into an image of
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every
where to repent:
(15) The oldness of the error does not excuse
those that err, but it commends and sets forth the patience of God, who
nonetheless will be a just judge to those who condemn him.
17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which
he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained;
[whereof] he hath given r assurance unto
all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.
(r) By declaring Christ to be the judge of the
world through the resurrection from the dead.
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others
said, We will hear thee again of this [matter].
(16) Men, to show forth their vanity, are
affected and moved differently by the very same Gospel, which nonetheless does
not cease to be effectual in the elect.