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1. The Gospel in Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-9 ).
2. The Gospel in Beroea (Acts 17:10-14 ).
3. Paul in Athens (Acts 17:15-34 ).
Three cities in which the Gospel is next preached are before us in this chapter. But there is a marked difference between these three places. In Thessalonica there was much hostility, the result of the success of the Gospel. In Beroea a more noble class of Jews were found. Their nobility consisted in submission to the Scriptures, the oracles of God, and in a ready mind. There was a still greater blessing among the Jews and the Gentiles. In Athens the Apostle Paul met idolatry, indifference and ridicule.
An interesting fact is learned concerning the activity of the apostle in Thessalonica from the two Epistles, which he addressed some time after to the Thessalonians. These were the first Epistles Paul wrote. From these we learn that the Apostle not only preached the Gospel, but also taught the Thessalonian believers prophetic Truths and emphasized the Second Coming of Christ and the events connected with it. In the Second Epistle he reminds them of his oral teaching (2 Thessalonians 2:5 ).
The address Paul gave in Athens has three sections: 1. The Introduction (Acts 17:22-23 ) in which he refers to the altar with the strange inscription “to the unknown God.” Then he uttered the words, “Him I declare unto you.” 2. Who the unknown God is (Acts 17:24-29 ). He is a personal God who made the world and all that is in it. He answered the Epicurean and Stoic schools of philosophy. Materialism and Pantheism were thus swept aside. 3. He closes with the message from God (Acts 17:30-31 ).
He aims at their conscience to awaken them to the sense of need to turn away from idols to the true God. God sends to all One message, be they Jew or Gentiles, Greeks or Barbarians, to repent. And then he states the reason. A day is appointed in which He will judge the world in righteousness. The one through whom God will judge is a Man ordained by Him; then follows the declaration of the resurrection of this Man. The day of judgment here does not mean a universal judgment (a term not known in Scripture) nor the great white throne judgment. The judgment here does not concern the dead at all, but it is the judgment of the habitable world. It is the judgment which will take place when the Man whom God raised from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ, comes the second time. His resurrection is the assurance of it.
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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Acts 17". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent