Acts 17: Churches in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens: "The Unknown God, Paul's Resilience ...
Good evening, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Jared led a discussion on Acts chapters 16 and 17, focusing on Paul's preaching in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. The conversation touched on the meaning of the word 'reason' as used in the Bible, the trumped-up charge against Christians, and Paul's interactions with the philosophers in Athens. The discussion ended with a prayer and an announcement about the next meeting focusing on Acts chapter 18 and the church in Corinth.
Paul's Preaching and Resistance in Thessalonica
Jared discussed Acts Chapter 17, focusing on Paul's preaching in Thessalonica. They detailed how Paul, as per their custom, reasoned with the Jews from the Scriptures for three Sabbaths, explaining the concept of Christ's suffering and resurrection. The discussion also touched upon the resistance from some Jews, leading to an uproar in the city and the subsequent dragging of Jason and their brethren to the city's rulers. Jared also provided some context about Thessalonica, describing it as a large and prosperous city with a population of over 200,000. They further noted that it was a university city with a thriving harbor and commerce.
Bible's 'Reason' and 'Devout': A Theological Discussion
Jared led a discussion on the meaning of the word 'reason' used in the Bible. They explained that it does not imply engaging in an intellectual debate but refers to speaking or conversing about truth, ideas, or things. They emphasized that the gospel proclamation is not about winning a philosophical argument. The conversation also touched on the use of the word 'devout' to describe God's fury and a Gentile who follows the Jewish religion. Lastly, Jared discussed a trumped-up charge against Christians, claiming another king, Jesus, which is reminiscent of the charges brought against Jesus of being a political king.
Jews' Response to Paul's Message
Jared discussed the journey of Paul and Silas to Berea, where they were welcomed by the Jews, who were more receptive to their message than those in Thessalonica. The Jews in Thessalonica, upon learning of Paul's preaching in Berea, traveled to stir up the crowds against them. Paul was then sent away, while Silas and Timothy remained. Jared emphasized the Jews' unwillingness to search the Scriptures to verify Paul's message, contrasting it with the Jews in Berea who did search the Scriptures.
Paul's Athens Preaching and Resilience
Jared led a discussion about a biblical passage focusing on Paul's interactions with the philosophers and the church in Athens. They emphasized how Paul used the city's altars and their improvised prayer to preach about Christ. Some mocked Paul's teachings about the resurrection of the dead, but others expressed interest and agreed to hear more. Jared also highlighted the importance of being resilient and open in spreading Christian teachings to other religions. The discussion ended with a prayer. The next meeting will continue with Acts chapter 18, focusing on the church in Corinth.
In Christ, Love Jared W. Campbell
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