17 Now they traveled through the cities of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As was Paul’s custom, he went there to preach, and for three Sabbaths in a row he opened the Scriptures to the people, 3 explaining the prophecies about the sufferings of the Messiah and his coming back to life, and proving that Jesus is the Messiah. 4 Some who listened were persuaded and became converts—including a large number of godly Greek men and also many important women of the city.[a]
5 But the Jewish leaders were jealous and incited some worthless fellows from the streets to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, planning to take Paul and Silas to the City Council for punishment.
6 Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers, and took them before the Council instead. “Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are here disturbing our city,” they shouted, 7 “and Jason has let them into his home. They are all guilty of treason, for they claim another king, Jesus, instead of Caesar.”
8-9 The people of the city, as well as the judges, were concerned at these reports and let them go only after they had posted bail.
10 That night the Christians hurried Paul and Silas to Berea, and, as usual,[b] they went to the synagogue to preach. 11 But the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and gladly listened to the message. They searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas’ statements to see if they were really so. 12 As a result, many of them believed, including several prominent Greek women and many men also.
13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching in Berea, they went over and stirred up trouble. 14 The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind. 15 Those accompanying Paul went on with him to Athens and then returned to Berea with a message for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere throughout the city. 17 He went to the synagogue for discussions with the Jews and the devout Gentiles, and spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.
18 He also had an encounter with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. Their reaction, when he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, was, “He’s a dreamer,” or, “He’s pushing some foreign religion.”
19 But they invited him to the forum at Mars Hill. “Come and tell us more about this new religion,” they said, 20 “for you are saying some rather startling things and we want to hear more.” 21 (I should explain that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest new ideas!)
22 So Paul, standing before them at the Mars Hill forum, addressed them as follows:
“Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious, 23 for as I was out walking I saw your many altars, and one of them had this inscription on it—‘To the Unknown God.’ You have been worshiping him without knowing who he is, and now I wish to tell you about him.
24 “He made the world and everything in it, and since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples; 25 and human hands can’t minister to his needs—for he has no needs! He himself gives life and breath to everything, and satisfies every need there is. 26 He created all the people of the world from one man, Adam,[c] and scattered the nations across the face of the earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and when. He determined their boundaries.
27 “His purpose in all of this is that they should seek after God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and are! As one of your own poets says it, ‘We are the sons of God.’ 29 If this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol made by men from gold or silver or chipped from stone. 30 God tolerated man’s past ignorance about these things, but now he commands everyone to put away idols and worship only him. 31 For he has set a day for justly judging the world by the man he has appointed, and has pointed him out by bringing him back to life again.”
32 When they heard Paul speak of the resurrection of a person who had been dead, some laughed, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33 That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34 but a few joined him and became believers. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the City Council, and a woman named Damaris, and others.