Paul's Speech on the Hill
Preaching of Paul
Acts xvii: 1 to
Philippi, Paul and Silas went to Thessalonica, which
was the largest city in Macedonia. There they found
many Jews, and a synagogue where the Jews
worshipped. For three weeks Paul spoke at the
meetings in the synagogue, and showed the meaning of
the Old Testament writings that the Saviour for whom
all the Jews were looking must suffer, and die, and
rise again from the dead. And Paul said to them:
"This Jesus whom I preach to you, is the Christ, the
Son of God and the King of Israel."
Some of the Jews believed Paul's teachings, and a
far greater number of the Greeks, the people of the
city who were not Jews, became followers of Christ.
And with them were some of the leading women of the
city, so that a large church of believers in Christ
arose in Thessalonica.
But the Jews who would not believe in Jesus were
very angry as they saw so many seeking the Lord.
They stirred up a crowd of the lowest people of the
city, and raised a riot, and led a noisy throng to
the house of a man named Jason, with whom they
supposed that Paul and Silas were staying. The crowd
broke into the house, and sought for Paul and Silas,
but could not find them. Then they seized Jason, the
master of the house, and some other friends of the
apostles, and dragged them before the rulers of the
city, and cried out:
"These men who have turned the whole world upside
down, have come to this city, and Jason has taken
them into his house. They are acting contrary to the
laws of Caesar the emperor, for they say that there
is another king, a man whose name is Jesus."
The rulers of the city were greatly troubled when
they saw these riotous people, and heard their
words. They knew that Jason and his friends had done
nothing against the law of the land; but to content
the crowd they made the believers promise to obey
the laws, and then they let them go free. The
brethren of the church sent away Paul and Silas, in
the night-time, to the city of Berea, which was not
far from Thessalonica. There again they found a
synagogue of the Jews, and, as in other places, Paul
went into its meetings and preached Jesus, not only
to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles, many of whom
worshipped with the Jews.
These people were of a nobler spirit than the Jews
of Thessalonica, for they did not refuse to hear
Paul's teachings. They listened with open minds, and
every day they studied the Old Testament writings,
to see whether the words spoken by Paul were true.
And many of them became believers in Jesus, not only
the Jews, but the Gentiles also; for those who study
the Bible will always find Christ in its pages. But
the news went to Thessalonica, that the word of
Christ was being taught in Berea. The Jews of
Thessalonica sent some men to Berea, who stirred up
the people against Paul and Silas. To avoid such a
riot as had arisen in Thessalonica, the brethren in
Berea took Paul away from the city, but Silas and
Timothy stayed for a time.
The men who went with Paul led him down to the sea,
and went with him to Athens. There they left Paul
alone, but took back with them Paul's message to
Silas and Timothy to hasten to him as quickly as
they could come. While Paul was waiting for his
friends in Athens, his spirit was stirred in him as
he saw the city full of idols. It was said that in
the city of Athens the images of the gods were more
in number than the people. Paul talked with the Jews
in the synagogue, and in the public square of the
city with the people whom he met. For all the people
of Athens, and those who were visiting in that city,
spent most of their time in telling or in hearing
whatever was new. And there were in Athens many men
who were thought very wise, and who were teachers of
what they called wisdom. Some of these men met Paul,
and as they heard him, they said scornfully, "What
does this babbler say?"
And because he preached to them of Jesus, and of his
rising from the dead, some said, "This man seems to
be talking about some strange gods!"
There was in Athens a hill, called Mars' Hill, where
a court was held upon seats of stone ranged around.
They brought Paul to this place, and asked him,
saying, "May we know what is this new teaching that
you are giving? You bring to our ears some strange
things, and we wish to know what these things mean."
Then Paul stood in the middle of Mars' Hill, with
the people of the city around him, and he said:
"Ye men of Athens, I see that you are exceedingly
given to worship. For as I passed by I saw an altar,
upon which was written these words, 'TO THE UNKNOWN
GOD.'&NBSP;That God whom you know not, and whom you
seek to worship, is the God that I make known to
you. The God who made the world and all things that
are in it, is Lord of heaven and earth, and does not
dwell in temples made by the hands of men; nor is he
served by men's hands, as though he needed anything.
For God gives to all men life, and breath, and all
things. And he has made of one blood all the peoples
who live on the earth: that all men should seek God,
and should feel after him, and should find him; for
he is not far away from any of us. For in him we
live, and move, and have our being: even as some of
your own poets have said, 'For we also are the
children of God.' Since we are God's children, we
should not think that God is like gold, or silver,
or stone, wrought by the hands of men. Now God calls
upon men to turn from their sins; and he tells us
that he has fixed a day when he will judge the world
through that man Jesus Christ whom he has chosen,
and whom he has raised from the dead."
When they heard Paul speak of the dead being raised,
some laughed in scorn; but others said, "We will
hear you again about this." After a time Paul went
away from Athens. Very few people joined with Paul,
and believed on Jesus. Among these few was a man
named Dionysius, one of the court that met on Mars'
Hill, and a woman named Damaris. A few others joined
with them; but in Athens the followers of Christ
were not many.
Preaching of Paul