Win them over with discussion?

Acts 17
16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. 17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. 18 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler (seed picker, an idler who makes a living picking up scraps) want to say?”

Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.

Something in find very odd and curious….
For all the power Paul had in Christ, and for all the amazing signs and wonders he did through Christ, it says ” he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews.”

Even earlier in the scripture it says “and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures…”

I could be wrong, but I never really saw Jesus reason with people to win them over intellectually. I wonder if there is more to this, or if Paul had a unique way of ministering.

I think now days reasoning with people might seem difficult because no one seeks after truth anymore. They only want what they want, and they reason to get it.

Nothing better to do

Acts 17
13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. 14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.

So the Jews harassing Paul, are just following him everywhere, or they have different groups everywhere with the same goal, annoy, disrupt and cause chaos.

Another interpretation:
14The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. 15Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then returned with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.…

So the brothers in the area sent Paul away very quickly. Then told Silas and Timothy to join up asap. They must have done some secret escorting with Paul to not have extra space or room for Silas and Timothy.
More persecution for the words sake.

We need to stop taking for granted the ability we have to talk about Jesus without having to be “escorted” out of the region.

Be Like a Berean

Acts 17
10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more [d]fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.

So after the assault on Jason’s house, the other guys hanging with Paul and Silas sent them away.

Now I looked at many different versions of Berean’s being “fair-minded.” Other versions say open minded or more noble.

https://www.gotquestions.org/who-Bereans.html

…the Bereans examined what they heard by comparing it to the Old Testament Scriptures. The fact that they honestly listened and conducted further personal research led many Bereans to faith in Jesus as the Messiah. This expansion of Christianity was not limited to those within the synagogue, but also extended to many Greek men and women in Berea.

From all accounts, the Bereans were a people hungry to learn. So if they heard something new they would research and investigate it. This is what lead many of them to Christ, truth.

Jason’s House

I am back from vacation. Sorry for the long dry week!!

Acts 17
5 But the Jews [a]who were not persuaded, [b]becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. 7 Jason has [c]harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” 8 And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. 9 So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

The word “security” in verse 9 is translated as “bond” in other versions. Which to me makes a lot more sense.

In an effort to find Paul and Silas, they mobbed Jason’s house and brought him to court/jail.

I find it curious that this is in the scripture. I will do more digging later. I also welcome comments.

Division

Acts 17
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.

On the surface, this seems very divisive to me. Paul walked into the church and spent a weekend there explaining why Jesus was the Christ. Then a portion of the people that believed would follow Paul.

The truth will divide us. People are free to believe whatever they want. I am reminded of Jesus preaching when He said:
Mark 13:12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who [e]endures to the end shall be saved.

We all have decisions to make when it comes to Jesus. Much like Pastor preached regarding Pilot. What are you going to do with Jesus? Will you believe, will you ignore, or will you crucify?

Recap Chapter 16

I have been trying to remember to do this. I like to recap the chapter to remind us what we read.

Paul and Silas pick up Timothy to join them. They circumcise him.

They tried to go to Bithynia but the Holy Spirit denied them. Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia. So they traveled there.

They met Lydia the seller of purple and she came to Christ and they stayed at her house.

The slave girl harassed Paul a couple of days, until he cast out the evil spirit.
Paul and Silas were seized, beaten and imprisoned.

While they were worshiping in prison the chains fell off and the doors opened up.
The jailer was going to kill himself but Paul stopped him. The jailer and his entire house received Christ.

They went back to prison.
And day, the magistrate told the jailer to release Paul and Silas. Paul being an uncondemned Roman would not leave secretly and made the magistrate himself come to release him with an apology (pretty much.)

Each day on this journey, Paul and Silas by the Holy Spirit ministered to someone. I believe that it was divine appointment for everyone they spoke with. Even the jailer. We could argue that Paul was not instructed by the Holy Spirit to free the slave girl, and because of that should not have gone to prison at that moment. However, the Lord always had them in a position to minister. So maybe the jailer received something not necessarily meant for him!

This chapter was a long journey have preaching and persecution.

Citizenship

Acts 16
35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the [e]officers, saying, “Let those men go.”

36 So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.”

37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”

38 And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans. 39 Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

This scripture is almost a precursor to what will happen in Chapter 22.
Minus foreshadowing it is hard for me to find a lot of purpose here. I think Paul was very proud of his Roman citizenship, OR he knew that it had a lot of importance at he loved to utilize it. Either way it will be paramount later on in the scripture.

Beat and Release?

Acts 16
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

So the guard does not kill himself. Instead he gets saved. His whole household actually receives Christ and is baptized because the guard brings them to his house.
I have to wonder if the guard brought them to his house WITH approval? Otherwise that would have spelled a death sentence for the guard.

Something I read on another page:
a. Paul and Silas did leave the prison (in the protective custody of the jailer) to minister to the jailer’s household. But Paul and Silas returned to the prison willingly to spare the jailer certain death.

Acts 16
35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the [e]officers, saying, “Let those men go.”

36 So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.”

An Odd Opportunity

Acts 16
26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Something interesting here is that Paul stayed. We have read before, when the prison doors opened God set free the prisoners who had been captured. For instance Peter went back and testified that an angel brought him out.

This is where staying in tune with the Holy Spirit is so very important. We are not to do the same thing every time. Every situation is different and in need of the the Lord to guide us.

My Own Prison

Falling asleep last night I thought about this scripture again:

Acts 16
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Your typical pastor would relate it back to you and say “when you are in the middle of your troubles worship Him and you will be set free.” That’s 50% truth and 50% cliche.

The truth of the matter is we have never been in an INNER PRISON. Most of the people that read this have never seen such persecution or fear. We need to elevate ourselves to the point where we are a threat to the enemies kingdom.

We need to be worshiping BEFORE we ever get to the worst places. We need to be studying the word of God now while things are good. Then we will understand why it works in the dark inner prisons. If we don’t learn it in freedom, we will not have it in captivity.