This passage describes Paul and Silas visiting Thessalonica for the first time. However, 1 Thessalonians offers differing details when it recalls the beginning of a Christian fellowship in Thessalonica. Acts describes the Christian missionaries persuading and facing hostility from Jewish audiences in the city, while 1 Thessalonians remembers Paul, Silas (Silvanus), and Timothy working with Gentile audiences. The "devout Greeks" that Acts mentions in 17:4 are Gentiles who attend the Jewish synagogue. Such people would not have been considered to have "turned to God from idols" (1 Thessalonians 1:9).
This passage, when compared to 1 Thessalonians, offers an example of how the story about Paul told in Acts often differs from the stories that Paul tells about himself in his letters.
17After Paul and Silas* had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three sabbath days argued with them from the scriptures, 3explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Messiah* to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, This is the Messiah,* Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you. 4Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5But the Jews became jealous, and with the help of some ruffians in the market-places they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. While they were searching for Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly, they attacked Jasons house. 6When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some believers* before the city authorities,* shouting, These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also, 7and Jason has entertained them as guests. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus. 8The people and the city officials were disturbed when they heard this, 9and after they had taken bail from Jason and the others, they let them go.
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
10 February 2011