Sunday, May 20, 2012

Acts 17:1-4

Summary retelling of Acts 17:1-4

When Paul and his friends leave Philippi, they head toward Thessalonica.  There was a synagogue in Thessalonica, so they went in there.  On the Sabbath, Paul spoke about the scriptures and how they pointed towards Jesus Christ.  He talked about how the scriptures told that the Messiah must suffer and die.  There were many who were persuaded to believe as Paul taught – specifically many Greeks and several leading women of the community.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Once more we see Paul head to the synagogue.  He chooses again to start with the people who have a little familiarity with Judaism rather than people who have no familiarity with it.  It does pay off as we see that some of the people follow his teaching.  However, not everyone does.  Some listen and follow; others listen and do not follow.

Why is it important to see that Paul has manageable success?  Why do you think Paul doesn’t have total success?  What might the reasons be that they everyone doesn’t believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation?

Second Thought:
Paul is bold about talking with respect to the scriptures.  Keep in mind that he is talking about a topic that the Jews would have known very well.  He is talking about something that would have taken a great deal of conversation and convincing words.

Is Paul bold for going into the synagogue or is he taking the easy way?  What arguments could you make for either case?

Third Thought:
As this section ends, notice the specific emphasis on the Greek nature and the inclusion of women.  So far with Paul, we have seen a great thrust of importance placed on “non-traditional Christians.”  We have seen Gentiles being added without having to become Jews first.  We’ve seen women being added and able to take leading roles in the community.  Again we get a sense that Paul is serious about his “inclusion of all” teaching that mandates that what is important is the presence of the Holy Spirit within a person – not anything else.

How does this story (immediately following the story of Lydia in Philippi) continue to even challenge modern Christianity?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 17:5-9
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