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Acts 17:1-3

Context
Paul and Silas at Thessalonica

17:1 After they traveled through 1  Amphipolis 2  and Apollonia, 3  they came to Thessalonica, 4  where there was a Jewish synagogue. 5  17:2 Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, 6  as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed 7  them from the scriptures, 17:3 explaining and demonstrating 8  that the Christ 9  had to suffer and to rise from the dead, 10  saying, 11  “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 12 

Acts 17:10-11

Context
Paul and Silas at Berea

17:10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea 13  at once, during the night. When they arrived, 14  they went to the Jewish synagogue. 15  17:11 These Jews 16  were more open-minded 17  than those in Thessalonica, 18  for they eagerly 19  received 20  the message, examining 21  the scriptures carefully every day 22  to see if these things were so.

Acts 17:16-17

Context
Paul at Athens

17:16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, 23  his spirit was greatly upset 24  because he saw 25  the city was full of idols. 17:17 So he was addressing 26  the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles 27  in the synagogue, 28  and in the marketplace every day 29  those who happened to be there.

1 tn BDAG 250 s.v. διοδεύω 1 has “go, travel through” for this verse.

2 sn Amphipolis. The capital city of the southeastern district of Macedonia (BDAG 55 s.v. ᾿Αμφίπολις). It was a military post. From Philippi this was about 33 mi (53 km).

3 sn Apollonia was a city in Macedonia about 27 mi (43 km) west southwest of Amphipolis.

4 sn Thessalonica (modern Salonica) was a city in Macedonia about 33 mi (53 km) west of Apollonia. It was the capital of Macedonia. The road they traveled over was called the Via Egnatia. It is likely they rode horses, given their condition in Philippi. The implication of v. 1 is that the two previously mentioned cities lacked a synagogue.

map For location see JP1 C1; JP2 C1; JP3 C1; JP4 C1.

5 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.

6 tn Grk “he went in to them”; the referent (the Jews in the synagogue) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

7 tn Although the word διελέξατο (dielexato; from διαλέγομαι, dialegomai) is frequently translated “reasoned,” “disputed,” or “argued,” this sense comes from its classical meaning where it was used of philosophical disputation, including the Socratic method of questions and answers. However, there does not seem to be contextual evidence for this kind of debate in Acts 17:2. As G. Schrenk (TDNT 2:94-95) points out, “What is at issue is the address which any qualified member of a synagogue might give.” Other examples of this may be found in the NT in Matt 4:23 and Mark 1:21.

8 tn BDAG 772 s.v. παρατίθημι 2.b has “demonstrate, point out” here.

9 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:31.

10 sn The Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead. These two points (suffering and resurrection) would have been among the more controversial aspects of Paul’s messianic preaching. The term translated “had to” (δεῖ, dei) shows how divine design and scripture corresponded here.

11 tn The Greek words used here (καὶ ὅτι, kai {oti, “and that”) mark the switch from indirect to direct discourse. Contemporary English requires the use of an introductory verb of speaking or saying to make this transition.

12 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:31. The identification of the Messiah with Jesus indicates Paul was proclaiming the fulfillment of messianic promise.

13 sn Berea (alternate spelling in NRSV Beroea; Greek Beroia) was a very old city in Macedonia on the river Astraeus about 45 mi (75 km) west of Thessalonica.

map For location see JP1 C1; JP2 C1; JP3 C1; JP4 C1.

14 tn Grk “who arriving there, went to.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (οἵτινες, Joitine") has been left untranslated and a new English sentence begun. The participle παραγενόμενοι (paragenomenoi) has been taken temporally.

15 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.

16 tn Grk “These”; the referent (the Jews in the synagogue at Berea) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

17 tn Or “more willing to learn.” L&N 27.48 and BDAG 404 s.v. εὐγενής 2 both use the term “open-minded” here. The point is that they were more receptive to Paul’s message.

18 sn Thessalonica was a city in Macedonia (modern Salonica).

map For location see JP1 C1; JP2 C1; JP3 C1; JP4 C1.

19 tn Or “willingly,” “readily”; Grk “with all eagerness.”

20 tn Grk “who received.” Here the relative pronoun (“who”) has been translated as a pronoun (“they”) preceded by a semicolon, which is less awkward in contemporary English than a relative clause at this point.

21 tn This verb (BDAG 66 s.v. ἀνακρίνω 1) refers to careful examination.

22 tn BDAG 437 s.v. ἡμέρα 2.c has “every day” for this phrase in this verse.

23 map For location see JP1 C2; JP2 C2; JP3 C2; JP4 C2.

24 tn Grk “greatly upset within him,” but the words “within him” were not included in the translation because they are redundant in English. See L&N 88.189. The term could also be rendered “infuriated.”

sn His spirit was greatly upset. See Rom 1:18-32 for Paul’s feelings about idolatry. Yet he addressed both Jews and Gentiles with tact and reserve.

25 tn Or “when he saw.” The participle θεωροῦντος (qewrounto") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle; it could also be translated as temporal.

26 tn Although the word διελέξατο (dielexato; from διαλέγομαι, dialegomai) is frequently translated “reasoned,” “disputed,” or “argued,” this sense comes from its classical meaning where it was used of philosophical disputation, including the Socratic method of questions and answers. However, there does not seem to be contextual evidence for this kind of debate in Acts 17:17. As G. Schrenk (TDNT 2:94-95) points out, “What is at issue is the address which any qualified member of a synagogue might give.” Other examples of this may be found in the NT in Matt 4:23 and Mark 1:21.

27 tn Or “and the devout,” but this is practically a technical term for the category called God-fearers, Gentiles who worshiped the God of Israel and in many cases kept the Mosaic law, but did not take the final step of circumcision necessary to become a proselyte to Judaism. See further K. G. Kuhn, TDNT 6:732-34, 743-44, and the note on the phrase “God-fearing Greeks” in 17:4.

28 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.

29 tn BDAG 437 s.v. ἡμέρα 2.c has “every day” for this phrase in this verse.



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