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Acts 17:1-4

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  17:4 Some of them were persuaded 13  and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group 14  of God-fearing Greeks 15  and quite a few 16  prominent women.

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 tn Or “convinced.”

14 tn Or “a large crowd.”

15 tn Or “of devout Greeks,” 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. Luke frequently mentions such people (Acts 13:43, 50; 16:14; 17:17; 18:7).

16 tn Grk “not a few”; this use of negation could be misleading to the modern English reader, however, and so has been translated as “quite a few” (which is the actual meaning of the expression).

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