ACTS OF THE APOSTLES CHAPTER 17
Being chased out from city to city and going to jail had become a regular feature and part of the itinerary of the apostle Paul’s mission endeavour. Paul and his team took such disruption in their stride and even made full use of such unplanned detour to preach the gospel of Christ. The previous jail experience was of such an earthquake generating proportion that the jailor and his household perhaps even some other prisoners became members of the family of God. This chapter continued with Paul’s onward move to preach the gospel to great and small with the regular persecution coming from the unbelieving Jews.
Acts 17:1: Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
Acts 17:2: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
Acts 17:3: Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
This time Paul ventured to Thessalonica and as usual he took advantage of the legal platform available being a Jew to begin his ministry with the Jews. The synagogues in cities were his starting point and this springboard allowed him to test the waters and see how many of the Jews and proselytes would believe in the saving gospel of Christ. The small group who believed would form a core group to become a local church that would continue to reach out to others in the city with the gospel of the Lord.
So for three Sabbath days Paul was given the opportunity to present the gospel using the Old Testament Scriptures to show to the Jews about the suffering Messiah, his death, burial and eventual resurrection. Who else would be more qualified to testify about Christ from the Old Testament than this son of a Pharisee trained under the most esteemed Gamaliel in Jerusalem! Thus preaching Christ and Christ crucified was Paul’s main theme to these Jews still waiting for their Messiah to show up. But now when Paul alleged that the Messiah of Israel had already come and fulfilled all the prophecies concerning Him during His first coming, they had to confront this new revelation whether to accept Paul’s message and believe in the Lord or reject him and treat him as a heretic. A response would be called for after three Sabbath days of non-stopped preaching of Christ by Paul to these Jews who had yet to come to terms with their own faith in the God of Israel. Should they move on with Paul or remain with their own human understating of following Moses? This question would no doubt trouble many of the Jews steep in their own form of religious observance living in a foreign land.
Acts 17:4: And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
Acts 17:5: But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
As expected some believed and followed Paul and Silas while others rejected Christ. Paul’s success this time was quite phenomenal where a great multitude of devout Greeks and chief women believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. How could those remaining in the synagogue do nothing in the face of this crisis where Paul came along and split their congregation with this new message of salvation where they could not believe there were support from their Old Testament Scriptures. They were not going to allow their synagogue to be converted into a church.
Paul’s strong influence with the Greek proselytes among their midst aroused the envy of the unbelieving Jews. They had to resort to dirty tactics to stop Paul and his work in their city. These outwardly religious people did have connection with the underworld. Gangsterism was not surprising when they could not reason with Paul from the Scriptures to refute his allegation that the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed their Messiah as prophesied in the Old Testament. Losing face was one thing but losing members would have financial implication to their synagogue where this time a great multitude followed Paul.
As such, mob justice was their strategy and the entire city was in an uproar. Such a scale of unrest would certainly result in damage to lives and properties. Their target was the household of Jason as he was responsible for housing Paul and his missionaries. On the human level, the Jews were mad with Paul but the actual personality who was outraged was Satan who inspired the rage of the Jews to persecute believers of the Lord. Satan had been put to the worse since the resurrection of Christ and now the Lord’s servants had been going all out to deliver sinners from the bondage of the Devil. It would be naïve to expect the devil to do nothing and allowed the servants of the living God to wreck havoc in his kingdom.
Acts 17:6: And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
Acts 17:7: Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
Acts 17:8: And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
Acts 17:9: And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.
Assaulting the household of Jason yielded no results as they could not find Paul and Silas who might have been busy out there preaching the gospel and ministering to the saints. So they took Jason instead and accused him for harbouring criminals that turned the world upside down with the gospel. Paul and Silas did build up a fearsome reputation. Their fearless assault with the gospel of Christ against the kingdom of darkness had such a remarkable success that the children of disobedience acknowledged their helpless pathetic defence that could not prevent Paul from winning members from them. Paul and Silas indeed had turned the world upside down with their gospel of salvation.
The hypocrisy of these unbelieving Jews was indeed astounding. They were actually waiting for their King to return to establish the Kingdom to Israel. Now when Paul told them their King had already come, died for their sins, buried and rose again and went back to heaven waiting to come again to restore the Kingdom to Israel, they turned around to accused Paul for treason. It was the same old tune sung by those unbelieving Jews during the Lord’s passion. They sang like a canary that they had no king but Caesar. These Jews in Thessalonica accused Paul for promoting another King Jesus. How they harmonised so well in the same song singing the second stanza they had no king but Caesar was indeed amazing.
Such a charge would be unthinkable to the authorities and the rulers were understandably troubled. How could they account to Rome for such a serious charge of sedition if they did not nip these troublemakers in the bud! In the past the Jews blackmailed Pilate into crucifying Christ. They were ready to accuse Pilate to Caesar for tolerating sedition and now the rulers of this city found themselves in the same boat. To do nothing would be a sure death sentence on themselves but they still had to investigate the matter and gather evidence before they could prosecute Paul and Silas. Meanwhile Paul and Silas were no where to be found and the next best move to assuage the Jews would be taking Jason into custody. Surely Paul and Silas would show up in order for Jason to be set free. Meanwhile they could still make Jason talk and see if they could get to the bottom of the whole matter.
Acts 17:10: And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
It became increasingly clear that Paul’s ministry to the believers in Thessalonica had come to an end. It was no longer possible for him to remain there to minister to them. The persecution was so ferocious that the brethren had to send Paul and Silas away immediately by night. The church in this city was a persecuted church from the very beginning. Hence, when Paul wrote to them subsequently, his epistles were full of comfort and assurance for the members remaining in the city to encourage them to carry on with the Lord’s work.
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10)
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
This was the experience of the members of the church at Thessalonica. Their patience was tested to the limits and their hope of seeing the return of the Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven was surely in much earnest for this persecuted church.
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:1-12)
As the enemies of the cross piled up their assault against the saints, Paul continued to comfort them to endure persecution as worthy recipients of the Kingdom of Christ. Their enemies would be vanquished when the Lord returns to take vengeance on those who reject the gospel of Christ. Victory was theirs and they should allow the Lord to be glorified in them in enduring persecution from these enemies. The time would come when the table would be turned against their enemies and they would rejoice in that day that all their persecution that they endured was all worth it.
Acts 17:11: These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Acts 17:12: Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
So Paul as usual being forced out from one city moved to the next. The Jewish congregation with their proselytes in this city Berea were commended by Paul. They were more noble as compared with their counterparts in Thessalonica in that they received the word from Paul with all readiness of mind. Most importantly they also searched the Scriptures daily to see whether what Paul preached was indeed Scriptural. In other words, they were diligent students of the Bible and they were always ever ready to learn from the Bible. They would not take anyone’s words for granted and their final authority was their Bible. The Scriptures they had in their hands were their guiding light and these Scriptures were given by inspiration of God. They had these Scriptures before AD100 and the pure, perfect inerrant and inspired Holy Scriptures would always be available to every generation in a language God Almighty deemed fit to give in time and history to reveal His will to fallen men.
Therefore many of them believed having been convinced from Scriptures in their hands. They were no occasional Bible students and they searched the Scriptures daily. Spiritual truths were so important to them and they did not take spiritual foods lightly. Again honourable women of the Greek and men believed the gospel of Christ. They were such careful and mature believers that Paul need not write them to address any outstanding issue to be resolved with these believers in Berea. Indeed every child of God should follow the examples of these believers in Berea. The mention of Paul’s ministry in Berea was so short but much was accomplished among these believers there. The time for Paul to move on was approaching as the enemies from Thessalonica were encroaching into this city of these noble believers of the Lord.
Acts 17:13: But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.
Acts 17:14: And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.
Acts 17:15: And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
As the enemies from Thessalonica moved in Paul moved out. These enemies were indeed pestilent fellows where their preoccupation was to persecute Paul and his followers. Hence, it was indeed necessary for Paul to comfort believers in Thessalonica to continue in the faith and to distinguish themselves from these enemies. Paul even told them that God would recompense their enemies according to their work to the extent that these enemies would believe a lie when God send them strong delusion for their work of unrighteousness. It is indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hand of the living God (Hebrews 10:31)
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-17)
As expected, these enemies of the cross could not take on Paul and Silas personally. They had to stir up the people in the city. They liked to indulge in propaganda and let others do the dirty work for them to expel Paul and his missionaries. The apostle Paul being the chief target of the enemies was to leave for Athens first while Silas and Timothy remained behind to help out with the work in Berea. When Paul arrived at Athens, he requested for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible. Paul might be worried about the safety of his two compatriots and the gospel work had always been a partnership since day one. It was no good to labour alone where much danger and discouragement could bring down even the mightiest saint of the Lord.
Acts 17:16: Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
Acts 17:17: Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
The city of Athens was a completely different city. This city embraced diversity. Actually, the whole city was given up to idolatry. One wondered how those Jews living in that city fare living among so many idolaters. Their influence could be greatly curtailed and they might have much to compromise trying to live out their religious life in such an idolatrous city. Paul being a Jew and being alone was no doubt grieved and his spirit was stirred in him with what he saw. He had been so accustomed to persecution but in this city of multi faith and highly educated populace of philosophers, he found himself in a different world altogether.
Therefore he could not wait for Silas and Timothy to arrive and he went into the synagogue alone to dispute with the Jews there as well as dealing with devout persons in the market place daily. It seemed like the Jews there left him alone where Paul did not manage to win over a huge crowd like the response he got from Thessalonica. So such personal evangelism would be more suitable in such a city where sinners would be more likely to listen when there was an established relationship between the gospel workers and those willing listeners. There was little point in preaching to the public uninvited where not many would be keen to listen to what he had to say. Paul’s effort paid off as he caught the attention of some philosophers and he was invited to speak with a ready audience.
Acts 17:18: Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
Acts 17:19: And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
Acts 17:20: For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
Acts 17:21: (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
Finally, Paul aroused the interest from certain segment of this colourful society with his daily dispute in the market. Two classes of philosophers with differing worldviews and systems of belief encountered Paul and found his doctrine strange. Those educated elites usually espoused some philosophies to govern their manner of life as they looked at the world through the lens of fallen human logic to determine the best way forward in dealing with issues in this life. They reasoned perhaps Paul might have something to add to their own learned self and their sages and they could have missed out on something they had failed to consider.
While they might be highly educated and tolerated differing views of the world and religious practices, they could be rude as well and they called Paul a babbler. They were indeed educated prideful people holding on to a low view of others and esteem others lightly. As far as they were concerned, the city was already full of idols and there was no harm in accommodating another one if Paul could present his own supreme being and justify such a person to these curious people. They surmised that Paul was preaching about the resurrection of Jesus which sounded like some strange gods to them for they already had their own established deities of Greek origins among others.
So they brought Paul to Areopagus and gave him an opportunity to declare to them his own philosophy. They wanted to find out what new doctrine Paul was about to tell them as his daily dispute with the people had come to their ears which seemed strange to them. These people were having too much time on their hands and they were preoccupied with nothing else but either to tell or hear something new. They wanted their ears to be tickled. Hence Paul was given such an invitation to speak to them openly in public unlike his ministry in other cities in synagogues during the Sabbath day. It was very clear that the Jews had very little or no influence at all in this idolatrous city.
Acts 17:22: Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
Acts 17:23: For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
Hence Paul addressed these men but his opening statement was already in the offensive mode. He called these people too superstitious in their systems of belief. These people embraced philosophies from their teachers and they worshipped idols in parallel to their espoused philosophical way of life. As though their way of life was not comprehensive enough, they even had an altar dedicated to the worship of THE UNKOWN GOD in case they might have missed out one of the deities. They were so systematic in their learning and quest for the truth under the sun and as such they had no problem with hearing out Paul and see if Paul could enlighten them with something that they had never considered before.
Here Paul was not about to give them an inch in his relentless assault with the truth of the gospel. He openly told them he was about to declare to them this UNKNOWN GOD they ignorantly worshipped. There was no way in excusing idolatrous people who claimed that they did not actually worship idols but such idols were just an aid to their worship of the true and living God. Such claims were patently false and those who indeed worshipped the true and living God had no need of any idols to aid them to approach God. Bowing down or talking or praying to an idol is a form of worship. Paul was only signposting them on the direction of his message to correct them of their erroneous approach towards the worship of the Creator God.
Once again, the modern scholarly English versions tell us that these educated Athenians were not superstitious but very religious according to the NIV, NASB and NKJV. It is an anathema to label educated people who subscribed to the teachings of great philosophers as superstitious people. Being religious is fine but worshipping idols is not a superstitious practice as far as these modern perverted versions are concerned. However, the King James Bible is always right. These Athenians were so superstitious that it scared them to death that they could have left out one of the deities and so they included an altar to THE UNKNOWN GOD. If this was not superstition these people must be insane.
Acts 17:24: God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Acts 17:25: Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
As Paul was addressing the Gentiles the starting point of his message would have to exclude Abraham, Moses and the history of Israel. The God of the Bible is indeed the God of the whole world and not the God of the children of Israel only. So the Jews exclusive claims of the Creator God as their own God had caused them to degenerate into self-righteousness and they had failed to live up to the will of the God of the Bible. So Paul preached to them the Creator God who created the heaven and the earth. Moreover, this Lord of heaven and earth does not reside in a man-made temple. In this regard, their great Greek sages had failed them. For nearly a thousand years ago, a Jewish King no less of a philosopher prayed during the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem he had made and made this remark: But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? (1 Kings 8:27) King Solomon was far more advance in his understanding of the universe and the God of creation.
Paul continued to tell them that God was not worshipped by things presented to Him by fallen men as though God needed anything from them. King David also wrote in the Psalms: Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (Psalm 50:7-15) So Paul was systematically demolishing these pagan Gentiles of their systems of belief and bringing them down from their high horse of a faulty philosophy they had learned from their teachers. Education without salvation is damnation indeed. The Jewish philosophers were far more superior to these Greeks idol worshippers.
Acts 17:26: And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
Acts 17:27: That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
Acts 17:28: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Acts 17:29: Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
Acts 17:30: And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Acts 17:31: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Paul was ready to address the creation of men where these highly educated pagans had very different ideas as far as the creation of the world was concerned. The God of creation not only created the heaven and earth, He made men as well and God Himself was highly interested in the affairs of men on earth. God made men of one blood and determined the boundaries of their habitation as nations so that they might seek after the true and living God. Moses also wrote concerning the division of the nations of men on earth: When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. (Deuteronomy 32:8) When people were living in their separate boundaries under the will of heaven, they had a higher chance of seeking after the true and living God. In contrast with these people in Athens, they thought they could come to the knowledge of the truth through their fallen senses and human understanding and the result was total blindness living under the shadow of idolatry.
Because the God of Creation is a living God and the Giver of life, therefore the sons of man live in Him. Paul even quoted their poet that they believed they were actually the offspring of God to connect them with his message. Hence if they were God’s offspring they ought not think that the Godhead was like gold, silver or stone as carved out in the idols that they worshipped. Paul’s relentless assault on their beliefs would soon climax at the most important and pertinent point that would require them to respond to his message. These pagans would be brought to a head on confrontation with the God of Creation where their decision would determine their eternal fate. This might sound cruel but necessary for eternity is not something to be trifled with as the fire of hell will never be quenched for those unrepentant sinners who die without Christ.
The grand finale of Paul’s sermon had come. God had commanded all men to repent of their idolatry. The times of their ignorance had expired and God would no longer wink at their ignorance and tolerate their rebellion. In the past God judge them outside of the law of Moses as they were not given the oracles of God where idolatry was expressly forbidden. The time had come for them to repent to turn to the true and living God in faith and not in dependence of idols as aids to worship. Now they were told that God would judge them by the Man He had ordained and this man was the man they enquired earlier, the man Jesus Christ. God confirmed this truth and assured them by raising Christ from the dead and the day was coming where the Lord Jesus Christ would judge them in righteousness.
Acts 17:32: And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
Acts 17:33: So Paul departed from among them.
Acts 17:34: Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
The response from these highly educated superstitious pagans was notable. They believed their brains and their learning more than the faith of Christ preached by Paul. Paul’s lecture was just not scientific enough for them to accept. Paul could not demonstrate the resurrection and so they mocked him and told him to hit the road politely. They told Paul they would hear him again on this matter another time. Would they? Of course, Paul would not get another invitation again to expound to them the deeper things they thought they expect to hear. While Paul could not demonstrate the resurrection and offer these people proofs of the resurrection, they likewise could not demonstrate and verify the existence of their gods of idols nor could they explain their diverse philosophical approaches towards life under this sun. They all existed on earth for a while and they expired. They could not have any assurance of what the future would be there for them after their departure from this earth. They took their chance nevertheless. Eternity did not fit into their worldview of life and death. They had already played it safe by including among all their deities with the erection of an altar to THE UNKNOWN GOD just in case they had missed out on one of the deities and they thought all would be well and there was no hell. They were the champions of an inclusive society and they embrace diversity as well but Jesus Christ had no place to be found there. They were not about to proclaim the faith of Christ as one possible form of salvation.
Notwithstanding, there were still a few whom the Lord had opened their hearts to Jesus and they had the ticket to eternal life. Though Paul might not have the same kind of success preaching the gospel to this crowd compared with the ministries in other cities, at least these enemies did not persecute him and chase him out of their city. They were so tolerant that they ignored Paul and his message to their own peril. Anyway, the gospel was preached and Paul was a faithful witness for Christ though his other team members were not with him at this time. Moreover Paul would continue on with the work and the gospel would reach other cities in the following chapter.