Paul told people in Thessalonica about Jesus
Paul and Silas went through the towns called Amfipolis and Apollonia, and they got to a town called Thessalonica. There was a Jewish meeting house there, 2-3 so Paul went to that meeting house on the next Saturday to tell the people about Jesus. He used to do that in all the towns and cities that he went to. Paul went to that meeting house in Thessalonica each Saturday for 3 weeks, and he read some parts of God’s book and talked about them to the people there. They were the parts where God’s men wrote about the special man that God promised to send, called the Christ. They wrote that people will hurt God’s special man, and kill him, but then God will make him alive again. And Paul said, “Jesus is that special man that God sent to save us. People killed him, but God made him alive again.”
A lot of people there believed that message about Jesus, and they joined Paul and Silas. Some of those people were Jews, and some of them were not Jews but they respected God, and a lot of them were important women.
Some Jewish people made trouble for Paul and Silas
But some of the Jewish people there were jealous of Paul. So they went to the middle of the town and found some trouble makers, and they lied to those trouble makers and told them that Paul and Silas were bad people. Then that mob of trouble makers started shouting and saying bad things about Paul and Silas. Some of them went into the house that belonged to a Christian man. His name was Jason. They were looking for Paul and Silas, to drag them outside, so that the mob could beat them up. They couldn’t find Paul and Silas in that house, so they grabbed Jason, and some of the other Christians there, and they dragged them to the town bosses. They shouted, “Those 2 men, Paul and Silas, they make trouble everywhere, and now they have come to our town to make trouble here too.” And they said, “All this Christian mob are against everything that our big boss in Rome tells us to do. They reckon Jesus is really the biggest boss. And this man here, Jason, he is letting them stay at his house.”
The town bosses, and all the people there, they heard that story, and they got angry. The town bosses forced Jason and the other Christians to pay some money, and they told them, “You can only get your money back if Paul and Silas don’t make any more trouble.” Then the bosses let Jason and those other Christians go.
Paul told people in Beria about Jesus
10 Then, that same night, the Thessalonica Christians sent Paul and Silas out of their town, to another town called Beria. As soon as Paul and Silas got to that town, they went to the Jewish meeting house to talk to the people there. 11 The Jewish people that lived in Beria listened to the message about Jesus, and they wanted to hear more, and they thought about it carefully. They were not like the Jews in Thessalonica. The Beria people read Gods book every day to find out if Pauls message was true. 12 So a lot of those Jewish people believed in Jesus, and some of the important women and men that were not Jews believed in Jesus too.
Jewish people from Thessalonica made trouble for Paul
13 But the Jewish people in Thessalonica heard that Paul was in Beria telling people God’s message about Jesus, so they went to Beria and made trouble for Paul. And they got a lot of other people to make trouble too. 14 So some of the Christian men in Beria took Paul out of that town, but Silas and Timothy stayed in Beria. Those Christian men took Paul down to the sea, and they went on a ship to the city called Athens. 15 Then Paul said to the men that took him to Athens, “As soon as you get back to Beria, tell Silas and Timothy to come to me here. Tell them to hurry and come here as soon as they can.” Then those men left Paul in Athens and went back to Beria.
Paul was upset by all the statues in Athens
16 Paul was in Athens waiting for Silas and Timothy to come, and he walked around in that city. He saw a lot of statues everywhere, and he saw that people thought they were gods. They respected them and prayed to them. That upset Paul a lot. 17 So he went to the Jewish meeting house a lot, and he talked with the people there about Jesus. Some of those people were Jews, and some of them were Greeks that believed in God. And every day Paul went to the place in the middle of the city, where there were a lot of people, and he talked about Jesus to the people that he met there.
Paul talked to the Athens people about Jesus
18 Some of that Athens mob always thought about the best way to live, and they always talked to other people about it. Some of them were called Epicurians, and some of them were called Stoics. They talked to Paul, and he told them about Jesus. Paul said that Jesus died, and that God made him alive again. Some of that mob said, “This man is just talking rubbish.” Others said, “We think he is talking about gods from other countries.”
19 So they took Paul to a meeting of the city council, and they asked him, “What are you telling everyone? Tell us what this new message is all about. 20 We are surprised when we hear some of the things you say, and we want to understand what you mean.” 21 You see, the Athens people, and the people from other places that lived there, they liked to talk about new ideas all the time, and they liked to hear anything new that other people told them.
Paul told the Athens council about the God that they didn’t know
22 Then Paul stood up and talked to the council mob at Athens. He said, “I can see that you Athens mob think a lot about gods. 23 I walked around this city, and I saw a lot of statues that you set up, to show respect to a lot of gods. And I saw a stone table that you set up, and you wrote on it, ‘This is for that god that we don’t know.’ Look, you don’t know that God, but you show respect to him anyway. Listen, I do know him, so now I want to tell you all about him. I’ll tell you about that God that you don’t know.
24 He is the God that made all the world, and he made everything in the world. He is the boss over everybody everywhere. He is boss up in the sky, and he is boss down here on the ground. So nobody can build a house big enough for him to live in.* 25 And he doesn’t need us to do anything for him. You see, he is the one that makes us alive, and he gives us our breath, and he gives us everything we need.*
26 At first he just made one man, then later he made all of us from that man. All of us in every tribe everywhere were born into that man’s family. And God gave each tribe their own country, and he planned where they will live and how long they will live there.
27 He did that so that we can look for him, and maybe we can find him. But really, he is not very far away from any of us. 28 That old story is true that says, ‘He is with us all the time. He is the one that makes us alive, so that we can walk about and do things.’ And even one of your own Athens people wrote something about him. He wrote,
We are his kids.’
29 So, if it is true that we are God’s kids, we shouldn’t just dream up something and then make a statue like that from gold or silver or stone, and say, ‘My god looks like this.’ No way. Nobody can make any sort of statue that is anything like God.
30 You see, at first people didn’t know about God, but at that time he didn’t worry about it. Now it is different. Now he says to all of us, that we have to turn around and stop doing bad things. 31 And if we don’t stop doing bad things, he will give us big trouble. He is going to have a big court, and all of us will have to stand in front of the judge. He has already set the date for that. It will be a fair court, and he has picked one man to be the judge. That man died, but God made him alive again. God did that to show everybody that he picked that man to be the big judge.”
Some council people believed in Jesus
32 The council men heard Paul say that a man died and then came alive again, and some of those council men laughed at Paul. Some others said, “You can tell us more about this later, at some other time.” 33 So Paul left that council meeting. 34 But some of the others believed what Paul said, and they believed in Jesus. One of them was a council man called Dionisius. And another one was an important woman called Damaris. And there were some other people that believed in Jesus too.
* 17:24 1 Kings 8:27; Acts 7:48 * 17:25 Isaiah 42:5