1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.
2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.”
4 And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.
passed through (v.1) — on the Via Egnatia, which extended 500 miles from the Hellespont to Dyrrachium, a town on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea.
Amphipolis (v.1) — A town on the Egnatian Road. It was on the eastern bank of the river Strymon, about three miles from the sea. The river winds round the hill on which it was built in a semi-circle, and some have thought that it took its name (All-around city) from this fact. Others, however, attribute the name to the city’s conspicuousness, visible all around, from sea and land. its ancient name was “nine-ways.” After passing into the hands, successively, of the Athenians, Macedonians, and Romans, it was made a free city by the latter and the chief town of that division of Macedonia. It was about 32 miles southwest of Philippi. The missionaries may have spent the night there, but do not seem to have preached.
Apollonia (v.1) — Also situated on the Egnatian Road, about 30 miles southwest of Amphipolis. Very little is known of its history. It seems to be mentioned here as a town where Paul and his coworkers halted for the night, between Amphipolis and Thessalonica.
Thessalonica (v.1) — About 38 miles west of Apollonia, on the Egnatian Road, situated in the northeastern recess of the Gulf of Salonica. Its maritime advantages, added to the fact that the waters of three rivers flow into the sea there, made it an important commercial center. Its name is much later than the original city, and was given to it by Cassander, who rebuilt it in 315 B.C., in honor of his wife, Alexander the Great’s step-sister. Under the Romans, it became the metropolis of the province of Macedonia, and the residence of the governor. It was allowed by them to retain its freedom and to have its own Macedonian constitution. Jews were numerous there, as in other centers of commerce. — Walker, pages 362-363.
Paul still went to “the Jew first,” not with a view to the establishment of the kingdom after all, but that from Jerusalem to Rome the Jews might be left without excuse for their rejection of Christ and, as he explains: If by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them (Romans 11:14). — Stam, page 73.
three Sabbaths (v.2) — three weeks
reasoned (v.2) — discuss by question and answer — tense indicates the reasoning was “frequent and renewed”
Scriptures (v.2) — the Old Testament
demonstrating (v.3) = setting forth — using Scripture to prove his points
Two facts he declared in that synagogue. He first declared that according to their Scriptures, Messiah must suffer and rise. Taking up the Old Testament, he showed them that their own Scriptures declared that their own Messiah must die and rise again. That was the first burden of his teaching. The order in which it is stated here reveals to us the fact that before he told the story of Christ, he made them see what their own Scriptures taught about their own Messiah; and this was exactly what the Jew had entirely failed to grasp, or had completely forgotten. With the ancient prophecies in our hands, with the one prophecy of Isaiah for instance, it seems as though it were impossible for men ever to have studied them without seeing that the pathway of the Servant of God toward His triumph must be that of travail; but the Jew had failed to see it. There were in those days interpreters of the prophecies, scribes and teachers, rabbis, who had discovered a difficulty, and who were teaching that two Messiahs would come for the fulfillment of the ancient ideal; one who should be a suffering Messiah; and another who should be a Messiah winning battles and establishing the throne …
Paul’s work was to declare to these Jews that the Scriptures taught that the Messiah must suffer, and that He must rise again …
Then he declared that the One who fulfilled that portraiture of their ancient Scriptures was Jesus Himself. — Morgan, pages 400-402.
Many of the Greeks (v.4) were converted directly from idolatry (1 Thessalonians 1:9)
leading women (v.4) — high-born women with influence
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