Paul and Silas in Berea, Acts 17:10-15

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 52

Acts 17:10-15

Paul and Silas in Berea

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Paul and Silas, while in Thessalonica, were supported by contributions from the fledgling church at Philippi; Paul also worked as a tent-maker. This is from the letter to the Thessalonians.
  8. Upon arrival in Berea, the missionaries head straight for the synagogue, as per Paul’s practice of preaching Jesus to the Jew first and then the Greek. (see Romans 1:16)
  9. The Bereans received the Word (logon) eagerly and examined the Scriptures to learn the truth. Paul was the perfect person to present the prophetic passages to the Jewish people there as well as the Gentile God fearers.
  10. Women of high standing also were present at the synagogue. This was the era of the “new Roman woman,” a period that had developed about 100 years previous. These women of thigh standing were attracted to the high practices and teachings of the Hebrew Scripture.
  11. Word had gotten back to those in Thessalonica who had caused Paul and Silas so much trouble. They are stirred up about the preaching of the Word of God. These were able to cause trouble, which resulted in the necessity of the “brothers” sending Paul away.
  12. “Brothers” would include women, too. Luke does not use the word “sisters” but includes them in the word “brothers.”
  13. The brothers escort Paul all the way to Athens, whether by horse, by foot, or by boat—Luke does not say which.
  14. Paul “commands” that Silas and Timothy join him in Athens.

 

Paul & Silas in Thessalonica and Berea, Acts 17:1-15

GOSPEL MEDITATION #51

Acts 17:1-15

Paul & Silas in Thessalonica-Paul & Silas in Berea

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Paul, Silas, and company in Europe now, just having, due to necessity, left Philippi and travel on to Thessalonica some 100 miles away, and is the capital city of Macedonia, this in 51 AD.
  8. Here is a fairly large Jewish population and there is a synagogue where the missionaries spend several weeks conversing in the synagogue showing from the Hebrew Scripture that the Messiah must both suffer death and be raised from the dead. And this Messiah is Jesus of Nazareth.
  9. This would be good news to some, and the worst message to others. Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 captures the dilemma his hearers would experience.
  10. Some or these react when faced with the apostles’ message and stir up trouble; not an unusual occurrence. Here now is found the famous phrase, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.”
  11. Apparently one of the early converts is Jason, a prominent citizen who is pressured to send the missionaries away.
  12. The “brothers”—meaning the church that was forming there— send Paul and Silas away, by night, to Berea, some 60 miles away. Upon arrival they to into the Jewish synagogue and proclaim the Gospel message. (see Romans 1:16).
  13. Here now there is an altogether different response; these people “received the word with all eagerness” and they did so by examining their Scriptures.
  14. But trouble arose by way of their opponents from Thessalonica, after hearing about what was taking place. Paul is sent off to Athens. Silas and Timothy remain in Berea.

The Philippian Jailer Converted Acts 16:25-40

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 50

Acts 16:25-40 The Philippian Jailer Converted

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Paul and Silas, having come to the attention of some prominent Philippian citizens, are severely beaten then placed in a secure inner prison.
  8. At midnight, in the dark and dungy prison, the missionaries are praying and singing hymns to God. Other prisoners are listening as well as the jailer and his household.
  9. An earthquake hits, not a coincidental event, and suddenly the prisoner’s chains fall off and the doors of the prison open. The jailer is also awakened and rushes in.
  10. Under Roman law, the jailer who has a prisoner escape pays for it with his life. The jailer is about to commit suicide when Paul loudly calls out that all in captivity are still there—no one has escaped.
  11. The jailer’s response is “What must I do to be saved?” Saved from what? Is a legitimate question. Saved from punishment by the authorities? Or saved from the judgment of a higher authority? It is likely the latter.
  12. “Believe in Jesus” is the response. From what the jailer overheard in the night must have informed him about his need. He believes (remember God opened Lydia’ heart), and is baptized along with his household, and the similarity is seen with the household of Lydia.
  13. The jailer’s household is not described, but servants for sure, and maybe others; no indication of children. The jailer is likely a retired Roman soldier.
  14. Paul refuses to leave the city without proper authority, for the sake of the church just forming perhaps.

The Conversion of Lydia & Paul and Silas in Prison

Gospel Meditation #49

The Conversion of Lydia & Paul and Silas in Prison

Acts 16:11-24

  1. Find a quiet place without distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Paul, Silas, Luke, and Timothy arrive in Europe, and stay in the Macedonian city of Philippi. They hear of and then visit a place of prayer (evidently no synagogue in the city) by a river on a Sabbath day.
  7. The missionary/evangelists speak to a group of women gathered there. One of them, Lydia from a prominent city, Thyatira (modern day Turkey and one of the 7 cities of the Book of Revelation) has her heart opened by the Lord.
  8. She is baptized, probably in that river, and also her household. (We have no details about the nature of the household.)
  9. She invites the apostolic team to her home; Paul and company eventually agree to do so.
  10. Fortune telling, divination, common in that era as centuries before, comes into view. A “slave girl” who makes big money for her handlers, follows the preachers and announce what sounds like an honorable and exalted spiritual authority and message. But Paul is annoyed.
  11. At some point, Paul commands the python spirit indwelling the slave girl to come out of her. It does.
  12. The result is she can no longer tell fortunes. Normally she would give knowledge of something in a person’s past thereby setting up a divination, which would be expensive.
  13. Now her handlers are upset and seek to punish Paul and Silas. They are stripped, beaten with rods, and cast into a maximum security part of a prison. There feet in stocks, they cannot even move.