Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Acts 17:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Passed through Amphipolis - This city was the metropolis of the first division of Macedonia, as made by Paulus Aemilius: see the note on Acts 16:10. It was builded by Cimon, the Athenian general, who sent 10,000 Athenians thither as a colony. It stood in an island in the river Strymon, and had its name of Amphipolis because included between the two grand branches of that river where they empty themselves into the sea, the river being on both sides of the city.

Apollonia - This was another city of Macedonia, between Amphipolis and Thessalonica. It does not appear that St. Paul stopped at any of these cities: and they are only mentioned by the historian as places through which the apostles passed on their way to Thessalonica. It is very likely that in these cities there were no Jews; and that might have been the reason why the apostles did not preach the Gospel there, for we find them almost constantly beginning with the Jews; and the Hellenist Jews, living among the Gentiles, became the medium through which the Gospel of Christ was conveyed to the heathen world.

Thessalonica - This was a celebrated city of Macedonia, situated on what was called the Thermaic Gulf. According to Stephanus Byzantinus, it was embellished and enlarged by Philip, king of Macedon, who called it Thessalonica, the victory of Thessalia, on account of the victory he obtained there over the Thessalians; but, prior to this, it was called Thermae. But Strabo, Tzetzes, and Zonaras, say that it was called Thessalonica, from Thessalonica, wife of Cassander, and daughter of Philip. It is now in possession of the Turks, and is called Salonichi, which is a mere corruption of the original name.

A synagogue of the Jews - Ἡ συναγωγη, The synagogue; for the article here must be considered as emphatic, there probably being no other synagogue in any other city in Macedonia. The Jews in different parts had other places of worship called proseuchas . as we have seen, Acts 16:13. At Thessalonica alone they appear to have had a synagogue.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Amphipolis - This was the capital of the eastern province of Macedonia. It was originally a colony of the Athenians, but under the Romans it was made the capital of that part of Macedonia. It was near to Thrace, and was situated not far from the mouth of the river Strymon, which flowed around the city, and thus occasioned its name, around the city. The distances laid down in the Itineraries in regard to these places are as follows: Philippi to Amphipolis, 33 miles; Amphipolis to Apollonia, 30 miles; Apollonia to Thessalonica, 37 miles. “These distances are evidently such as might have been traversed each in one day; and since nothing is said of any delay on the road, but everything to imply that the journey was rapid, we conclude (unless, indeed, their recent sufferings made rapid traveling impossible) that Paul and Silas rested one night at each of the intermediate places, and thus our notice of their journey is divided into three parts. The position of Amphipolis is one of the most important in Greece. It stands in a pass which Traverses the mountains bordering the Strymonic Gulf, and it commands the only easy communication from the coast of that gulf into the great Macedonian plains, which extend, for 60 miles, from beyond Meleniko to Philippi. The ancient name of the place was ‹Nine Ways,‘ from the great number of Thracian and Macedonian roads which met at this point. The Athenians saw the importance of the position, and established a colony there, which they called Amphipolis, because the river surrounded it.

And Apollonia - This city was situated between Amphipolis and Thessalonica, and was formerly much celebrated for its trade.

They came to Thessalonica - This was a seaport of the second part of Macedonia. It is situated at the head of the Bay Thermaicus. It was made the capital of the second division of Macedonia by Aemilius Paulus, when he divided the country into four districts. It was formerly called Therma, but afterward received the name of Thessalonica, either from Cassander, in honor of his wife Thessalonica, the daughter of Philip, or in honor of a victory which Philip obtained over the armies of Thessaly. It was inhabited by Greeks, Romans, and Jews. It is now called Saloniki, and, from its situation, must always be a place of commercial importance. It is situated on the inner bend of the Thermaic Gulf, halfway between the Adriatic and the Hellespont, on the sea margin of a vast plain, watered by several rivers, and was evidently designed for a commercial emporium. It has a population at present of 60,000 or 70,000, about half of whom are Jews. They are said to have 36 synagogues, “none of them remarkable for their neatness or elegance of style.” In this place a church was collected, to which Paul afterward addressed the two epistles to the Thessalonians.

Where was a synagogue - Greek: where was the synagogue ( ἡ συναγωγὴ hē sunagōgē) of the Jews. It has been remarked by Grotius and Kuinoel that the article used here is emphatic, and denotes that there was probably no synagogue at Amphipolis and Apollonia. This was the reason why they passed through those places without making any delay.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The drift and scope of Paul's preaching and arguing, was to prove that Jesus is the Christ. He must needs suffer for us, because he could not otherwise purchase our redemption for us; and he must needs have risen again, because he could not otherwise apply the redemption to us. We are to preach concerning Jesus that he is Christ; therefore we may hope to be saved by him, and are bound to be ruled by him. The unbelieving Jews were angry, because the apostles preached to the Gentiles, that they might be saved. How strange it is, that men should grudge others the privileges they will not themselves accept! Neither rulers nor people need be troubled at the increase of real Christians, even though turbulent spirits should make religion the pretext for evil designs. Of such let us beware, from such let us withdraw, that we may show a desire to act aright in society, while we claim our right to worship God according to our consciences.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 255

This chapter is based on the Epistles to the Thessalonians.

The arrival of Silas and Timothy from Macedonia, during Paul's sojourn in Corinth, had greatly cheered the apostle. They brought him “good tidings” of the “faith and charity” of those who had accepted the truth during the first visit of the gospel messengers to Thessalonica. Paul's heart went out in tender sympathy toward these believers, who, in the midst of trial and adversity, had remained true to God. He longed to visit them in person, but as this was not then possible, he wrote to them. AA 255.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 695-6


I have been shown the case of Brother P. He had been standing for some time resisting the truth. His sin was not that he did not receive that which he sincerely believed to be error, but that he did not investigate diligently and gain a knowledge of what he was opposing. He took it for granted that Sabbathkeeping Adventists, as a body, were in error. This view was in harmony with his feelings, and he did not see the necessity of finding out for himself by diligently searching the Scriptures with earnest prayer. Had he pursued this course he might now have been far in advance of his present position. He has been too slow to receive evidence and too neglectful in searching the Scriptures to see if these things are so. Paul did not consider those worthy of commendation who resisted his teachings as long as they could until compelled by overwhelming evidence to decide in favor of the doctrine which he taught and which he had received of God. 2T 695.1

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 221-30

This chapter is based on Acts 17:1-10.

After leaving Philippi, Paul and Silas made their way to Thessalonica. Here they were given the privilege of addressing large congregations in the Jewish synagogue. Their appearance bore evidence of the shameful treatment they had recently received, and necessitated an explanation of what had taken place. This they made without exalting themselves, but magnified the One who had wrought their deliverance. AA 221.1

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Paul's Journeys
The Second Missionary Journey of Paul