Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:…
Interest of the occasion, in view of the two Epistles afterwards written. The contrast between the Thessalonian and Philippian populations partly due to the presence of the Jewish synagogue. The Greek proselytes numerous. The Jews divided into two classes, the devout and the fanatical. The political element always ready to be called into use against the gospel, so that the multitude and the rulers were troubled.
I. Take the whole narration as affording a glimpse into THE STATE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE at that time.
1. The elements of hope in it - the Jewish religion and synagogue worship, the openness of Gentile mind to inquiry; the two forces of Roman order and Greek intellectual culture.
2. The elements of corruption. The rabble at the mercy of evil-minded men stirring them up. The decrees of Caesar mere despotic acts of power. Ignorance and indifference to religious questions. Had they understood Christianity, they would never have supposed it to be against civil order.
3. The certainty foreshown. The spiritual power must prevail. Such a world must be overturned.
II. THE CHRISTIANITY WHICH PAUL PREACHED.
1. Founded on the Old Testament Scriptures, and therefore seeking a basis in the synagogue.
2. Setting forth the redeeming work of Jesus Christ as its substance.
3. Adapted to all, Jews and Greeks alike, and calling the influence of women to its service.
4. Though itself peace, yet, by its contrast with the world, turning it upside down. We must be quiet and orderly in our methods, but we must expect that spiritual forces will stir up opposition. The end is with the truth. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: