Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:…
Thessalonica was a large and powerful town; Beroea was a little village. The inhabitants of the one place were wealthy and educated; of the other, comparatively illiterate and poor. But the contrast is altogether to the advantage of the latter.
I. THE CITY THAT WAS UPSET. Philip of Macedon won a magnificent victory in Thessaly on the day he heard of the birth of his daughter, and instantly sent word that the child was to be called "Thessalonica." By and by she was married to Cassandra, who rebuilt the old town Therma, and then named it after his bride.
1. (ver. 1). A new opportunity creates a fresh duty. Right through Amphipolis and Apollonia went these preachers, and not a sermon did they try to preach. Why? Because there was no synagogue; the synagogue of that region was at Thessalonica. When Paul reached so influential a centre, he seemed again to rouse himself to combat like an old soldier.
2. (ver. 2). Every man can do good best after his own "manner." What a fine thing it is to have a habit of teaching Christ so as to have a "manner." How foolish it is to reproduce the method of others.
3. (ver. 3). "Christ and His Cross is all our theme." Paul invariably showed that the Messiah must be born at a particular time, of the line of Judah, at a place predicted beforehand; that He must die and be buried, and must rise again from the dead. Then he set out to prove that Jesus had met all these requirements, and therefore must necessarily be the true Hope of the nation, and the only-begotten Son of God. This was his "manner" (2 Corinthians 2:1-5).
4. (ver. 4). Success in preaching must be estimated not by applause, but by conversions. On that day was founded the Church to which afterwards the two Epistles to the Thessalonians were written. Meantime Paul supported himself by working at his trade of tent making, preaching days, toiling nights (1 Thessalonians 2:9).
5. (ver. 5). The wrath of man is often forced to praise God. Opposition intensified the friendship of adherents. It was easy to get up the nosiest crowd; but they only advertised them and strengthened their friends.
6. (ver. 6). A wicked man's lie frequently contains the Christian man's motto. When infidels exclaimed, "Yours is only a book religion," the brave Chillingworth answered, "The Bible is the religion of Protestants — the Bible only!" Thessalonica was upset from turret to foundation stone that day.
II. THE CITY THAT WAS SET UP. Notice —
1. (ver. 10). The indefatigable zeal of the early Christians.
2. (ver. 11). The promising character of the fresh friends Paul and Silas made.
(1) These people listened to the Word attentively.
(2) They studied the Word assiduously.
(3) They accepted the Word intelligently.
(4) They believed the Word implicitly.
3. (ver. 12). The excellent results of persistent study of the Scriptures. The word "therefore" is intensive; they were ennobled by their conversion, and they were converted because they studied and believed (John 5:39).
4. (ver. 13). Satan betrays the secret of his special hate. His friends journeyed all this tiresome distance merely because they knew the Word of God was going to be preached by those indefatigable apostles. The devil hates nothing so much in this world as the pure word of Divine truth in the Bible.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: