Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:…
His preaching —
I. WAS EVANGELIC.
1. His grand theme was Christ.
(1) He showed the necessity of His suffering and His resurrection. He exhibited the Cross of Christ in all its high aspects.
(2) He showed that He was Messiah. "Is Christ."
2. His grand authority was the Scriptures. He did not attempt to derive his arguments and illustrations from general literature or philosophy. He would, perhaps, quote the old prophecies (Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 40:1-10; Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:24-27; Micah 5:6, etc.), and show that in the life of Jesus those wonderful prophecies were fulfilled. Reasoning with the Jews, his authority was Scripture, and with the Gentiles, Nature, as at Athens.
3. His grand method was reasoning. He "reasoned with them." "Opening" means to explain, to unfold. "Alleging" means laying down the proposition. He laid down his propositions, and he argued their truth from the Scriptures. This is model preaching. Let ministers give to men now the Christ of the Scriptures, not the Christ of their theology.
II. WON CONVERTS (ver. 4). The "devout Greeks" were those who had become proselytes to the Jewish religion, "proselytes of the gate." The "chief women" were members of families of high rank. The converts were —
1. Numerous. "A great multitude."
2. Influential. "Chief women." Some of the leading women of the city.
3. Thoroughly united. They "consorted with Paul and Silas." Common beliefs awaken common sympathies. Christ gathers men of different types of character and grades of life together.
III. AWOKE OPPOSITION (ver. 5). In this we see —
1. The force of envy, This malignant passion of evil natures had been excited in the Jews by the moral conquest which the apostles had won in their synagogue. This passion has always been the inspiration of all persecutions. It shows itself now in a thousand forms.
2. The servility of mobs. These Jews took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, unprincipled idlers that are found lounging about places of public resort, the lazy rabble that fill workhouses with paupers and jails with prisoners, who are always ready instruments to the hands of evil men in power. The demagogue can cajole them, and the rich can purchase their services with cash.
3. The revolutionising power of the gospel (ver. 6). These men spoke a truth, though unintentionally. The gospel does turn the world upside down, for the moral world is in the wrong position.
4. The falsehood of wickedness (ver. 4). The charge they brought against them was that of sedition and rebellion against the Roman emperor, high treason against the crown. These men covered their envy under the garb of patriotism.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: