The Work at Thessalonica: Part 4 of 4
by John Lowe
1 Amphipolis was also called “Nine Ways,” which name suggests its importance both strategically and commercially. Most cities are built on the pattern of a square, but this was like a roundhouse and the wall around it was round. It was an important station on the Via Egnatia, a Roman road which was the predominant thoroughfare through that area. It was 500 miles from the Hellespont two Dyrrhachium on the Adriatic by this road. This would be a highway which the Roman army would use. And now here come some missionaries’ on this road going to Thessalonica. Apollonia was another town on this same Egnatian road.
2Thessalonica: in Paul’s day it was one of the great seaports of southeastern Europe, with an estimated population of about 200,000. It was inland but it was a seaport because three Rivers flowed into the sea from there. It was a prominent city of that day, another Roman colony. Its Jewish community appears to have been correspondingly large, certainly so by comparison with Philippi.
3 It was long enough for the church to be established and leadership appointed (1 Thessalonians 5:12). It was of sufficient duration that Paul received financial support from Philippi “time and again” while in Thessalonica (Philippians 5:16). Evidently, he took up his trade and supported himself as well during this period (1 Thessalonians 2:9). Most of Paul’s converts in Thessalonica seem
to have come out of paganism, judging from 1 Thessalonians 1:9, which would indicate a more extensive Gentile witness than one might gather from Luke’s highly compressed account.4
Luke used the terminology of formal rhetoric, the art of persuasion. Paul appealed to the reasoning of the Jews and persuaded them with scriptural demonstrations.5
That the Scriptures point to the sufferings of Christ is a common theme in Luke-Acts: Luke 24:26, 46; Acts 3:18; 26:22; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 1:11. The servant psalms of Isaiah would have comprised a major part of these Old Testament proofs of the passion of Christ.6
Prominent women: the Greek could just as easily mean, “wives of the leading men.”7
Inscriptional: a historical, religious, or other record cut, impressed, painted, or written on stone, brick, metal, or other hard surface.8
The NIV renders this verse: “But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.”9
Diaspora: The body of Jews living in countries outside Israel.10
Troublemakers: can mean to stir up sedition, be a political agitator. 11
Security here means that they had to post bail, though they had a different name for it.