Acts 17:1-9 "Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews:  Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and  for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead; and saying, 'This Jesus, whom I preach to you, is Christ. And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.  But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men  from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.'  Jason has harbored them: and these are all contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king--Jesus.  And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.  So when they had taken security from Jason, and the rest, they let them go.'"

 "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too."
There is truth in this statement because Satan turned the world upside down in the Garden of Eden by getting Adam and Eve to sin. Paul was preaching a gospel that brought mankind back into a proper relationship with God. The truth is that he was turning men and women right side up. From a carnal viewpoint it was upside down from their previous condition as a lost sinner.

     After leaving Philippi,  Paul and his evangelistic party made their first stop at Thessalonica where there was a Jewish synagogue. Paul attended for three Sabbaths and as a visiting rabbi, he was given the privilege of speaking.
     Paul took the synagogue congregation on a journey through the Old Testament scriptures and showed that Jesus was the fulfillment of those scriptures that spoke of the Messiah (Christ). He strongly emphasized the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ.
     The results were that first, a great number believed and joined with Paul and Silas, and second, the unbelieving Jews stirred up a great riot and, third, brought charges against Paul and Silas before the rulers of the city:
"These that have turned the world upside down are come here too!"
          "Whom Jason has harbored…"
          "…And these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar…"
          "…saying that there is another king--Jesus"

     The result of the accusations was that Jason was required to sign a security bond that he, nor his guests in his house would create another riot. Paul knew he would have to stop preaching the gospel in Thessalonica for that to be possible, so he and his party left to preach in Berea.

         True Christians should have a desire to be like Paul and Silas in turning an upside down lost world right side up. Those who do so in our day will become 20th century spiritual revolutionaries. We can learn from the example of Paul and Silas.


In Acts 16:6-10 they were planning to go first into Asia, but the Holy Spirit forbid them to go. They made alternate plans to go to Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit would not allow them to go there. It was then that Paul received the night vision of a man in Macedonia saying, "Come over and help us." Sensing the leading of the Holy Spirit, they crossed over to Philippi, and found that a great harvest of souls was waiting to be reaped. They could go to Asia and Bithynia at a later time.
     After leaving Philippi they passed through two cities before setting up ministry in Thessalonica. We can be sure they were being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit (Philip, Ananias, and Peter are also examples. Acts 8, 9 & 10)

     No one person nor one church can win all lost souls. However, at any one moment there are many lost souls ready to receive the gospel message and place their trust in Christ. By being sensitive to the Holy Spirit He will lead us to those we can win.


     Although Paul officially became the apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians 1:7-9) his rule of ministry in each new area was to go to the Jew first and afterwards the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; Romans 1:16; 2:9,10).

     And so we read in Acts 17:2 "Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them" (the Jews in the synagogue) Paul believed that Jews should have the privilege of hearing the gospel and so he took the gospel to them. After he had taken the gospel to them he went to the Gentiles as he said to the elders of Ephesus, "…and taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying to the Jews and also to Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20: 20, 21.

     In order to win lost souls to Christ we must go to where they are. We can win some of these to Christ with a gospel witness. Some we can invite to meetings where they will hear the gospel. Others may need to see our Christian life and require much prayer. In any case, we must go to them and make a gospel witness available if we are going to win them. In so doing we join the ranks of 20th century spiritual revolutionaries


     With these in the synagogue Paul "reasoned with them out of the Scripture…" This is the most effective way to reach Jews. Paul showed them right out of their own scriptures that Jesus was the fulfillment of all their scriptures that spoke of Christ. Later in this chapter we find Paul preaching to Greeks on Mars Hill located in Athens. He did not quote one verse of scripture in his first presentation because it would have no effect. He gave them the historical record of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A few believed.

     There is much to be learned from Paul’s principles of reaching the lost. "...And to the Jews I became as a Jew…to those who are under the law, as under the law…To those who are without law as without law…To the weak became I as weak…I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."    1st Corinthians 9:20-22.  Paul tried to find a point of common ground and acceptance and then work from that point to lead the lost to faith in Christ.


     The gospels tell of how Jesus came to die as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind in order that men, women, boys, and girls might be saved. The gospels also tell of unspeakable opposition to Christ that brought to Him unspeakable suffering…but He persevered. The book of Acts begins with a band of 120 believers in Christ witnessing to their fellow Jews. It also records the intense persecution they received…but they persevered.!

     Beginning with Acts 13 we have the record of Paul taking the gospel to Gentiles in Asia and Europe. It is also a record of rejection and riots…but Paul and his party persevered.

     There are great spiritual forces in conflict. Jesus goes with His disciples as they share the gospel. Satan is with those in darkness who oppose the gospel. There will be times of opposition from those whose minds are under Satan’s power…but let us be twentieth century spiritual revolutionaries who persevere.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted