17:1-9 The drift and scope of Paul's preaching and arguing, was to prove that Jesus is the Christ. He must needs suffer for us, because he could not otherwise purchase our redemption for us; and he must needs have risen again, because he could not otherwise apply the redemption to us. We are to preach concerning Jesus that he is Christ; therefore we may hope to be saved by him, and are bound to be ruled by him. The unbelieving Jews were angry, because the apostles preached to the Gentiles, that they might be saved. How strange it is, that men should grudge others the privileges they will not themselves accept! Neither rulers nor people need be troubled at the increase of real Christians, even though turbulent spirits should make religion the pretext for evil designs. Of such let us beware, from such let us withdraw, that we may show a desire to act aright in society, while we claim our right to worship God according to our consciences.
Ac 17:1-15. At Thessalonica the Success of Paul's Preaching Endangering His Life, He Is Despatched by Night to Berea, Where His Message Meets with Enlightened Acceptance—A Hostile Movement from Thessalonica Occasions His Sudden Departure from Berea—He Arrives at Athens.
1. when they had passed through Amphipolis—thirty-three miles southwest of Philippi, on the river Strymon, and at the head of the gulf of that name, on the northern coast of the Ægean Sea.
and Apollonia—about thirty miles southwest of Amphipolis; but the exact site is not known.
they came to Thessalonica—about thirty-seven miles due west from Apollonia, at the head of the Thermaic (or Thessalonian) Gulf, at the northwestern extremity of the Ægean Sea; the principal and most populous city in Macedonia. "We see at once how appropriate a place it was for one of the starting-points of the Gospel in Europe, and can appreciate the force of what Paul said to the Thessalonians within a few months of his departure from them: "From you, the word of the Lord sounded forth like a trumpet, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place,"" (1Th 1:8) [Howson].
where was a synagogue of the Jews—implying that (as at Philippi) there was none at Amphipolis and Apollonia.