Gospel to Thessalonica: Acts 17:4-9
Scripture: Acts 17:4-9
In Acts 17:4, Luke tells us that Jews, God-fearing Greeks, and prominent women were among those who responded to the gospel and became part of the church. We spend some time discussing the Greek words translated “persuaded” and “joined” in the NASB. The term translated “persuaded” is found 21 times in Luke/Acts (out of 52 in NT) which makes it important and thematic.
We discuss the significant usage in Luke 16:31 which says in story of the rich man and Lazarus that, “if they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded even if a man rises from the dead.” We point out that there is much evidence for the truth of the resurrection and that Luke/Acts lays this out. Evidence is important and is given in many messages in Acts. Some are persuaded and God ordains that as we preach the gospel we include biblical and historical evidence about the person and work of Christ. Those who were “persuaded” are those who became part of the church.
The other issue is the translation of “joined” which is a Greek term that means “to assign by lot.” Believers are God’s “lot” as Ephesians 1 also teaches. The Greek word is passive in the Greek and this is what scholars call a “divine passive.” That means they were assigned by God as His special possession. This reminds us of other passages in the old and new testaments about God’s people as His own “lot.” That this is the church during the church age does not imply that Israel will not also be regathered by God and made His special people in keeping with Bible prophecy. The fact that some believed and joined Paul and the others prompted a mob action.