First Thessalonians 2:14-16 mentions the “churches of God in Judea” suffering persecution from their fellow Jews. There is also Paul’s mention of being “persecuted for the cross of Christ” in Galatians 6:12 which may well refer to opposition from non-Christian Jews. As confirming evidence, we can note Josephus’s account of the incident where the high priest Ananus brought James, the brother of Jesus, and certain other Jewish Christians before the Sanhedrin on charges of serious violations of the Torah and had them executed by stoning. Such a punishment was restricted to radical violations of the Torah, such as idolatry and teaching Israel to stray from God. And, of course, there is the ironic fact of Paul, the onetime persecutor of Jewish Christians, himself subsequently being on the receiving end of severe opposition from Jewish authorities more than once, as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:23-26. Here, Paul refers to receiving synagogue floggings on five occasions, and mentions a stoning as well.
by: Larry W. Hurtado