18 June. Acts 17:16-33

18 June. Paul explains how Jesus is "the unknown God"

"While Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens, he was troubled because he saw that the city was full of idols [that were worshipped]. In the synagogue, he talked to the Jews and the Greeks who worshipped God. He also talked every day with people in the market-place."

"Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers argued with him, saying. 'This man doesn't know what he is talking about.'... Others said, 'He seems to be telling us about some other gods,' because Paul was telling them about Jesus and his rising from the dead."

"They got Paul and took him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said, 'Please explain to us this new idea you have been teaching.'..."

"Then Paul stood before the meeting of the Areopagus and said, 'People of Athens, I can see you are very religious in all things. As I was going through your city, I saw the objects [idols] you worship.'"

"'I found an altar that had these words written on it: TO A GOD WHO IS NOT KNOWN. You worship a god that you don't know, and this is the God I am telling you about! The God who made the whole world and everything in it is the Lord of the land and the sky. He does not live in temples built by human hands...'"

"'Since we are God's children, you must not think that God is like something that people imagine or make from gold, silver or rock. In the past, people did not understand God, and he ignored this. But now, God tells all people in the world to change their hearts and lives.'"

"'God has set a day that he will judge all the world with fairness, by the man he chose long ago. And God has proved this to everyone by raising that man from the dead!'"

"When the people heard about Jesus being raised from the dead, some of them laughed. But others said, 'We will hear more about this from you later'. So Paul went away from them."

"But some of the people believed Paul and joined him. Among those who believed was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and some others.

          (Acts 17:16-33)

 

 

Paul preached in the synagogue at Athens, and also discussed with the Greek philosophers in the Ancient Agora (the market place).

Paul – who was trained as a young man in the art of debating in Greek – would have been delighted at an opportunity to spread the Good News of Jesus in the cultural heart of the ancient world, among its numerous pagan temples, altars, statues and monuments.

Paul was invited to speak to the Areopagus (the Athenian council) which met on Mars Hill, only a short distance from the foot of the Acropolis, dominated by the Parthenon – built as a temple to Athena in the 5th century BC.

In this city of many pagan gods and goddesses, Paul revealed the nature of the ‘unknown god’ whose inscription he had seen on a pagan altar.

As a result, Dionysius – a member of the Areopagus – and several other Athenians become the first believers in Athens.

Mars Hill and the Parthenon can still be visited today, as can the Roman Agora (the market place) with its Bouleuterian (council chamber), the Stoa of Zeus, and its many pagan shrines. In the Agora Museum, artefacts from Paul’s day include an ancient klepsydra (a water clock used for timing speeches like Paul’s) and a number of ostraka (voting tablets on which names were inscribed and unpopular citizens could be banished or ‘ostracized’).

The photo shows the Temple of Hyphaestus in the Ancient Agora at Athens.

You can read more about Athens in Paul's day @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/10-pauls-…/paul-in-athens/


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