This week in our study of Acts we’re going to examine Paul’s stay in Athens. After a series of troubled visits to Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea, Paul found himself in Athens waiting for his companions to join him. Taking advantage of the time, Paul began to invest that time getting know Athens and its culture. He interacted with both the Jews who lived there and with Gentiles in the market place which was renowned for the exchange of not only goods but ideas. Through his investment in learning Athenian culture and building relationships with its citizens, Paul created interest in the message of Jesus.
‘Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. ‘ Acts 17:16-23
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