In Athens, the unknown god

Acts 17:15-34. Idol to unknown god – AD51.
Paul had just been chased out of the city of Thessalonica. Now in Athens he again finds a group of people to speak to and again ends up with a small group of followers for Jesus the Messiah.

Paul must have had a wide knowledge of other cultures, because in his speech he made references to their own poets, even if they were quoting some of the things the Jewish prophets had said 2-300 years earlier.

An Idol is something you put in place of Jesus in your life.

Background Reading:

Paul in Athens

17:15 The men who escorted Paul took him all the way to Athens and, after receiving instructions to have Silas and Timothy join him as soon as possible, they left. 16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was deeply disturbed to see the city full of idols. 17 So he began holding discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and other worshipers, as well as every day in the public square with anyone who happened to be there. 18 Some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also debated with him. Some asked, “What is this blabbermouth trying to say?” while others said, “He seems to be preaching about foreign gods.” This was because Paul was telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

19 Then they took him, brought him before the Areopagus, and asked, “May we know what this new teaching of yours is? 20 It sounds rather strange to our ears, and we would like to know what it means.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners living there used to spend their time doing nothing else other than listening to the latest ideas or repeating them.

22 So Paul stood up in front of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. 23 For as I was walking around and looking closely at the objects you worship, I even found an altar with this written on it: ‘To an unknown god.’ So I am telling you about the unknown object you worship. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in shrines made by human hands, 25 and he isn’t served by people as if he needed anything. He himself gives everyone life, breath, and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth, fixing the seasons of the year and the national boundaries within which they live, 27 so that they might look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. Of course, he is never far from any one of us. 28 For we live, move, and exist because of him, as some of your own poets have said: ‘…Since we are his children, too.’ 29 So if we are God’s children, we shouldn’t think that the divine being is like gold, silver, or stone, or is an image carved by humans using their own imagination and skill. 30 Though God has overlooked those times of ignorance, he now commands everyone everywhere to repent, 31 because he has set a day when he is going to judge the world with justice through a man whom he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

32 When they heard about a resurrection of the dead, some began joking about it, while others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 And so Paul left the meeting. 34 Some men joined him and became believers. With them were Dionysius, who was a member of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and some others along with them.
Acts 17:15-34

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