Their goal was self-mastery through the overcoming of the emotions—and they lived austere, simple lives enjoying as few pleasures as possible. He is repulsed by it. As Spence and Excell comment: In his speech he heartily recognizes the worshipping instinct; he sees the dissatisfaction with all existing forms of worship which indicates an aching and yearning of soul to know the full truth of God… St. The god that they do not know verse 23 is knowable, and Paul tell them how. By doing this God had given them proof that his is real. After establishing the church there the opposition from Thessalonica comes and persecutes Paul and Paul must move on again to Athen.
They were a type of men who are scarce in the world, even today. The idol itself promises us something that we yearn for deeper down. His connection with his audience is seen in how he begins addressing those gathered at the Areopagus. But doctrines in the Areopagus can be a good resource for edification of believers. This distance is moral, and is to be overcome by effort on man's part. He was thankful for everything, even the things he suffered for Jesus. Their God is in a box — in certain places at certain times, but God is everywhere and always at work in everything.
Some men saw him talking to the people and asked who Paul was, and they said he is speaking different from what they had ever heard and they wanted to know what it meant. It has made the church indistinguishable from the world, indistinct in its message, and frankly ineffectual as an evangelistic force in an unbelieving culture. While it is not exhaustive, it meets the Gentile philosophers on their level. They are the orthodox and universal truth. Epicurus was the proponent of the doctrine of pleasure as the sole good.
It's a favorite passage for people today who are trying to fashion a postmodern version of Christianity. The new Christians in Berea escorted Paul to Athens for his own safety. Next, he finds common ground. § In Berea the Jews stir up more trouble so Paul flees to Athens without the others. If you wanted help or to appease anger you sacrificed to the right god.
His strategy was about as far as possible from the postmodernized approach that drives so much of the contemporary evangelical church's outreach efforts. He was telling them as plainly as possible that their beliefs were wrong. Let's look at look at what he did do. And this is also shaped by our view toward God how we think of ourselves before God. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. A small number of Thessalonian Jews did believe the Word that Paul preached, but the missionaries received a far greater hearing among the devout Greeks, and the chief women of the city. Paul would have looked towards the sea and seen the Bay of Phaleron, perhaps with grain ships from Alexandria, Egypt.
So the underlying idol of the heart is not Kylie Minogue, but a desire to be loved. At the core of this kind of thinking is a type of hopelessness. As far as the religious aspect of their culture was concerned, he stood against it, and this opening statement made that fact absolutely clear to them. And some said, What will this babbler say? It is written in history that there were about 30,000 idols in public places, plus what people had in their homes. The Athenians response was less than appreciative. I also liked the thought on mars hill. Have you ever expressed a religious thought on social media only to be attacked or criticized? The hill is in the middle of the city—sixteen well worn steps lead to the summit from a plateau between the Areopagus and the Acropolis.
And you are doing that today Athenians! He wasn't affirming their beliefs or embracing this aspect of their culture at all. Ministers, especially who are into Apologetics and those who are going to be involved in apologetic ministry, can use this sermon as a template to present the Gospel in the pagan culture. Luke has not included all details of Paul reasoning διελέγετο in 17:16-21 in Athens, but summary of the speech tells us what he preached was enough to provoke Athenians. Natural theology is emphasized even more by quoting Isaiah 11:28 from the Old Testament v. There is not a single passage in the Bible to suggest a doubt as to the homogeneity of the race, and the descent from one pair. Knowing them and developing relationship with them really opens up the door to share the gospel to them. And there's no doubt that some of the most interesting debates between competing Greek philosophies pitted Stoics against Epicureans and vice versa.
Paul admits a real worship in paganism. One was a member of the Areopagus and another was a woman named Damaris. His only task as an ambassador for Christ is to deliver the message clearly and accurately, and he did that. In the sermon, he addresses Greeks from the philosophical point of view and proclaims sound doctrine that is followed by need and call of repentance. Above All Else, We Exalt Thee, etc.