Paul's Missionary Journeys

Challenge in Athens

Acts 17:16-34

The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible. Acts 17:15

City: "Athens is five miles inland from its prot of Piraeus, which is on the Saronic Gulf, an arm of the Aegea Sea stretching fifty miles between Attica and the Peloponesus...named in honor of the goddess Athena...The Romans conquered Athens in 146 B.C. They were lovers of everything Greek, and under their rule Athens continued as the cultural and intellectual center of the world. Rome also left the city free politically to carry on her own institutions as a free city within the empire. When Paul came to Athens, it had long since lost its empire and wealth. Its population probably numbered no more than ten thousand. (Longenecker 1981:473)

Summary: In Athens, Paul was immediately distressed over how many idols were in the city. He immediately began speaking in the synagogues and reasoning with the Jews and God-fearing Greeks. Many began to think that Paul was advocating foreign gods. Paul was brought to the Areopagus (meeting place) and questioned about what exactly he was teaching. Paul began to speak to them by talking about one of their objects of worship which was dedicated "to an unknown god." Paul began to tell them about a God that does not live in temples and doesn't need to be served by man, this God is the creator of life. He told them of God's planning of the human race and of man's need to seek him. He told them of God's intangibility and of their need to repent of making graven images, for they would be judged by God's appointed one. When Paul began telling them of the resurrection of the dead, many sneared and didn't believe, but others invited him back to speak again. A few men became believers, among them being Dionysius and a woman named Damaris.

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