A Deep Discussion
Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics, encountered
him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some,
He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached
unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought
him unto the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine,
whereof thou speakest is? For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I
found an altar with this inscription. TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-22
The philosophers’ derogatory response to Paul’s teaching did not bring the
conversation to an end. On the contrary, the Lord ensured that there were
other reactions as well. Some of the hearers were moved by the message
concerning Jesus and the resurrection. The Greeks did not believe that the
dead rose again. According to them, a person’s soul would forever leave his
body and return to the realm of souls when he died. The body meant nothing
to them; the soul was of utmost importance. But Paul declared that the
day would come when there would be a general resurrection of all the dead,
at which time their bodies would be made alive. Read also what Paul also
wrote in 1 Corinthians 15 regarding the resurrection.
This message sounded very peculiar to the Greek philosophers. They wanted
to hear more about this strange doctrine, so they took Paul with them to
the Areopagus, an elevated hill in Athens. Many philosophical ideas were
commonly exchanged there, as well as at the market place near the so-called
‘stoa basileios’ which was a royal chamber. Paul was brought to Mar’s Hill
where he was interrogated concerning his beliefs.
As Paul began to elaborate on his convictions, he acknowledged the Athenians
for their religiosity. He praised them by mentioning the fact that they
had even made an altar in honour of the unknown god. They had built this
altar to ensure they did not forget any of the gods. Paul made use of this fact
and declared to them who this unknown god was, namely, the God of heaven
and earth, who has revealed Himself in the Bible.
Thought: What can we learn from the manner in which Paul approached his
audience with the Gospel?
Psalter 435:2 (based on The Ten Commandments)
“I am the Lord, thy God and Savior,
I, out of bondage set thee free,
Delivered thee from slavish labor;
Hence, serve no other gods, but Me!