Staff Picks of the Week:
Memorial Day 2013
Memorial Day 2013 Preaching Bundle »
Greater Love Video Illustration » Everlasting God Worship Music Video »
Sabbath Sabbath Preaching Bundle »
1 Outta 7 Video Illustration » Before The Throne… Worship Music Video »
Paul observed that the city was given to idolatry. The Greek historian Pausanias says that there were more idols in Athens than in all the rest of Greece combined. Paul would see them wherever he turned his eyes. He tried to reason and teach to Jews in the synagogue and Gentiles in the market place. There was in Athens one great "market place," or public square. The porches around it were favorite places for discussion.
In former years Athens had been famous for four schools of philosophy.
∑ The Academy of Plato
∑ The Lyceum of Aristotle
∑ The Porch of Zeno and
∑ The Garden of Epicures
In the time of Paul only two schools survived: Epicureans and Stoics. The Epicureans held that the gods were careless about human affairs, and that a manís best course was to get as much pleasure out of life as possible. With them pleasure was the chief good. They held an anti-god outlook on life. Since there was no life after death your goal in life is to indulge in all the please you can get in what life you do have. The Stoics were fatalists, believers in a sort of pantheism, and insisted on self-righteousness. They goal was to talk and debate about natural law and the things of life. Epicurus was the founder of the first sect; Zeno, of the second. To the Epicureans the individual was supreme. To the Stoics universal law was supreme.
The Stoics and Epicureans considered Paul a babbler-a fellow with scraps of learning. They understood Paulís teaching must have been about a new strange female diety call the resurrection the wife of Jesus. They mistook Anastasis, the Greek for resurrection, for the name of a goddess. The doctrine of the resurrection was a foreign topic to the philosophers. It was unlawful for Romans and Athenians to worship unauthorized gods. Acts 16:21
From the point of view of the people of Athens Paul was teaching about a false god not authorized by the state. For Paul to teach about Jesus and the resurrection was to put him in danger of being arrested like he was in Philippi.
Paul was taken to the Areopagus to have him present his views to the council and prevent another mob violence that happened in Philippi and Thessalonica. Areopagus is the Greek term for Marsí hill (verse 22). The hill was a place of assembly. There the supreme court of Athens met. The court was made up of 30 city officials. There the courts that sat concerning religious matters convened. The associations had something to do, probably, with Paul being taken here to speak, though the meeting was informal and not official. The hill is about fifty feet high, and was then surrounded by the most glorious works of art in Athens with the historic Parthenon in the background. It was in harmony with the spirit of the city that he should be called on to speak to gratify the curiosity of people seeing new thoughts.
Paul was presenting the good news of the Gospel to the literary capital of the ancient world, the most cultured city of the earth. In this city many Romans sought to finish their education. Athens was the home of philosophers, orators, sculptors, painters and poets, and the great university where many thousands of strangers were gathered for study. This ancient city of so glorious history was the modern capital of Greece, and had a population of about 100,000 people.
Acts 22-31 Paul stood in the midst of Marsí hill in the
- All Sermons on Paul
- Text Illustrations on Paul
- Video Illustrations on Paul
- PowerPoint Template on Paul
- Scripture on Paul
Join the discussion