Paul’s Speech to the Areopagus
So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.
From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”Acts 17:22-31
Now finally we are in the position to read between the lines of the speech Paul made to the Areopagus. Now you know clearly the cultural background of life in Athens and why Luke made the comment he did:
“It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.”Luke 17:21.
Although the comment is somewhat parenthetical you know now it is not. It is very relevant to the cultural background of the city of Athens and what the Agora was like. You also know something of the nature of both the philosophies of the Epicureans and the Stoics. You also know the nature of the body to whom Paul addressed this speech and why. Now is the time to pick apart exactly what he said in the cultural atmosphere of where he found himself and how indeed he went about the process of preparing to give this speech.
Take the time now to analyse Paul’s speech in the light of all of the above key factors. Dare I suggest you read back over Gems 1716, 1717 and 1718 again in order to get clearly in your mind the nature of what Paul was facing before you tackle his speech. Remember again the promise Jesus made to Paul and to all of us hidden in the quote I included in Gems 1718 :–
And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.Luke 12:11-12
Take time now to pull the speech apart in order to get a better idea of all that is going on within the speech. After we have done that we will look at the reaction of the Athenians.
That should keep you busy for the next while. A couple of you suggested I slow the pace down a little, especially when I give you a long Gem like 1717. Yes, I could have broken up 1717 into three different Gems but then if I do that I might not be finished gemming Acts before my ascension. I will have an ascension you know. Jesus promised me those who are left will be caught up to be with Him in the air. Even if I die before that marvellous end time event takes place I will still ascend to be with Him after I die. Either way it happens. So I am just doing my bit to hasten “the day of His appearing” by finishing these Gems as quick as I can. But those who know me well know that it is a measured, methodical process anyway. At the same time I am working toward getting Deeper Bible online for everyone to experience. Just be patient.
I am going to give you the next few days to work through all the above. I will return again with Gem 1720 soon to give you time to do all the above. Look at the speech every which way, macro level and micro level and beyond. Ask yourself the questions that you really want to know in order to understand this speech and why Paul said what he said to the Areopagus. Make sure you understand all the pieces of it. Then we will start to pull it apart.
The Ultimate is now The Intimate; the veil has been removed.Ian Vail
The resurrection changes everything: Life is now redefined in terms of knowing Jesus and making Him known.Ian Vail
Jesus isn’t a past memory but a permanent personal presence.Ian Vail
Did the guards at the tomb simply move on with life and forget what they had seen?Ian Vail
Did the members of the Areopagus simply move on with life and forget Paul’s speech to them?Ian Vail
Will you simply move on with life and forget this experience of looking deeply at Paul’s speech?Ian Vail
Spend the time REALLY studying Paul’s speech to the Areopagus. This is your chance.