The Aim of this devotional study is to learn how Paul revealed God to the secular, pagan Greek society in Athens, and evaluate our understanding of the One True God.
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.
24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
- Paul was appalled by the senseless idolatry in Athens and started preaching, but was soon brought to the Areopagus, the local rock of judgment before the city’s elders for preaching a new religion. Take notes of his concise preaching of this “Unknown God”. How does he present God to them? What are the attributes he chose to describe God with?
- Paul preaches God as the creator of the world and all in it, of heavens and earth (v24), of life (v25) and all mankind (v26). How does that challenge prejudice in our racially diverse nation?
- Paul preaches God as being self-sufficient needing no temple (v24), no idols (v25, 29), not even service or worship (v25). How does that challenge your motive for service and worship?
- Paul preaches God as sovereign being Lord of all mankind (v24), determining physical borders and periods of dominion of nations (v26). How does that challenge your view of international currency fluctuation and ilitary power in the world? Even of wars?
- Paul preaches God as immanent (Afr = toereikend) being close to us (v27) even giving us identity (v28). How does that influence your prayer life now?
- Paul praches God as gracious, overlooking the past sins in ignorance (v30) and commanding repentance from all to avoid judgment (v30). How does that challenge your attitude towards openly immoral people and people from other religions? And the way you approach to God considering your repeated weaknesses and sins?
- Paul preaches God as judge who determines the judgment day and has appointed teh judge (v31). How does that influence your view of God?
Through the day, think about this: If you went on mission to India and were dragged before the local elders by religious fanatics, how will you describe God to them, with the aim to challenge their faith and life?
Pray through the major attributes of God mentioned in this sermon of Paul, and ask God to reveal Himself to you. Ask boldness and grace to rightly reveal God rightly to others.