Daily Lesson for Wednesday 6th of December 2023
Now that Paul had the attention of the thinkers in Athens, he turned his audience to the God of heaven.
Read Acts 17:24-27. What approach was Paul taking here in an attempt to reach these people?
For a people who cared enough about spiritual things to build an altar to an unknown god, Paul’s words were intriguing: a Creator God who does not live in a temple needs nothing from humans, but instead supplies human needs. For a culture steeped in Greek mythology—in which the gods were unpredictable, self-centered, and cruel—the idea of a God like the one Paul described was a wonderfully intriguing thought. And the men of the Areopagus took their first baby steps toward a God of love.
The fact is that this God, whom they did not know, could be known! Indeed, He wants to be known, as well.
Paul probably spoke longer at the Areopagus than just the few words Luke shared in this story. It seems reasonable for the sake of space that Luke just summarized Paul’s speech. If that is true, then each of the concepts we have read so far Paul probably fleshed out in more detail. Then we break down Paul’s speech into concepts:
Paul first complimented their current spiritual awareness and sincerity.
Next he showed that he had studied their belief and that he found some things that he respected from what he had learned.
He then told them about one particular thing that he had discovered in his study of their religion that they admitted they did not understand.
After that, he shared the aspect of God that he knew they desperately needed, which is the fact that God exists and that He loves them and is not far away.
Finally, at the end of his speech, Paul moved to warning them of what it means to reject the knowledge of this God they did not yet know.
Paul took them as far as he could, based on what he knew about what they believed. If he could get them that far, he was making good progress.
Notice Paul’s appeal to the created world and to God as the Creator (see also Romans 1:18-25). Why is this such a good approach to take, at least as a start, with most people? What is it about the created world that points so powerfully to God?