Where’s the Areopagus?

Evangelizing young people? How about the whole wide world? Think of it; from the comfort of home consider how many places you can go. Such travel abilities makes me think that when I get there I ought to have something to say.

When I read the journal of Paul’s travels, I see some things about man that never change.

Acts 17

Paul at Thessalonica

  • Still the same:  If you can’t win an argument, use force. In fact, stir up a mob and then blame it on your opponent. And don’t forget to show yourself a hypocrite by prohibiting your opponent the same freedoms you enjoy. Make sure you do all you can to prevent the generation coming after you from either living like you or like those you clash with.
Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them.

Paul at Berea

  • Still the same:  If you can’t win an argument, don’t just sit there. Get up, go out there and stir up a mob or two!
The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. Now those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.

Paul at Athens

  • And still the same:  Thank God He has not yet given all over to a depraved mind (Romans 1:28). He has left some in their right nature who still value truth, its substance, and to ponder its meaning.
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,” — because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? “For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.” (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

Paul at the Areopagus

What’s an Areopagus? See Mars Hill below.

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said,
Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, “For we also are His children.” Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.
Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” So Paul went out of their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

Mars Hill

A rocky eminence in Athens, separated from the W. of the Acropolis by a raised valley, above which it rises sixty feet.

Mythology made it the scene of the god Mars’ trial before the gods, at Poseidon’s accusation, for murdering the son of the latter, Halirrhotius.

The most venerable of all the Athenian courts, consisting of all exarchons of blameless life. It was the Upper Council, to distinguish it from the five hundred, who met in the valley below. It met on the S.E. top of the rock. Sixteen stone steps in the rock still exist, leading from below to Mars’ hill, and directly above is a bench of stones cut in the rock facing S., and forming three sides of a quadrangle.

Google Images

Here the judges sat, in criminal and religious cases, in the open air. The accuser and accused had two rude blocks, still to be seen, one on the E., the other on the W. side, assigned them.

Paul, “daily disputing” in the market (agoora), which lay between the Areopagus, the Acropolis, the Pnyx (the place of political assemblies), and the Museum, attracted the notice of “certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics.” They brought him up from below, probably by the steps already described, and, seated on the benches, heard from him the memorable address, so happily adapted in its uncompromising faithfulness, as well as scholar like allusions, to the learned auditory, recorded in Acts 17.

Paul’s intense earnestness strikingly contrasts with their frivolous dilettantism. With the temple of Mars near, the Parthenon of Minerva facing him, and the sanctuary of the Eumenides just below him, the beautiful temple of Theseus, the national hero (still remaining) in view, what divine power he needed to embolden him to declare,

“God that made the world … dwelleth not in temples made with hands”;

and again in the midst of the exquisitely-chiseled statues in front, crowning the Acropolis, Minerva in bronze as the armed champion of Athens, and on every side a succession of lesser images, to reason,

“Forasmuch as we are the offspring of God”

(which he confirms by quoting his fellow countryman Aratus’ poem, ‘We are His offspring’),

we ought not to think that the Godhead is like gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art or man’s device.”

Yet he does not begin by attacking their national worship, but draws them gently away from their ignorant worship of the Deity under many idols to the one true God,

“Whom ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you.”

In opposition to the Greek boast of a distinct origin from that of the barbarians; he says,

“God hath made of one blood all nations to dwell on all the face of the earth”;

and ends with announcing the coming judgment by the Lord Jesus.
(from Fausset’s Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright © 1998, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Be Sociable, Share!

About Robert Coss

I was made in America by God. I hope you will see the quality of that workmanship.
This entry was posted in My Church, My Government and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Protected with IP Blacklist CloudIP Blacklist Cloud