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Paul Confronts Pagan Philosophy: Acts 17:18-25

April 30, 2021 Speaker: Bob DeWaay Series: Acts of the Apostles

Scripture: Acts 17:18-25

By Bob DeWaay

The setting in Athens where Paul encounters philosophers is profound and comes with much historical data. In this class we cite scholarly sources about the Epicurean and Stoic philosophies which are mentioned by Luke. The Areopagus is well known and can signify the council or the hill (Mars Hill). The agora was a marketplace below the hill where ideas were debated. The Epicurean and Stoic philosophies were different than mere superstitious polytheism and have similar counterparts in our world today. The philosophers thought Paul was promoting “foreign deities” because he preached “Jesus and the resurrection.” To show the narrative unity of Luke-Acts, we cite verses from the very early in Luke to the end of Acts where repentance and turning from sin to God is taught. Not only this, in Acts, the resurrection of Christ was proof that made all people accountable to repent and turn to God. Thus those who claim that Paul failed at Athens and then changed his method to doing signs and wonders rather than preaching as he did in Athens are false. There is irony in that those gathered in Athens were always “telling and hearing” something new, were confronted with something truly “new” which was the true God who created the whole universe out of nothing!