The bible has a few great speeches in it, Moses at the end of his life, Jesus and the famed Sermon On The Mount, and right up there is Paul’s Mars Hill sermon.
Paul preached the gospel in Philippi and was beaten for doing so, then his jailer came to faith and a revival broke out. He then landed in Thessalonica and was chased out of town, after another revival broke out. After preaching in Berea he is chased out of town again, and ended up in Athens, a city way past her prime, and a place full of idols.
The word reason in Greek means to “speak through,” which is sort of like saying, “let’s cut through all the noise.”
Paul then went from synagogue to marketplace in a step of faith to preach the gospel in a way that cut through all the religious and social noise around him.
Epicurean philosophers are mentioned, and they love pleasure, and live with “no worries” in a somewhat hippy way.
Stoic philosophers are mentioned, and they could not be more different, they write books on leadership, talk about business execution and strategy, and are bugged when others cannot see things like them.
Both groups asked to meet with Paul in an area the text calls “Areopagus,” more famously known as “Mars Hill.”
Paul addressed the crowd stating the obvious, looking at a city with countless Temples, he said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.”
It was statement that they could not deny.
Another obvious fact was stated, an altar with an inscription to it marked “unknown god” was found by Paul. He used that inscription as a bridge to the gospel.
Here is my summary on Paul’s teaching, and how God was described to the Athenians:
- God is real and so is his love. Paul mentioned God as the
“giver” and not the taker.
- God is so God we add nothing to him. The majesty of God is beyond human ability to add to.
- God gives to all humans—life—breath—everything.
- God created science, people, and the earth.
- Jesus is God and rose from the dead.
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