Daily Devotional Friday 15th May 2020

by William Moody

Acts 17:16–23

Paul in Athens

16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

Paul Addresses the Areopagus

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.


In Athens Paul is distressed at the idolatry (v16) both for the honour of God and for the sake of these blinded people. We need to be distressed when we see people turn from the true God. We must not be comfortable and relaxed while the unsaved continue in their sin. There is a place for righteous anger.

Paul does something about the situation by engaging with the people (v17). Christians need to enter into discussions and even debates with the unsaved about what is the truth.

The philosophers in Athens loved to talk and debate, so Paul gladly joins with them to share about Jesus (v18). But they see his teaching as being ‘foreign’ about a foreign God and nothing to do really with them.

Paul’s response in bringing home that this message is for them, is by using their statue to the ‘unknown God’ (v23). Paul wants to make known to them what they do not know.

Today there are people we mix with who have great ignorance. All believers have the responsibility to make Jesus known. We need great wisdom in sharing with those not brought up in a Christian background. Pray for those you know not from a Christian background and how you can witness to them.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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