“Jesus, A Miracle Worker”/In Athens

A Christ Filled Life – Getting To Know Jesus

“In Athens”, Acts 17:16) Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.  17) Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.  18) Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him.  And some said, What will this babbler say?  other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods:  because he preached unto them Jesus, and the Resurrection.  19) And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus (a Hill known as Ares, Mars in Latin), saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?  20) For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears:  we would know therefore what these things mean.  21) (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)  22) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ Hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.  Jeremiah 50:38.  23) For as I passed by, and beheld  your devotions, I found an alter with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.  Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you.  24) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of Heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  Psalm 146:5, Hebrews 1:1, 2.  25) Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things: Psalm 50:8; Numbers 16:22.  26) And Hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and Hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;  27) That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every on of us:  1Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:24.  28) For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.  Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3.  29) Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead (possessing all the qualities and attributes which belong to God) is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.  30) And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  Romans 3:25; Luke 24:47.  31) Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.  32) And when they heard of the Resurrection of the dead, some mocked:  and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter33) So Paul departed from among them.  34) Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed:  among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.  Romans 11:5. 

Nelson’s Compact Bible Commentary – v16, Paul was greatly distressed at the sight of numerous pagan temples and altars in Athens.  In his letter to the Corinthians Paul explained why he was indignant (1Corinthians 10:20).  The Gentiles were having fellowship with the powers of darkness by sacrificing to demons.  v17-18, this babbler:  Some of the philosophers in Athens mocked Paul, calling him a “seed picker” or gutter sparrow, a small bird that snatches up scrapes of food.  Paul was being accused of grabbing at bits of knowledge without dully digesting or thinking through what he taught.  Because Paul did not speak eloquently (1Corinthians 2:11), some philosophers in Athens arrogantly ridiculed him, arguing that he was not sophisticated enough to be taken seriously.  v19-21, the Areopagus:  Just southwest of the Acropolis in Athens was a hill called the Hill of Ares (Mars in Latin), the god of war.  This is where court was held about questions of religion and morals.  v22-31, Because the men of Athens had scant knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures, Paul started with the general revelation visible in creation.  He was made from one blood:  God sovereignly created one man, Adam.  As Adam’s descendants multiplied and formed nations, it was God who designed their course (Daniel 2:20-21).  that they should seek the Lord:  God had placed in each of us the yearning to worship and seek Him.  We grope for Him, creating images to worship, whether they are pieces of stone or personal pleasures.  Without a definite revelation from God, we would continue to worship such gods.  But Paul points out that God is not far away; we can have fellowship with Him.   v32-34, Paul’s reference to the Resurrection of the dead ignited a reaction among the Athenians.  The Greeks were repulsed by the idea of a bodily Resurrection because they considered the body to be evil, something to be discarded.  Their adherence (attachment) to this philosophy blinded them to the truth of the Gospel.

John Gill’s Bible Exposition –  Verse 27. That they should seek the Lord,…. Or “God,”  who has appointed their time of life, and their habitations for them; and this should engage them to seek to know Him, who has done all this for them, and to fear and serve Him, and to Glorify His Name:  if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him; which shows, that though it is possible for men, by a contemplation of the perfections of God, visible in the works of creation and providence, so to find God, and that there is but one God, who has made all things; and to see the folly, wickedness, and weakness of idolatrous worship.  And that they are like persons in the dark, who “feel” and grope about after God, Whom they cannot see; and after all their search and groping, there is only an “haply,” a may be, that they find Him:  though He be not far from everyone of us; not only by His omnipresence, and immensity, whereby He is everywhere; but by His power in supporting all in their being; and by His goodness in continually communicating the blessings of providence to them.  Verse 28. For in Him we live, and move, and have our being,…. The natural life which men live is from God; and they are supported in it by Him; and from Him they have all the comforts and blessings of life; and all motions, whether external or internal, of body or of mind, are of God, and none of them are without His Providence, strength, and assistance from Him.  As  certain also of your own poets have said; the Syriac version reads in the singular number, “as a certain one of your wise men has said.  for we are also his offspring; the offspring,  which the Apostle applies to the true Jehovah, the Creator of all men, by Whom, and after Whose image, they are made, and so (we) are truly His offspring.  Amen.

More to come and God Bless You.



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