While Paul waited for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to find that the city was flooded with idols.
He began to interact with the Jews and Gentile God-worshippers in the synagogue. He also addressed whoever happened to be in the marketplace each day.
Certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers engaged him in discussion too. Some said, "What an amateur! What's he trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods." (They said this because he was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.)
They took him into custody and brought him to the council on Mars Hill. "What is this new teaching? Can we learn what you are talking about?
You've told us some strange things and we want to know what they mean." (
They said this because all Athenians as well as the foreigners who live in Athens used to spend their time doing nothing but talking about or listening to the newest thing.)
Paul stood up in the middle of the council on Mars Hill and said, “People of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way.
As I was walking through town and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown God.' What you worship as unknown, I now proclaim to you.
God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn't live in temples made with human hands.
Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he is the one who gives life, breath, and everything else.
From one person God created every human nation to live on the whole earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands.
God made the nations so they would seek him, perhaps even reach out to him and find him. In fact, God isn't far away from any of us.
In God we live, move, and exist. As some of your own poets said, ‘We are his offspring.'