While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city.
He went to the synagogue to debate with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.
He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, "This babbler has picked up some strange ideas." Others said, "He's pushing some foreign religion."
Then they took him to the Council of Philosophers. "Come and tell us more about this new religion," they said.
References for Acts 17:19
"You are saying some rather startling things, and we want to know what it's all about."
(It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)
So Paul, standing before the Council, addressed them as follows: "Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious,
References for Acts 17:22
for as I was walking along I saw your many altars. And one of them had this inscription on it -- 'To an Unknown God.' You have been worshiping him without knowing who he is, and now I wish to tell you about him.
"He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn't live in man-made temples,
and human hands can't serve his needs -- for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need there is.
From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
"His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him -- though he is not far from any one of us.
For in him we live and move and exist. As one of your own poets says, 'We are his offspring.'
And since this is true, we shouldn't think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
God overlooked people's former ignorance about these things, but now he commands everyone everywhere to turn away from idols and turn to him.
References for Acts 17:30
For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead."
When they heard Paul speak of the resurrection of a person who had been dead, some laughed, but others said, "We want to hear more about this later."
That ended Paul's discussion with them,
but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Council, a woman named Damaris, and others.
References for Acts 17:34