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.” (Acts 17:16-21)
The Tyndale Bible Commentary explains that, “The Christian message was first brought to Athens by the apostle Paul on his second missionary journey about ad 50. His only reference to Athens is in 1 Thessalonians 3:1, where he indicated that he and Timothy arrived in the city together but that shortly thereafter he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica while he remained alone in Athens.”
“Luke has provided a more complete account of Paul’s ministry there (Acts 17:16–34). His arrival in a city marked by many statues to the gods, which surpassed anything he had seen in other cities, provoked in him strong feelings against such rampant idolatry. Reared in the strict monotheism of Judaism, Paul apparently viewed Athens as the epitome of sin, and the cultural majesty of the city could not undo this impression.”
In arriving in Athens, the Apostle Paul did what he normally did when entering a city: he found a Jewish synagogue and began reasoning with Jews, and other devout persons who were Gentiles, from the Scriptures. Additionally, he engaged in conversation with people he met in the marketplace. Paul went to the business center of town and spoke with not only those who selling, but also those who were buying. In effect, Paul went to the mall of his day and interacted with those he met. The market place was also where Athenian philosophers gathered to debate the latest ideas.
Do you take the opportunity to engage in spiritual conversation with people at work, in your neighborhood or when you’re shopping; at either a department, or grocery, store? We must make most of every opportunity the Lord gives us to proclaim His name and share the Gospel.
I Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
Have a blessed day.
Soli deo Gloria!