The Unknown God
15 And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
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, 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.23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar 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;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;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 one of us: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.29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead 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: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 matter. 33 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.
The people of Athens worshipped so many gods that it was said that you could find a god quicker than you can find a man. So fervent were they in worshiping all gods, they were concerned that they might miss one and offend that god. They built an alter to an unknown god to “cover” all gods.
These people could be broken down into two groups
Epicureans were all about indulgences
Their chief goal in life was pleasure
Stoics were all about indifference
Their chief goal was to not care
One thing they agreed on was they all hated Paul. They called him a babbler, one who just grabs thoughts and spews them out. But dispute all that, Paul still told them that he knew the unknown god and proceeded to tell them about Him.
Paul told them 4 things
Our God is the God of creation
Our God is the God of personal involvement
Their gods couldn’t talk back, but Paul told them of a God who does
He knows our name
The devil may know our number, but God knows our name
He knows our needs
God provides for all we truly need
He knows our nerves (how we feel)
And He cares
If we’re sad, He lifts us up
If we’re mad, He cheers us up
Our God is the God of repentance
If we trust Him, He is faithful to forgive us
If we don’t, though…
Our God is the God of judgement
There were three responses to Paul’s preaching
He was mocked
They blew him off
They didn’t want to address his preaching right then
They told him to come back and talk about it more
The Holy Spirit moved their heart
Then they followed Paul