Paul, Silas, and Timothy witness in, and get thrown out of, both Thessalonica and Berea.
“…These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also…” v.6
Paul winds up in Athens alone, waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him. While in Athens, he grows upset by the number of idols there – silver, gold, and stone statues and altars to different Greek gods. He starts to preach in the synagogue and the market before being brought before an advisory council to explain himself.
He addresses them, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious…I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown god.’” v.22-23 He goes on to offer reason for the Most High God, our Creator, and how God allowed for us to search for him in ignorance, but that he now calls for repentance “because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead.” v.31
The full speech spans from Acts 17:22-31 and is a model for modern evangelism.
Let’s Talk About It
21st Century Idolatry
When Paul mentions idols in his speech to the Greeks, he is directly challenging the logic that a great God who created man, heaven, and earth, could be compared to a man-made object of gold, silver, or stone. Over time, these kind of idols have become less and less familiar, especially in the West. However, there are other forms of idolatry that are also addressed in the Bible, Colossians 3:5-8. The idea is that idolatry can include any way of life that places another object, person, or practice before the Lord.
Seasoning Your Speech with Salt
Paul’s speech to the Greeks was very different from his speeches to the Jews. He didn’t quote a single scripture. Instead, he quotes their own philosophers, people whose wisdom they respect. He builds on the truths they’ve already accepted and gently exposes some flaws in their logic before pointing to Christ. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6