Today is Friday, October 27th, 2017. I love this passage, because it drives home for me the saying, “All truth is God’s truth wherever it may be found.” God has equipped Paul to understands the Greek philosophers who question him, and he is able to winsomely quote their own poetry to them and point to their own altars and speak Truth into a longing that the Greeks had already expressed, and to show them that Jesus is the fulfilment of their desires. May God equip us all to do the same with those we interact with. --Monica
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who didn’t know Christ, but didn’t know what to say?
_Have you ever been asked about your faith, but not sure where to begin?
Take some time to thank and praise God for who He is, to pray for those you are walking with, for the needs you/group are facing, and for the Spirit to open your heart and eyes as you read the passage, which has been completely inspired by God. Thank God that he is Truth and that He has placed a longing for Himself within all our hearts, whether we are aware of it or not.
DISCOVER [Acts 17:16-34]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)
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.
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,28 for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
29 Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst.34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.”
_ In vs. 16- 18 Athens is a city of ideas, valuing dialogue and debate. The Aeropagus is the forum for those conversations. What do the people think Paul is saying?
_ In vs 19-21 How would you describe the philosopher’s request of Paul? What is motivating them to ask this?
_ In vs. 22 Paul praises the pagans for what quality?
_In vs 23- Paul explains to them that their unknown god is actually a known one. What attributes does Paul highlight in God’s character?
_ In vs. 29-31 Paul speaks of man being God’s offspring, so he is not a man-made image. What does Paul say that means about God?
_In vs. 32-34 How do people respond to Paul’s message?
_ What does this passage teach us about Jesus?, Power?, His Spirit?, or our calling as believers?
+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience? (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ Is there an area of your life that you are being invited to be a witness? If so, where and what is your next step this week?
_ Paul clearly sees how God’s truth intersects with culture. Do you need to be vigilant in seeing the distinction between what is God’s truth and what is culture? Or how they fit together?
+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?