GOSPEL MEDITATION # 53
Paul in Athens
- Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
- Paul, on the run from those who opposed him in Thessalonica, travelled to Berea only to find that his enemies followed him there.
- The “brothers” saw to it he escape to Athens and after some period, Paul was “provoked” by what he saw there.
- Athens, known for its 30,000 temples to pagan gods, its great university, renown for being the home of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and where the Epicurians (founded by Epicurius some three hundred years earlier) and the Stoics (founded, centuries earlier also, by Zeno) had seen all these philosophical school degenerate into degradation and cultural and racial pridefulness.
- Paul already knew that behind the idols worshipped in Athens the demons lurked. In 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 Paul makes this clear.
- It was the tradition that the proclaimers of new religions and philosophies to come to the marketplace, the agora, and announce their teachings. This had become standard for several centuries.
- At first the listeners thought Paul was preaching about two new gods, Jesus and the resurrection. In Greek resurrection is Anastasia, a feminine word, thus Jesus and Anastasia. These were new and strange words to the Athenians.
- But Paul’s words, however unorthodox, were pondered and considered by the crowds. They wanted to know more.
- Luke acquaints his future readers with the fact that the Athenians, and other foreigners, loved to hear the theories of the traveling preachers. Perfect for Paul.