We continue with our study of Acts 17, Paul on Mars Hill. I’m looking forward to Emmaus Bible College’s “Christian MInistry Seminars” on February 6-7. My theme, “Anti-Intellectualism Isn’t Spirituality,” will pursue several topics. We will look at Acts 17:19-34 to see how the Apostle Paul used his mind to reach five different groups.
Beginning with a compliment, Paul proclaims the “unknown god” to the Athenians. Let’s notice verses 24-28. As Paul moves into PROCLAMATION, he speaks clearly of Christian doctrine! Notice that he credits this “unknown god” with creation (He “made the world and everything in it” – v. 24) and providence (caring for His creation) (“he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else” – v. 25). Paul makes it clear that this true God is independent of His creation (He “is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands . . . and . . . is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything” – vv. 24-25).
Wow! That’s a lot of Christian doctrine! Paul goes on to talk about man’s creation (“all the nations” – v. 26) being intended by this God to “inhabit the whole earth” (v. 26). Both man’s relationship to time (“marked out their appointed times”) and their geography (“the boundaries of their lands”) are covered in verse 26.
And this Creator-God is not content with simply making stuff. He wants a personal relationship with human beings (“God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for him and find him” – v. 27).
Question: Are we presenting the true God of the Bible as One who wishes for a personal relationship with each of His creatures made in His image?