Family Bible Study Lesson for November 23: Confronting Other World Views : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003
October 30 2003 by Mary Fillinger

Family Bible Study Lesson for November 23: Confronting Other World Views : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003
Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

Family Bible Study Lesson for November 23: Confronting Other World Views

By Mary Fillinger
Focal passages: Acts 17:16-20, 22-28, 29-31
Success and persecution marked Paul's ministry almost everywhere he went. Often persecution came because of success.

Many times during his first missionary journey, dissenting Jews became jealous of Paul's popularity and stirred up persecution against him. Now, the same thing was happening as he traveled into Europe. Success and persecution seemed to comprise the rhythm of the apostle's life.

A Purposeful Ministry

Acts 17:16-20

While Paul was in Athens waiting for Silas and Timothy, he became distressed at the city being full of idols. Paul had a twofold ministry in Athens: first to the Jews and God-fearing Greeks in the synagogue on the Sabbath, and second to the Gentiles in the marketplace on weekdays. He evidently kept this up every week.

A favorite method of teaching in Athens was to hold open discussions in the Agora, or marketplace. Paul adapted himself to this opportunity, in order to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Jesus.

Some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with Paul in the marketplace. The Epicureans and Stoics took Paul and brought him to speak before their supreme council, the Aeropagus.

This council, being responsible for supervising the religious life of the city, questioned Paul. They wanted to know what this new teaching was that Paul was presenting to them and the people. They felt that these were some strange ideas to their ears and they wanted to know exactly what was meant. They didn't want some religious renegade running wild in their city. Athens was the greatest intellectual center in the world at that time and they wanted to keep it that way.

Bringing Light to Darkness

Acts 17:22-28

Paul gladly joined the city's leading philosophers in their meeting place on Mars Hill, and said "I see that in every way you are very religious."

Paul commented on an image he had seen with the inscription: "To the Unknown God." Then, taking this inscription as his text, he preached to them about the true God. The true God is the creator of the universe, and so cannot be confined to a temple.

Verse 26 says, "And He made from one blood all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined (their) allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation." This is the divine answer for all racial prejudice: basically, we all belong to the same race, the human race.

In verse 28 Paul quoted from the Greek poet Epimenides: "For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your (own) poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'"

Simple Explanations

Acts 17:29-31

Paul declared that God permitted humans to walk in their own way, but lost in ignorance, they were not able to discover God. Through the resurrection of Christ, God gave a new revelation. Calling all to repent and be saved before the judgment.

Paul's sermon ended abruptly, due to the adverse reaction of some of the listeners. Some of the people mocked Paul when he mentioned the resurrection.

They understood fully that he was speaking of life after death. The Epicureans for the most part rejected any form of an afterlife. To the Stoics, who believed in immortality of the soul, resurrection was inconceivable. Despite the negative reaction of some, others were interested in knowing more.

It is still true that success often brings persecution. The man who does nothing creates no disturbance. But when people begin to witness powerfully for Jesus, Satan will stir up opposition.

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Mary Fillinger | with 0 comments




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