Knowing the Unknown God — Acts 17:16-34
If the thought of sharing the gospel with intellectuals intimidates you, then Paul’s sermon to the philosophers of Athens will both encourage and instruct. Paul was on his second missionary journey and was at Athens, not by his plans, but because he had to flee persecution in Berea. Waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him, Paul strolled around the city, his spirit provoked by the abundance of idols that he saw. As was his custom, he went to the Jewish synagogue and from there to the marketplace, where he presented a classic sermon. Paul’s audience began to sneer. Others said that they would hear more later. A few, including a leading man and woman, joined Paul and believed. Because of the scant response, some have said that Paul failed in his approach. But Paul’s sermon serves as a model for how to reach intellectuals for Christ. In summary, Paul begins on common ground, shows them God’s supremacy and their own sin, and calls them to repentance and faith in the risen Lord Jesus.