One of the interesting things about the gospel is the fact that the common people were so receptive to it (Mk. 12:37). But, did the gospel have any appeal to the powerful, influential, intellectual, and philosopher? Should we just bypass them in our evangelistic efforts? Is the gospel beneath their dignity? Should the Christian be intimidated by them? Certainly not, for the gospel appeals to all men in that all have the same problem – sin.
Paul’s evangelistic effort in Athens is an example of trying to reach the intelligentsia and influential of the day (Acts 17:16-34). Athens was the cultural, philosophical, and intellectual capital of the 1st century world. It was a famous university city. Her mathematicians, scientists, philosophers, painters, and sculptors were renowned. Paul met these intellectual giants face to face on Mars Hill. Take note of an emphasis on “the gospel” as Luke records this memorable event.
The gospel was delivered tactfully (Acts 17:22-23). After acknowledging their religious fervor, Paul proceeded to inform them of the true God. Like many today, they had a zeal for God (Rom. 10:2) that was misdirected. Paul used their religious fervor to steer them toward an accurate knowledge of Jehovah.
The gospel was delivered plainly (Acts 17:24-31). Paul did not mince words. The truth was offered without apology. There is absolutely nothing in Christianity about which we should be ashamed and for which we should be apologetic. Truth is always more powerful than error.
The gospel was derided (Acts 17:32). Unfortunately, even truth is not always well received. When Paul spoke of the resurrection of the dead it provoked outrage. In some circles the gospel is faced with the same response today. The virgin birth of Christ, the inspiration of Scripture, the singularity of the church, the essentiality of baptism, the monogamous nature of marriage, and eternal punishment of the ungodly are sometimes derided. When people cannot refute truth they often try to minimize it.
Obedience to the gospel was delayed (Acts 17:32). This was the initial reaction of some. People often react the same way today for a variety of reasons. Some feel they don’t know enough yet; others delay because what they hear is not what they have been previously taught; still others aren’t convinced they can live up to the life expected of a Christian. For whatever reason, to delay responding to truth is to flirt with danger.
Obedience to the gospel was decided upon (Acts 17:34). There were some honest, sincere souls who responded without delay. What is your reaction to the gospel? There are numerous Bible studies linked to this web site…and they are all free. For a more detailed study of the Bible connect with one of them and begin your exploration of the greatest book ever given to mankind.