Saturday, December 2, 2017


While in Athens, sitting on Mars Hill, we read the account of Paul’s ministry in Athens. It was 
especially interesting to see how close Mars Hill is to the Acropolis and to consider that as the 
backdrop for Paul’s word (quoted in full below). We discussed Paul’s ability to connect with 
different people and build relationships based on his knowledge of their culture and background. \
After a downpour, there was a break in the rain and several students shared their testimonies. As that 
concluded, we took a quick class picture and then it started to pour rain again. Not the most ideal 
weather, but a lasting memory!

Here's Paul’s story from Athens:

Paul was troubled “when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To the Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them” (Acts 17:16–34).

After Mars Hill we went to the Acropolis with the rain still coming down. Note the plastic wrapping around my boot! I was grateful to Sister Huff for the suggestion - I would have been miserable otherwise!

A lot more could be said about Athens, which was our final stop on the Greece trip (I'm posting in order of Paul's journey, not our own). One theme that stood out to me throughout the trip was the powerful influence of women in the early Christian church. The first person Paul baptized in Greece was Lydia, a woman who had an important influence on the growth of the church. In Thessalonica there were “chief women not a few” who believed (Acts 17:4). In Berea not a few “honourable women which were Greeks” also joined with Paul (Acts 17:12). In Athens Damaris believed, Priscilla and Chloe appear to be important figures for the church in Corinth. Throughout Paul’s missions, women played vital roles in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthening the church, just as they do today. 

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