Acts 17, Paul at Athens: Opportunities, Obstacles, Outcomes

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Athens probably wasn’t on Paul’s list of places to preach, but he found himself there anyway. He didn’t just take a vacation—he found places to share the Gospel! Let’s be ready to share the Gospel, too.


Text: Acts 17:15-34

Introduction: why was Paul at Athens?

I While there, Paul found opportunities
He went to the Jewish synagogue
He also spoke with people in the market place
Who do we come in contact with, who need to know about Jesus?

II He also faced a number of obstacles

Some of these he had no control over:
A. He was born a Jew, and was a Pharisee;
He may have had a problem (see 2 Cor 10:10) with his speech or accent and his bodily presence
B. He faced obstacles from the people of Athens, too:
Idolatry (mentioned in verse 16)
Philosophy (verses 18-21)
Two major groups were the Epicureans and Stoics

III But God was in control of the outcomes
Paul gave an address at the "Areopagus" (Mars' Hill)
Various responses: some sneered, others said, "we'll hear you again", and a few actually believed the Gospel!

I hope that, like Paul, we'll be able to find opportunities to share the Gospel, and that we won't be afraid of any obstacles. God bless you all in trying to share the good news of Jesus with many others.

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