The Unknown God

through the new testament acts

Acts 17

Great chapter! Paul ministers is three very different cites, facing opposition in each while remaining faithful to the gospel. If you are looking for an example to follow, Paul is a pretty good one!

Thessalonica - (Acts 17:2-3) ...he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead.

Berea - (Acts 17:13) ...the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also.

Athens - (Acts 17:17) ...he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day.

As someone who tries to remain faithful the never changing Gospel in our ever changing culture, I especially admire Paul's words to the philosophers and theologians in the Areopagus. 

The Areopagus (Mars Hill) was actually a hill and a council… teachers were brought in to hear what they had to say and the council would evaluate the merit of their message and decide if they were going to be able to teach it in the marketplace.

(Acts 17:19-20) “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?  For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.”

So, Paul gives them what they are asking for.

(Acts 17:22-24) “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious... For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you."

Paul basically tells them, "You have a lot of great questions, but no real clarity. You are religious, but you are not certain. You worship an unknown god - let me tell you His name. Let me fill in the gaps of your understanding."

(Acts 17:26) He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…

Why? Here is the purpose. Here is Paul’s synopsis of what religion is all about.

(Acts 17:27) "God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him.”

God has made us and placed us on this planet so that we could seek him, reach out for him, and find him. That is a pretty good definition of religion.  Paul goes on to tell them the good news that God is not far from us, that we are His offspring and that He can be known. 

(Acts 17:30-31) “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”

Christianity begins where every religion in the world hopes to end.

  • In religion we seek God, we reach out for Him and hope to find Him. 
  • The message of the Gospel is that God does the seeking, God does the reaching out and God does the finding.


Father, thank you that what the law was unable to do, what morality was unable to do, what religion was unable to do, what I was unable to do, YOU DID by sending your Son!

Bobby Pruitt 


BOBBY PRUITT  |  Lead Pastor


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