VS 2 And Paul went in (the synagogue), as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures

VS 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead …


VS 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.


VS 10 … When (Paul and Silas) arrived (at Berea), they went into the Jewish synagogue.

VS 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

VS 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.


VS 16 Now while Paul was at Athens …

VS 17 … he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.

VS 18 … he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.


VS 19 And (the Stoics and Epicureans) took him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is?

Vs 20 … We wish to know therefore what these things mean.”


VS 22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive …

VS 23 … What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

VS 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples …


Vs 27 … Yet he is actually not far from each one of us …”


VS 32 Now when they heard …  some mocked.

VS 34 But some men joined him and believed …




Acts 17 shows a clear pattern of Paul’s ways … and a pattern of response from the recipients of those ways.


First, he goes the synagogue … (“as was his custom”) …  And then he “reasoned with them from the scriptures”.

So, Paul started with what he knew.

And in response “some” believed.


When Paul was not in the synagogue, for example, the Areopagus, Paul did not start with “reasoning” from the “scriptures”.

It’s noteworthy that Paul “perceived” the people.


Paul already understood the scriptures, but to communicate to this new people, he had to understand them.

In the marketplace of ideas, Paul could not start with “Jesus fulfilled the Prophets and the Law”.

In the Areopagus, Paul’s message begins with “the God who made the world and everything in it”.

(Exactly as we just read in Acts 14 when Paul was being worshipped as a Greek god and told them, “NO! I am  a man like you! Turn to the God who made heaven and earth and everything in it.”


Ans the response, again, is the same … “some believed” … “some mocked”.




So, I love gaining an understanding of the “scriptures”.

And I love “reasoning” about them with the people around me.


The question I ask myself this morning though is, “Do I perceive the people around me?”

Do I understand them before I engage the scripture with them?


The people Paul was “perceiving” were “very religious in every way”.

I’m living in an era that often despises “religion”.


So, what can I “perceive” about this?

Perhaps, a common cultural refrain can help me.

I often hear the phrase, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.”

This is at least an open door the supernatural.

This is an opportunity to begin with “the God who created the world and everything in it”.


Of course, atheism is on the rise … or at least the “nones”.

How can I “perceive” them?

Perhaps, instead of beginning with “the beginning of creation”, I begin with “the beginning of their ‘noneness’.”

Why? How? and When? Did you NOT believe?

Bad church history? … Family tradition of nonbelief? … Hate the “rigid morality”?

People have a “reason” for nonbelief.

How can I “perceive” it?


And if I do this, with the love of the Holy Spirit, and leading to the love of Christ …

Perhaps some will believe.




Thank you, God, for you Word

Help me understand it

Teach me Holy Spirit to reason with it

Help me perceive the people around me

And love them with the love of Christ

In Jesus name