Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Preaching in the marketplace

My post office is a busy place. Several times a week there are people handling out literature. Last Saturday, a group of young people handled out containers of bottled water that I suppose was particularly refreshing on a hot day. But this group also had a message and their handout included directions to their church. Since these groups are generally chased from the malls, the post office becomes their protected refuge. I suspect that the handouts this coming week will be protesting the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court expanding the eminent domain powers of the government.[1]

When Paul arrives in Athens, Luke has him preaching in the marketplace. This marketplace served as a first century equivalent of my post office, a place where there was an opportunity to discuss the ideas of the day. The marketplace in Athens was the location of the famous Painted Colonnade where Zeno, founder of the Stoics, had presented his teachings and where Socrates taught his students. Epicurus had established his community nearby at the Garden. It is therefore not unexpected that Paul encountered “some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers.”

This pericope has attracted more scholarly attention than any other passage in Acts. I will return again to add my thoughts on Paul’s mission speech in Athens.

[1] Kelo v. New London, see Michelle Malkin’s website for details.

copyrighted 2005


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