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Acts 17:22-31 - Sunday Scripture Reflection

Updated: May 17, 2023

On this Sixth Sunday of Easter we hear the Apostle Paul speaking to the crowds in Athens, one of the most prominent cities in ancient Greece. We learn from other scriptural writings that Paul's success in this Greek city was limited, but that did not dampen his enthusiasm for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. He proclaims his belief in the mission and saving grace of God, through Jesus Christ, and our connection to Christ as children of God. We will reflect on Paul's witness to Christ and consider how our faith in Christ's mission of love and compassion for all people shapes our lives and informs our faith.

Our Scripture passage is found in the Book of Acts. You may find the Scripture lesson by selecting the following link: (Acts 17:22-31).

For continuing study, reflect on these questions (found in the study guide below):

  • Read the Scripture lesson assigned for the week, and reflect on Paul's witness to the power of believing in Jesus Christ. (to better understand the context of Paul's testimony in Athens, read Acts 17:16-21, which describes the people of Athens and their interest in learning and debating about religion and many other topics).

  • Read the "WHAT..." paragraph in the guide below. What do you think of the author's statement, that Paul's speech "attacks the worship of idols" commonly practiced by the people of Athens? Do you think Paul "attacks" the worship of idols, or uses the "idol to an unknown god" as an opportunity to create interest in Paul's testimony to Jesus Christ, and the one God, who cannot be seen?

  • Read the "WHERE..." paragraph below, and reflect on the idea that the words we say in Christian creeds (like the Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed) help us to define elements of our faith, and serve as starting points for us to enter into deeper relationship with God.

  • Read the "SO WHAT..." paragraph below and reflect on the author's statement, "The challenge is to find the imagery and language that allow us to enter another's world in order to speak our truth honestly, respectfully, and effectively." Do you think this sentence captures Paul's intent as he begins his conversation by identifying the idol to an unknown god? He may have used that idol so the people of Athens felt connected to his description of God...not something completely new, but something previously defined as "unknown" but now "known."

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