August 16, 2016. Devotions
Therefore, he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? (Act 17:17-19 NKJ)
Paul didn’t waste any time doing nothing, instead, he went into the synagogues to the Jews and the gentiles he spoke to them in the marketplace. I can almost guarantee that one of his questions revolved around the question, ‘why haven’t you had a greater impact in this community as Jews, and second, have you heard about Jesus and the resurrection? The Stoics and the Epicureans called him a ‘babbler’ which is why Paul says to the Corinthian church, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Co 2:13-14 NKJ)
Two groups were in the crowd, the Stoics and the Epicureans. The Stoics believed that God was in creation, the trees, animals and plants, a kind of pantheism. Spirituality was evident in a person by the lack of emotion. Epicureans, on the other hand, believe God was distant and didn’t involve himself in the lives of people. Paul loved a challenged and had just the Word that would speak to both. How would you deal with people like this?