Paul's Sermon on Mars' Hill
Acts 17:21-31
(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)…

I. GOD THE CREATOR. Paul shows this "unknown" Deity to be "the God that made the world," etc. He was unlike the other gods in these respects —

1. There was no limit to His power. For none of the gods did the Athenians claim the power of universal creation. One could do one thing, and another something else, but this God was the maker of the world and all things in it.

2. There was no limit to His dominion. "Being Lord of heaven and earth." Other deities were supreme only in certain localities, or under certain localities, or under certain circumstances, but this God was everywhere, and always Master.

3. There was no limit to His dwelling place. "Dwelleth not in temples made with hands." The whole universe was His sanctuary.


1. His independency. "Neither is served by men's hands," etc. Other deities, according to their notions, were hungry, and needed to be fed, and were therefore brought costly offerings of food and drink.

2. His outgiving. "Seeing He Himself giveth," etc. God was the Giver, instead of being the Receiver — like the other deities that were worshipped. The Creator could not be dependent upon the creature.

III. GOD THE FATHER. "For we are also His offspring."

1. The brotherhood of men. To the Athenians this was no palatable thought. Proud of their culture and intellectual superiority, they superciliously divided the world into Greeks and "barbarians." Paul set forth this doctrine by showing —

(1) The unity of the nations. "He made of one every nation of men." They were not sprung from different sources, but from one source. They were not made of different blood, but of one blood. Having but one Father, the human race is one family.

(2) The cause of the creation of nations. "That they should seek God," etc. God created men that they might adore Him. He blessed them with life that they might bless Him. He hungers for their love as a father hungers for the love of his children.

2. The Fatherhood of God.

(1) The fact. "For we are also His offspring." To a heathen audience Paul does not quote from the Scriptures, but from one of their own authorities. Truth from any source is truth, and it is best to use that which will find the quickest acceptance.

(2) The obligation. "We ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold," etc. God who made living, seeing, breathing, speaking men, how could He Himself be like those lifeless, sightless, breathless, speechless idols?


1. The time of repentance. The "times of ignorance" are gone by. God cannot overlook sin any longer on the plea that one does not know.

2. The day of judgment. That day is surely coming. Men then will be judged according to the deeds done in the body. It will be a day of terror to the wicked — a day of rejoicing for the righteous.

3. The Judge. The world once judged Christ — the time is coming when Christ will judge the world. Christ is the Saviour now — the Judge by and by.

4. The people to be judged. They were in the audience before Paul — they are in the audience of every minister of the gospel now. How did those act who were before Paul?

(1) "Some mocked." Some now mock at the preacher, or at sacred things, knowing their sacredness.

(2) Others did, as the majority of hearers do now — they put off deciding for the salvation of their souls.

(3) But there were a few who closed with the offer of salvation. In every revival there are a few who get ready for the day of judgment. But who shall be able to characterise the folly of those who continue to walk in the way of destruction?

(M. C. Hazard.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

WEB: Now all the Athenians and the strangers living there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.

Paul At Athens
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