The Areopagus in Athens

January 14, 2011

On Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey, he taught the Gospel at Athens, reasoning with those in the synagogues as well as in the market place. Acts 18:18-20 tells us of another teaching opportunity that arose:

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?  “For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.”

The word Areopagus means “Rock of Ares.” Ares is the the Greek god of war. Pagos is “rock.” The word Areopagus is used both with reference to the ruling council of Athens, as well as the place where the council met. Our photo shows the steps leading up to the Areopagus.

Steps leading up the the Areopagus in Athens. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The Areopagus is also called “Mars Hill.” Mars was the Roman god of war. Photo below shows a few of my group on the top of the Areopagus. Bob Berry, center, quoted Paul’s sermon preached here (Acts 17).

Areopagus. A few of our 2010 tour group. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The Areopagus is composed of marble.  It is worn quite slick in places, so be careful of your footing if you have the occasion to visit.

Areopagus in Athens. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The shot above was taken from near the Parthenon.

Click on images for higher resolution.

Homeward bound

March 21, 2010

Today completed our biblical study tour of Turkey and Greece, as we have traveled in the steps of Paul and John.  Our flight is to leave early tomorrow (Mon) morning.  We have all profited from the trip, and our understanding of Scripture in its historical and geographical context has been enhanced.

On Friday our group stood on Mar’s Hill in Athens.  During the 2nd Missionary Journey, it was in this area that Paul addressed the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers. While an invitation to speak to them sounded potentially promising (Acts 17:19), Luke informs us, “For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (v.21).  It turned out that these people who were looking for novelty were not looking for truth.  Paul wrote of those who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7).  Sadly, when Paul spoke of the resurrection of Christ, the Athenians mocked (Acts 17:32). A few responded favorably, but the message of the Gospel was quickly dismissed by most of the hearers there.

Today’s photo shows the Areopagus (Mar’s Hill), which is situated slightly below the acropolis.  Ares was the Grecian mythological god of war; “pagos” means “a rocky hill.” Thus Areopagus means the “Hill of Mar’s; hence, Mar’s Hill.

Areopagos (Mar's Hill) at Athens.

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