In this passage we come across people who worship anything but the true and living God; that's a bit like people in our society. These are also people who like new ideas and philosophies. They loved to debate about something new. So how do you talk to people with this outlook on life.
Paul, the Apostle starts with a 'Back to Basics' approach. Look at some of the key points that are made:
God made the world
He gave us life,
He maintains our existence,
We are ultimately dependant on Him,
We all come from the same stock therefore there should be no racism,
God has defined the boundaries of life and it's times and seasons,
God has so arranged life so that we can seek him if we so desire and realise the importance of knowing God in this life,
God has overlooked much of human history, the despicable behaviour of mankind but he now commands us all to repent - there needs to be a change, we need to turn from our sin to God,
God will judge the world on a future set date. He will be fair and all sin and evil will be dealt with and punished justly. The judge has already been appointed - he is the Lord Jesus Christ. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus confirm that fact that He, Jesus, is the only person appropriate to judge the world,
Some people accepted the message then but some people mocked,
Nothing has changed - the response is still the same today.
15 And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
21 (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.)
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
33 So Paul departed from among them.
34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.