Chronicles 4-6; Acts 17

Acts 17:16-21 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he grew exasperated at the sight of the city full of idols. So he debated in the synagogue with the Jews and with the worshipers, and daily in the public square with whoever happened to be there. Even some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers engaged him in discussion. Some asked, “What is this scavenger trying to say?” Others said, “He sounds like a promoter of foreign deities,” because he was preaching about ‘Jesus’ and ‘Resurrection.’ They took him and led him to the Areopagus and said, “May we learn what this new teaching is that you speak of? For you bring some strange notions to our ears; we should like to know what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians as well as the foreigners residing there used their time for nothing else but telling or hearing something new.

Once again Luke’s turn of phrase gives us some flavor of the personality of Paul: “grew exasperated” is much more colorful than something like “was disturbed” or “upset”.   It gives Paul a Popeye-ish “I’ve had all I can takes, I can’t takes no more” flavor.  Also, the epithet “scavenger” is interesting, literally “seed-picker.”  The inference is that Paul is taking someone else’s ideas and cobbling them together and putting them forth as his own.   Paul’s presentation to these brainy Greeks is brilliant, but note that later in Chapter 17 he gets brushed off and makes few converts there; evidence the brain (pride) can be an obstacle to the heart.

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