Paul got to Athens before Silas and Timothy, and while there contemplating the spiritual condition of Athens, Paul becomes vexed about idolatry, and here is a potent missional issue: discernment of spiritual condition. Notice what is said of Paul in Athens and his ascent onto the Areopagus:
17:16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was greatly upset because he saw the city was full of idols. 17:17 So he was addressing the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles in the synagogue, and in the marketplace every day those who happened to be there. 17:18 Also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him, and some were asking, “What does this foolish babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.” (They said this because he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) 17:19 So they took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are proclaiming?17:20 For you are bringing some surprising things to our ears, so we want to know what they mean.” 17:21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there used to spend their time in nothing else than telling or listening to something new.)
A few observations:
, our companion in this series on Acts).