VERSES: Acts 17:16-34
MEMORY VERSE: Acts 18:30 "And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men everywhere to repent."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: Titus. Write "Titus" on small slips of paper and hand out at the end of class for the students to take home and memorize.
PRAYER: Thank God for being the Creator of all things.
SPECIAL SONG: How Do Christians Worship God? (See May 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #5 on this blog. Click on orange circle for tune.)
VISUAL AID: Bible Map; Activity (see below); As the lesson is told, write the eight main thoughts on the board (see below in Activity), so that when the students begin writing their columns, the words will already be there!
- As Paul waited for Silas and Timothy in Athens, he noticed that everywhere he looked, he saw idols or statues that people prayed to and worshiped. He preached and talked to Jews and religious people in the synagogue and he talked to whoever would speak with him in the marketplace every day.
- There were certain men who were philosophers who would meet with Paul and they would talk together. Some would call Paul a 'babbler' which was not a very nice name, but others would say that Paul was one who would talk about strange gods because they had never heard of the LORD God or Jesus or of the resurrection.
- One day these philosophers took Paul to Mars' which was the highest court in Athens to talk about this new doctrine that he spoke about. They said that Paul had brought new and different things and they wanted to hear what he had to say. All of the Athenians and the strangers that came their way spent their time on nothing else, but to talk about something new.
- As Paul stood in the middle of Mars' Hill, he said, "Men of Athens, I know that you are too superstitious because as I passed by and looked at all things that you hold dear, I noticed an altar that had a sign that said 'TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.' You ignorantly worship the One that I speak to you today!" Then, Paul went on to preach about the LORD God of heaven and earth and how He was not a God who was made with men's hands. He explained that God had made all mankind from one blood to dwell on the earth. Paul said that God was not made from gold, or silver, or stone, and made from man's hands. He said that people used to make statues like they were making in times past, and God looked the other way, but not anymore. Now, God commanded everyone everywhere to repent.
- When some of the men heard Paul's words about the resurrection of the dead, they made fun of him, but others told him that they would like to hear him speak about these things on another day. So, Paul left the men, but there were some that stayed with Paul and believed what he had said about God and Jesus and the resurrection.
"Older Student" Tips:
- The Athenians believed in covering all of their bases, so they made altars to many, many gods or idols. They believed that there were gods of the sun, the moon, the water, and many other things. They did not want to offend any god, so they had even made an altar to a god that they might have not known about--and this was the LORD GOD that Paul preached about on Mars' Hill! Paul said they were ignorantly worshiping God and they didn't even know it!
- It is interesting to know that in Acts 17:26, it says that God created all nations from one blood--meaning Adam--to dwell on the EARTH. This dispels the notion of UFO's and people living on other planets. God, the Creator of all things, created man to dwell on the earth.
- There is a danger in postponing doing something about our soul's salvation when we have learned the truth. Certain men on Mars' Hill thought that they would hear from Paul again about this new God he spoke of, but what happened in time? Paul left them and they did not act on their belief and were lost.
ACTIVITY: Mars' Hill
Materials needed: 8.5" x 11" piece of white bond paper, 9" x 12" red construction paper, scissors, glue, marker.
- Hand out white paper.
- Fold paper in half, width-wise.
- Cut on fold.
- Fold one paper in half again.
- Cut on fold. These are the top and the bottom of Mars' Hill.
- On one paper, write "MARS' HILL".
- On the other small paper, write "ACTS 17:16-34."
- Take the other large half of the paper and fold in half again and again and again. There should be eight areas when unfolded.
- Cut on folds. These are the columns of Mars' Hill.
- On small papers, write "Paul waited in Athens for Silas and Timothy." "Paul saw that Athens was full of idols." "Paul taught and spoke in the synagogue and the market." "Philosophers took Paul to Mars' Hill." "Paul talked about the altar to the UNKNOWN GOD." "You ignorantly worship the LORD God." "God is not made with man's hands." and "Some made fun of Paul. Some believed."
- Glue "Mars' Hill" paper almost to the top of the red paper.
- Glue "Acts 17:16-34" paper almost to the bottom of the red paper.
- Glue the white columns in order that they happened between the two wider papers.
- Mars' Hill looked a little like our project today.