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Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., provides insights from Paul’s message in Athens to explain how we can witness to those who do not know the Bible.
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” . . . However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. (Acts 17:32,34)
Today’s big question: how do we witness to someone with no biblical foundation?
When sharing the good news to someone with biblical knowledge, we attempt to determine that person’s stumbling blocks so we can answer the questions they have regarding salvation. However, the approach is different for people who have no biblical foundation. Acts 17 provides a good example of Paul witnessing to people who did not understand the biblical God.
As Paul waited for Silas and Timothy, he came across idols in the city of Athens, so he started sharing the truth with the people there. A group of people who did not know the biblical God heard Paul, “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” (Acts 17:18).
They had no understanding of Jesus Christ or the purpose of His Crucifixion and Resurrection. Everything Paul said to them was new, including the information about the Creator. So how did Paul witness to these people? He started from the beginning.
“The One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.” (Acts 17:23–24)
Paul told them the history of the universe and everything in it. He explained how we are all one race and that God is not “like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising” (Acts 17:29).
Following his introductory and foundational message, Paul proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ. He stated that God “now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30–31).
The fact that some people believed is a significant success considering the beliefs his audience possessed. These people held to secular philosophies, so Paul showed them some of the flaws in their beliefs and declared that the Creator was not created like their idols. Paul continued to build upon that biblical foundation to give them a proper comprehension of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Today’s big idea: begin in Genesis when witnessing to people with no biblical foundation.
What to pray: ask God to give you the right words as you witness to the lost.