Paul's Speech: Altar to Unknown God



Acts 17 includes a speech that Paul is said to have given at the Areopagus, which was the name of a hill and a council. In it he seeks to move his listeners from idolatry to faith in the true God.


Context: Followers of Greek traditions often built shrines to show gratitude for help from a god or goddess. The altar to "an unknown god" (Acts 17:23; cf. Pausanias 5.14.8) was apparently intended to give thanks for divine aid by a a person who had received help, but did not know which god to thank. Paul's speech directs attention to the true God, the Creator of all things, who does not live in shrines made with hands.


(Shown here is an altar to an unnamed deity that was found in Rome.)

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