While Paul is waiting for his church planting team to join him he does some ethnographic research. You may be familiar with demographics – which is a statistical analysis of a place – population, age range, poverty indices and so on. Ethnographics is about getting a feel for a place. What is the culture? What shows people their need of the gospel, what in the culture would help them grasp the Gospel?
Paul sees that the city is full of idols, which provokes his spirit, v.16, and that there is an altar to the “unknown god”, v.23. Meanwhile he preaches in the synagogue to mainly Jews on the Sabbath and then in the marketplace to mainly Gentiles on other days. Some of the philosophers hear him and bring him to Aeropagus/Mars Hill to debate with them.
The rest of Paul’s marketplace speech is a masterclass in the art of reasoning the gospel with people.
1) Start with where they are at – Paul perceived that they were very religious, with altars and statues of many gods.
2) Look for the pointer to Jesus in the culture – there was a statue to an unknown god. Take them to the person of Jesus.
3) Get to the resurrection, which is the ultimate proof of who Jesus is and what He has done for us.
4) Call to repentance – ask people to respond!
Discuss further if necessary!
Ask the Lord for a divine appointment with a friend, family member or stranger today. Ask him to show you the way in.