Acts 17:16-34New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Paul Preaches in Athens
16 Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens. He was very upset to see that the city was full of statues of gods. 17 So he went to the synagogue. There he talked both with Jews and with Greeks who worshiped God. Each day he spoke with anyone who happened to be in the market place. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic thinkers began to argue with him. Some of them asked, “What is this fellow chattering about?” Others said, “He seems to be telling us about gods we’ve never heard of.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus. He was telling them that Jesus had risen from the dead. 19 They took him to a meeting of the Areopagus. There they said to him, “What is this new teaching you’re giving us? 20 You have some strange ideas we’ve never heard before. We would like to know what they mean.” 21 All the people of Athens spent their time talking about and listening to the latest ideas. People from other lands who lived there did the same.
22 Then Paul stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus. He said, “People of Athens! I see that you are very religious in every way. 23 As I walked around, I looked carefully at the things you worship. I even found an altar with
to an unknown god
written on it. So you don’t know what you are worshiping. Now I am going to tell you about this ‘unknown god.’
24 “He is the God who made the world. He also made everything in it. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in temples built by human hands. 25 He is not served by human hands. He doesn’t need anything. Instead, he himself gives life and breath to all people. He also gives them everything else they have. 26 From one man he made all the people of the world. Now they live all over the earth. He decided exactly when they should live. And he decided exactly where they should live. 27 God did this so that people would seek him. And perhaps they would reach out for him and find him. They would find him even though he is not far from any of us. 28 ‘In him we live and move and exist.’ As some of your own poets have also said, ‘We are his children.’
29 “Yes, we are God’s children. So we shouldn’t think that God is made out of gold or silver or stone. He isn’t a statue planned and made by clever people. 30 In the past, God didn’t judge people for what they didn’t know. But now he commands all people everywhere to turn away from their sins. 31 He has set a day when he will judge the world fairly. He has appointed a man to be its judge. God has proved this to everyone by raising that man from the dead.”
32 They heard Paul talk about the dead being raised. Some of them made fun of this idea. But others said, “We want to hear you speak about this again.” 33 So Paul left the meeting of the Areopagus. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed in Jesus. Dionysius was one of them. He was a member of the Areopagus. A woman named Damaris also became a believer. And so did some others.
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