Loading…
Inscription to the Unknown God
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
An inscription in Athens cited by Paul in Acts 17:23 to proclaim the one true God at the Areopagus.In Acts 17, Paul travels to Athens, where he gained the attention of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers though his preaching of the gospel (Acts 17:16–18). Unfamiliar with his teaching, they bring Paul to the Areopagus and ask him to explain the “strange ideas” he was presenting (Acts 17:19–20 NASB). Seeking to preach the gospel to the polytheistic Athenian audience, Paul begins by referring to one of their own altars—an altar dedicated to an unknown god—to highlight their ignorance of the one true God (Acts 17:23). Paul then explains that the true God is their creator and judge, who demands their repentance and who cannot be represented by an idol (Acts 17:24–31).By referring to the inscription to the unknown god, Paul started his preaching on a point of familiarity for the audience. The inscription also indicated that the Athenians had a vague idea of the true God’s existence; however, they did not know His nature or how to worship Him (Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles, 523).
Dictionaries
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Inscription to the Unknown God
Inscription to the Unknown God (Ἀγνώστῳ θεῷ, Agnōstō theō). An inscription in Athens cited by Paul in Acts 17:23 to proclaim the one true God at the Areopagus.In Acts 17, Paul travels to Athens, where he gained the attention of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers though his preaching of the gospel (Acts
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Unknown God, Inscription to the
UNKNOWN GOD, INSCRIPTION TO THE. According to Acts 17:22–31, Paul addressed a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers when he was at Athens. He based his speech, the so-called “Areopagus Speech,” on an altar inscription that read: “To an unknown god” (17:23). As of yet, no epigraphic evidence has been
The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Volumes 1–5
UNKNOWN GOD, ALTAR TO AN
UNKNOWN GOD, ALTAR TO AN [Ἀγνώστῳ Θεῷ Agnōstō Theō]. In his speech before the AREOPAGUS in ATHENS, the Lukan Paul refers to having observed an altar in the city bearing the inscription Agnōstō Theō, “to an unknown god” (Acts 17:23a). Paul proceeds to make the proclamation of this unknown god the
See also