A Greek Poet
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. Acts 17:28-29
Read Psalm 135:13-21
In verse 28, Paul does something quite unusual: he quotes one of the ancient Greek poets to build his case for the gospel. A certain Aratus lived three centuries before Christ and was instrumental in promoting the philosophical thought of the Stoics. With this in mind, Paul quoted this philosopher in conversing with the Stoics on Mars Hill.
By doing this, Paul was not stating his agreement with this ancient philosopher, but by quoting him he revealed that he was well aware of their beliefs. In this way he hoped that the Lord would make use of this discussion, making his adversaries realize that if he knew the thoughts and ideas of their philosophers, then he must also know what he is talking about; they had better listen to him.
Maybe someone asks: How did Paul actually know this? We must realize that Paul was not an uneducated man as some of the personal disciples of the Lord Jesus were. He had rabbinical training under the tutelage of the learned Gamaliel. With the knowledge he had gained, he sought to win his audience over to Christ. When someone engages in evangelism, they should have some knowledge of the beliefs of their audience. Maybe some of you have asked: Why must I occasionally read modern literature at school? It’s not Christian at all! However, by reading some of this material, you will gain some insight into how modern man thinks. Perhaps you may be able to use this knowledge in the future as you are given occasion to converse with unbelievers.
Thought: Do you think it is proper to use the words of a popular song writer when engaged in evangelism? May you use a quote from the Koran when speaking to a Muslim?
Psalter 415:6 (based on Psalm 25) Who is he that fears Jehovah, Walking with Him day by day? God will lead him safely onward, Guide him in the chosen way. Then at ease his soul shall rest, In Jehovah still confiding; E’en his children shall be blessed, Safely in the land abiding.