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Preparing for the Sermon - Acts 17:16-34

20180121 preparing post

Prepare your heart for the Sermon by looking through these suggestions that will assist you in making the most of our time together hearing God's Word.

You will find suggestions for thinking more critically through the passage, meditating more intently on the text, and prayerfully seeking wisdom to deepen your understanding of the passage to be preached this Sunday.

Carefully Think

  • Read Acts 17 in entirety for context for this Sunday’s passage.  Focus on verses 16-34 for the sermon.  In verses 1-15 why is Paul in Athens?  What has he been doing?  How does that set the scene for verse 16 and following?
  • Who provokes Paul in verse 16?  How is Paul provoked?  What is his response? What groups of people does Paul interact with in verses 17-18?  What were the responses of the different groups of people in verses 18-19?  What reasoning is given for their wanting to hear Paul in verses 20-21?
  • How does Paul begin his conversation with the men of Athens?  What is his intent found in verse 23? What is the main content and point of verses 24-27? What does Paul quote in verse 28? Why does he quote this?
  • Following the reasoning in verses 29-31.  Verse 29s starts off with a kind of “therefore”; verse 30 brings expected responses; look in verse 31 for a reason for the prior several verses. 
  • What types of responses did Paul’s address to those in Athens receive?  Can you find more than one response?  
  • The Sermon Study equipping class notes are available online for anyone wanting to dig deeper. Please review this week's notes to help study this passage. Click here for the notes.

Prayerfully Meditate

  • What immediate feelings emerge within yourself when you read this passage? 
  • How does your heart respond when others around are in some type of idol worship or something ungodly with known unbelievers?
  • Think about how well Paul knew or didn’t know the audience of Athens.  How much did that impact his address?
  • Could you give a similar address over the basics of the Gospel in a manner that would possibly drive someone to confront God and not yourself?
  • How does Paul go from talking of unknown gods, to God the creator, to Jesus Christ death and resurrection? Was the type of address new for Paul?  Would it be new for you?