“Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers as well were conversing with him. Some were saying, ‘What would this scavenger of tidbits want to say?’ Others, ‘He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities.’” – Acts 17:18 NASB
At the time the New Testament was written, two schools of philosophy dominated the Greek world: Stoics and Epicureans. As a recent study of the Greeks and their world described, Epicureans believed that pleasure is the sole good. This was based on the thoughts of Epicurus, their founder, who said, “I summon you to continuous pleasures.”
In many ways, the Stoics were the opposite. Founded by a man named Zeno, this philosophy believed that reason is the supreme achievement of man. Stoics sought to be “indifferent to everything but virtue and vice.” They prided themselves in choosing how to feel and react, which would guard them against the changing conditions of life.
The Epicureans and Stoics in Athens were closed to the Gospel because they were fixed in their beliefs. Indeed, they called Paul a “babbler” (v. 18 NKJV).
The world still is filled with people who are closed to the Gospel. Some cannot discern truth because their lives are dedicated to pleasure. At the same time, others are blinded by human reasoning.
Make sure you are not distracted by worldly philosophies or caught up in the pleasures and passions of the flesh. Commit yourself to serving God. Fill your mind and heart with the truth from His Word, avoiding the deceptive and false ideas that dominate the world. And commit your life to following Jesus. Be guided by biblical principles.
Do you need to rebalance your priorities and focus?
Father, give me the wisdom to avoid the traps in the world. Help me focus on Your Kingdom. I dedicate myself to serving You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Today’s Bible Reading