Daily Word

Resurrection Roadblock | Acts 17:32-34

32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We shall hear from you [y]again concerning this.” 33 So Paul went out from among them. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Acts 17:32-34 (NASB) 中文


After visiting a few of the churches from the first missionary journey, God directed Paul and Silas on the 2nd journey to new territory in Macedonia, modern-day Europe. In Thessalonica and Berea, the replay button is pressed and they’re kicked out of town. Paul’s now waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens where he has shared the good news in the synagogue and then in the market. He’s just given a 2-minute gospel presentation to their city elders. Here’s their response.

Resurrection Roadblock

Paul got through two minutes of his gospel presentation. But when he said Jesus rose from the dead, he was done. Scoffing began. Why? The resurrection is a real roadblock. People can accept the idea of a god, even a god who created everything, including man (as Paul just shared). They even seemed to accept the need to repent – likely knowing they are indeed all sinful. 

But it’s the resurrection that they can’t accept. How can someone be risen from the dead? Once you’re dead, you’re gone. No coming back. They likely have never heard of anyone being resurrected and it seems their religion didn’t teach it. 

“The Greeks were fond of the idea of the immortality of the soul, but not of the idea of the resurrection of the body. They felt that anything material was inherently evil, so there really could be no such thing as a glorified body.” (enduringword.com

Quick departure

But some were willing to discuss it further. Was it intellectual curiosity only? We’ll see in the next passage that Paul didn’t stick around long. “Paul wanted to talk about Jesus. He could have, if he wanted to, stayed there and discussed Greek philosophy all day long. But Paul was not interested in that; if he couldn’t talk about Jesus, he didn’t have much to say.” (enduringword.com) Did he ever continue his message to them? We don’t know.

A few believe

But a few believed. Seems just a handful though. We don’t know how long he spent with them but based on the next passage, it seems he left soon after his speech in the Areopagus. What ever became of them we don’t know. There is no “letter to the Athenians” (or the Bereans for that matter) like we have to the Thessolonians. 


  • Do we preach the whole gospel? It’s tempting to leave out the objectionable parts to make it more appealing. That is dangerous ground. We know the foundation is that a person must repent and believe but there are many details associated with this that should be understood. The result of true faith will be the fruit of righteousness. 
  • Paul was blessed with followers in every place he went. Can we expect that when we share the gospel? It can indeed happen but we can’t expect it. The Holy Spirit was stirring hearts and building the new church. But we should certainly pray for the work of the Spirit to occur and trust the Lord.
Road blocked by boulder. Image from theinspiredlife.blog *

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