I have taught Latin and Greek in Secondary schools for thirty-four years, and I find this passage in Acts particularly interesting. Paul has travelled throughout the countries bordering the Mediterranean and come to the cradle of these ancient Roman and Greek cultures. He has great respect for their learning, but also challenges them about something they have missed.
Central to their outlook and thinking would have been the philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle from the fifth century BC, (which still resonate today). In ancient times, the Greeks loved to wander around the Stoa Poikile, a building in the market place, discussing and disputing their philosophical ideas.
The philosopher Plato was an idealist. He would often ask questions such as, “What is virtue?” and “What is courage?” In his eyes, all these were a small part of an all-encompassing form which he called ‘The Good’. The way he saw ‘The Good’ was almost as a god. However, it was not a person, so it was not easy to understand.
No doubt this topic was discussed endlessly. I suspect that this is what Paul means in the verses above. It is as if he is saying “You have this major form called ‘The Good’. Allow me to put some flesh on the bones of it”
Why is this relevant to us today? I wonder if we, having been Christians for either a long or short time, know our God as well as we can. To some extent, Paul’s challenge is to us also. Do we make any assumptions about our God? Are their any misconceptions in our view of Him?
The journey of our life is to know God more and more. This journey will end one day when we will meet with Jesus face-to-face and spend eternity with Him. Until then we should not assume we know Him completely. Have we missed something?
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