False Gods

Scripture: Acts 17:16-34

Learning Objectives: 

  • Students will learn Paul used things people already understood to begin introducing them to Jesus.
  • Students will learn Paul did not put down people who did not know about God and Jesus, but used the fact that they wanted to do what was right to help explain to them about the real God and His Son Jesus.
  • Students will learn God wants us to respect those who have not heard about Him, but that He still wants us to teach them the truth so they can do what God wants them to do.
  • Students will learn about false gods and 

Guiding Question: How can students learn about the idols in Athens and the problems with false gods?

Materials: Photos of the Agora, Bibles

Procedure: Teach the story of Paul in Athens from the scripture above. Explain how there are many people that Paul served who did not know about God. Tell the students that there are even many people in the community or people they might know who do not know much about God. Talk with the students about how Paul was in Athens Greece waiting for Silas and Timothy to arrive. He was upset by all of the idols he saw everywhere he went even in the Agora which was the main marketplace in Athens. In the Agora there were stoa or porticos and temples dedicated to various Greek false gods like Hephaestus, Apollo Patroos, Zeus, Aphrodite Urania, Hermès, as well as an altar of the “12 gods”. The Agora also included a mint that made coins, a concert hall, a library, and merchants. Show the students sketches of what the Agora would have looked like then and photos of what it looks like today.

Give students a brief overview of the Greek gods reminding them these were false gods invented by the Greeks and had nothing to do with God who created the earth. If students have studied mythology in school, you may want to have them share what they learned about these false gods. Look briefly at Paul’s sermon again to see how he tried to explain the difference to the people and how they responded because he took the time to explain in ways they could understand instead of deciding it was a waste of time to teach them because they had other beliefs. End by asking students to explain the differences between false gods and the one true God. You may want to create a class chart recording the differences, which students may choose to copy and take home to discuss with their families.

Additional Questions: How can students learn more about Greek culture at the time of Paul in Athens?

Supplemental Activity: Help students experience Greek culture at the time of Paul including art, architecture, music, foods, etc.

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