Luke's record of Paul in Athens is among the most interesting and widely studied topics in the life of the Apostle Paul. Luke recorded that Paul taught in the Athenian marketplace, where he was asked to present his doctrines before the Areopagus. Many have commented on the controversial aspects of Paul's speech before the council as recounted by Luke. Much of this scholarly commentary has been centered on the speech itself and the historical authenticity of the account. The purpose of this thesis is to reexamine the context and the setting of the speech as recorded by Luke in the biblical text. By reexamining the context of the speech, this thesis will help clarify Paul's purpose in engaging in philosophical dialogue with his audience while omitting the profound Christocentric doctrines as found in the Pauline Epistles. This thesis argues that an understanding of the setting and the audience played a pivotal role in the content of the Areopagus speech. Paul's audience was very different than the one he was writing to in his Epistles; therefore, the speech matches the setting and the audience. This thesis demonstrates the significance of the audience by examining Paul's education before his conversion to Christianity, whether Paul was taken before the Areopagus on trial, what the functions of the Areopagus were over its history, where Paul was taken to explain his doctrine, and what role the audience played in how and what Paul taught on that occasion.



College and Department

Religious Education; Ancient Scripture



Date Submitted


Document Type





Paul, Luke, Acts, audience, Areopagus, Mars Hill, Stoa Basileios, Stoics, Epicureans