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Daily Devotional Acts 17:16–34

Did you have a favorite childhood story—one you read again and again? Maybe you imagined you were that princess who rose from rags to riches. Or you soared with a superhero who donned a cape to save the world. Stories shape us in subtle and significant ways. From them we learn values, priorities, and goals. They can shape our view of God.

For in him we live and move and have our being.

ACTS 17:28

What happens, though, when the Bible contradicts these stories? Which one wins the war for our mind? Loving God with all our mind means examining our worldview and aligning it not with our culture, but with the God of the Bible. In today’s passage, Paul was “greatly distressed” when he saw how the wrong stories were winning the allegiance of the Athenians. They were intellectual people, but they were misguided. Paul’s emotion and compassion compelled him to action.

Instead of preaching to the people of Athens, Paul went to their synagogue and marketplace and reasoned with them. He likely asked them questions, using the popular Socratic method. Paul understood the people and met them where they were. They believed in many gods and worshiped each god for the specific role it played. Paul acknowledged their study and quoted their poets. Then, rather than attack their world- view, he invited them into a new narrative: of a God who “made the world and everything in it” (v. 24).

Paul told the story of God’s development of the nations (v. 26) and His desire to be known by them (v. 27). This God is a personal Father (v. 29) who “commands all people everywhere to repent” (v. 30) and will one day judge the world’s response to Jesus whom He raised from the dead (v. 31). Paul’s story contradicted everything they had learned. How would they respond?

Go Deeper

What stories have influenced your worldview? How does the truth of Scripture reshape our values, priorities, and goals?

Pray with Us:

Is my mind aligned with the truth of Your Word? Give us discernment to navigate all the worldviews and teachings of society and never lose sight of Scripture’s wisdom and sound mind.

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