Acts 17:33

ESV So Paul went out from their midst.
NIV At that, Paul left the Council.
NASB So Paul went out from among them.
CSB So Paul left their presence.
NLT That ended Paul’s discussion with them,
KJV So Paul departed from among them.

What does Acts 17:33 mean?

Throughout his ministry, Paul has frequently been forced to leave a city where he isn't welcome (Acts 9:23–25; 13:50; 14:5–7, 19; 16:39–40; 17:10, 14), often under hard circumstances. In this case Paul is fortunate to be able to leave on his own.

He was in the Agora, the marketplace in Athens, when Epicurean and Stoic philosophers found him. They called him a "babbler"—someone who picks up parts of different philosophies like a bird picks up different seeds (Acts 17:18). He seemed to them to be talking about two foreign gods: healer and resurrection.

The philosophers aggressively invited him to tell them more at the Areopagus (Acts 17:19). The Areopagus was the court where serious crimes were tried. In fact, 400 years before, Socrates had been tried and convicted of teaching young people to worship a foreign god. The prohibition against teaching foreign gods had been an ancient law in Greece and was now the law in Rome.

Fortunately, perhaps, Paul ends his argument with the statement that the Creator God has resurrected the representative who will judge the dead. The philosophers realize Paul is talking about a literal resurrection of the dead. Since neither school believe in the resurrection of the dead or a final judgment, their determination that Paul is a babbler is confirmed, and they let him go.

A few ask Paul to tell them more, and some believe, but Athens is not mentioned as a significant church in the New Testament. Today, however, there is a bronze plaque in the Areopagus with the text of Acts 17:22–32.
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