Out of the mouths of pagan philosophers

Acts 17: 27-28 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

We’re still at the Aeropagus today, and Paul quotes the Cretan philosopher Epimenides and the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus in this passage. Both of these philosophers are talking about Zeus in the sayings quoted by Paul, but Paul is saying that they are actually talking about God. This is the Melchizedek moment in Acts 17. Essentially, Paul is claiming that these pagan philosophers are able to speak truth about God, even when they think they are talking about another deity altogether.

This happens a lot today for folks who are spiritually minded. People often understand things about the universe and about goodness and grace that are true of God. They just don’t realize that he is the person they’re right about. What does it mean for us that we might understand something that is true, but that we might just not understand the entirety of what we’re saying?