Introduction: The Bible recounts how Peter and Paul worked in the
cities to share the gospel. The amazing thing is that each man used a
different approach to capture the attention of his audience. How
should we approach sharing the gospel in the cities in the end time?
How should we approach sharing the gospel where we live? Does it
require a high level of skill and cunning on our part? Or, is God in
charge of our approach and all we need to do is cooperate? Let’s
plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Paul in the City

    1. Read Acts 17:16-17. We have often seen that the center for
      evangelism in the New Testament is the local synagogue
      (the local church). What new approach do we see here?
      (Paul went to the marketplace. Commentators explain that
      this was not just a place to sell goods, but it was also a
      place to discuss new ideas. )

      1. Is this an advertised event? (Paul simply spoke to
        those “who happened to be there.”)

      2. Notice that Paul goes to a place where people
        assemble to hear new ideas. What is the modern
        equivalent of that?

    2. Read Acts 17:18-19. What results from Paul going to the
      marketplace to discuss the gospel? (He gets invited to the
      Areopagus – which is a famous and high level public court
      having authority to decide, among other things, religious
      questions. Paul does not seem to be accused of a crime,
      rather he is presenting new ideas.)

      1. What does this teach us about evangelism in urban
        areas? (If we take steps to present the gospel, God
        will open the right doors.)

    3. Read Acts 17:20-23. What strategy is Paul using to share
      the gospel? (He starts with what they already know and
      believe. He gets their attention by saying he will reveal
      the mystery of the “Unknown God.”)

    4. Read Acts 17:24-28. How would you describe the next step
      of Paul’s argument? (He turns next to nature. He says that
      God created everything, therefore He does not need us to
      create houses for Him.)

      1. Why does Paul quote their poets as opposed to the

    5. Read Acts 17:29-31. What does Paul say about idols? (He
      calls it “ignorance” that humans can design and build a

      1. Why does Paul say this is an important concept to get
        right? (A day of judgment is coming!)

    6. Read Acts 17:32-34. Did this approach work? (A “few”
      believed. But note that Dionysius, a member of the
      Areopagus, believed. This man must have been one of the
      judges, and thus Paul leaves a convert in a very important

      1. The report is that not a lot of people were converted
        by Paul. What lesson should we draw from this?

    7. Read Acts 18:1-4. We find Paul next preaching in the local
      “church.” Notice that Paul is working during the week and
      preaching on the Sabbath. Is Paul wasting valuable time by
      working, instead of preaching, during the week?

    8. Read Acts 18:5-6. Paul stops his work and turns full-time
      to preaching. What made the difference? (Helpers arrived.)

      1. What lesson can we find in this? (I doubt Paul was
        wasting time when he was making tents. Instead, the
        lesson is that the Holy Spirit will lead us on how we
        should best spend our time when it comes to a mix of
        preaching and working.)

    9. Read Acts 18:6 and re-read Acts 17:33-18:1. What example
      does Paul set for us in evangelism? (He shares the message
      and if people believe, that is great. If they do not
      believe, he moves on and does not pester them.)

    10. Read Acts 18:7-8. Paul moves on, but it turns out to be
      only a few feet! Why move so little? (The problem was with
      the Jews, not the Gentiles. Paul is not moving far as a
      matter of geography, but he is moving with regard to his

      1. What lesson can we find in this? (We need to be alert
        to the groups who are receptive to the gospel.)

    11. Read Acts 18:9-11. Who is directing Paul’s evangelistic
      work? (God!)

  2. Peter in the City

    1. Read Acts 3:1-5. When beggars ask for money from you, do
      you engage in conversation with them? Do you look them
      straight in the eye?

      1. Why does Peter tell the man to “look at us?” (He
        wants to engage his attention.)

    2. Read Acts 3:6-10 and skim Acts 3:11-26. God is clearly
      with Peter and John in this miracle. Peter uses the
      miracle as the springboard for explaining the gospel. In
      many ways this parallels what Paul was doing in the
      Areopagus and in Corinth. Which approach do you favor? (I
      favor the approach where miracles get the attention of the

      1. Which approach seems more effective? (Paul did not do
        very well in terms of numbers at the Areopagus, but
        Acts 18:8 tells us that in Corinth “many of the
        Corinthians who heard him believed and were

      2. Why does Peter get to use miracles to grab the
        attention of the audience, while Paul has to use his
        imagination and the idols in Athens to get attention?
        (Since God is working with both, this shows us that
        God uses different approaches to share the gospel.)

      3. Since I’ve never seen anything like the healing of
        the beggar in any evangelistic effort I’ve attended,
        should we pay closer attention to the details of
        Paul’s efforts? Or, should we pray that God will let
        us work miracles in His name to advance the gospel?

  3. The Focus

    1. Paul discusses the focus of his ministry, so let’s see
      what he recommends. Read 1 Corinthians 1:17. Wait a
      minute! I thought Paul’s presentation at the Areopagus
      was an example of human wisdom. How do you explain this?
      (If you re-read Paul’s presentation ( Acts 17:22-31), you
      will see that he refers to the power of God and Jesus
      being raised from the dead.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-20. Does this explain why Paul
      converted so few people at the Areopagus?

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 1:21-25. Wait a minute, have we just
      stumbled on the reason why Peter used miracles and Paul
      used philosophical argument? Paul writes the “Jews demand
      miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom.” Is this the
      answer? (Paul argues that Jews look for miracles and
      Greeks look for wise argument, but the true power of the
      gospel is Christ crucified.)

      1. Does this suggest that God will use the methods that
        the people desire to focus attention on the heart of
        the gospel – Christ crucified? (That seems to be
        exactly what we have seen in this study.)

      2. If that is right, what do the people want to see in
        our cities? What do the people want to see who live
        in your area? What will focus their attention so
        that they will be open to listening to “Christ

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. How complicated is it to
      figure out how we should approach the world? (This study
      helps us to consider how God uses His people to share the
      gospel, but in the end it is God using us to do His will.
      We do not have to be special in our own abilities, we can
      all share the gospel.)

      1. I recall staying at a hotel because I had been
        invited to visit a city to preach the next day. The
        hotel clerk who checked me out of the hotel kept
        talking with me about the gospel. I’m sure she did
        that with everyone. It made me think that she might
        be doing more evangelism in her humble work than I
        was with my preaching!

    5. Friend, will you determine today to be willing to be used
      by God to bring others the message of “Christ crucified?”

  4. Next week: How Shall We Wait?