Today we begin Chapter Six of the Read Along with Apologetics 315 project. This is a chapter-by-chapter study through the book The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas: Paul’s Mars Hill Experience for Our Pluralistic World by Paul Copan and Kenneth D. Litwak. (Hear the introductory interview about the book here.) Below you will find an audio intro for Chapter Six, a brief summary of the chapter, a PDF workbook with questions for the chapter, and some notable quotes. You’re also encouraged to share your comments and feedback for each chapter in the comment section below. Feel free to interact on the Christian Apologetics Alliance Facebook page here.
Chapter Six: Paul’s Audience
Chapter 6 starts by encouraging the reader to learn from the example of Paul by being sensitive to their audience and tailoring the Gospel message accordingly. Next, the authors delve into the audience of Paul, exploring their various backgrounds, beliefs, and philosophies. They go on to show how Paul geared his message to be appropriate to his various audiences without compromising the Gospel message, effectively building bridges.
Why didn’t the apostles give the identical message every time they spoke? They addressed different audiences in different situations , and so they shaped and crafted each sermon accordingly. (Kindle 1259)
Paul compliments the Athenians for being very devout, which aided Paul in making the audience more receptive, a well-known practice in Greek rhetoric. (Kindle 1370)
Learning about our audience, whether a group at a public debate or a student sitting alone on a bench on the edge of campus, and shaping our approach to speak to this group or this person in an appropriate way, with appropriate topics, is vital. Paul did this well, and before him, Jesus demonstrated it when speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus addressed her real issue (Jn 4: 15-19). (Kindle 1416)
- How do you think Paul’s audience would have responded to some well known evangelistic approaches used today?
- What sort of obstacles do you face when speaking to others about Christ?
- To what degree do you encounter intellectual challenges by unbelievers compared to non-intellectual challenges?