Read Along: Chapter Four—Our Athens

Today we begin Chapter Four 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 Four, 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.

[Audio Intro] – Paul Copan introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 4 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) – PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] – Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Four: Our Athens
[pages 36-63]

Chapter 4 stresses the importance of Christians being intellectually engaged in our culture. The authors explain how bridges can be build that pave the way to the gospel using philosophical, scientific, historical, and cultural bridges. Some of the views of our day are explained and analyzed, such as postmodernism, relativism, emotivism, religious pluralism, syncretism, naturalism and scientism.

Notable quotes:

This is why studying Paul’s speech in Athens serves as a model for Christians: we must be aware of the leading, influential ideas that shape culture so that we can insightfully and winsomely engage them with the power, beauty and truth of the gospel. (Kindle 520-521)

What we are urging is that we, like Paul, attempt to uphold biblical truths indirectly—through appealing to philosophical, scientific, historical and cultural insights that reinforce the gospel and a biblical outlook. (Kindle 570-571)

…we must remember that a worldview is more than an intellectual belief system or grid for interpreting our experience. A worldview involves a heart commitment or orientation toward God or away from him. (Kindle 982-983) 


  1. Why is it not always helpful to appeal first to biblical authority directly in conversation?
  2. What other cultural bridges can you think of that would be useful in engaging others?
  3. Of the views described in this chapter, which do you encounter most often?
Next Week: Chapter 5—Paul’s Speeches in Acts
Written by

Brian Auten is the founder emeritus of Apologetics315. He is also director of Reasonable Faith Belfast. Brian holds a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics and has interviewed over 150 Christian apologists. His background is in missions, media direction, graphic design, and administration. Brian started Apologetics315 in 2007 to be an apologetics hub to equip Christians to defend the faith.

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The mission of Apologetics 315 is to provide educational resources for the defense of the Christian faith, with the goal of strengthening the faith of believers and engaging the questions and challenges of other worldviews.

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