22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 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. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17:22-28
What a brilliant way to approach this subject! Paul took what was unknown to them and filled in the blanks. Verses 24-28 are well worth a second and third read because he encapsulates God so that all can understand. He is setting the stage for the Gospel message.
But it first took a clever and innovative idea, something Paul knew would resonate with his audience.
The Gospel message, of course, does not need cleverness or slick presentations. We need to be wise in how we approach people because everyone is different. Paul used the unknown to teach the known. He was speaking with seemingly sophisticated philosophers so he engaged them at their level.
Knowing your “audience” is important. Realizing that the Holy Spirit will guide you in engaging with people is even more important.