Mars Hill (Areopagus)
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Mars Hill (Areopagus)
Bible Meaning: Martial peak, rock of Ares
Strong's Concordance #G697

Ares was the Greek deity of war. Areopagus and Mars Hill in Athens are synonymous Biblical references.

The Areopagus, which Luke also calls Mars Hill in the KJV (Acts 17:22), was a rocky outcrop near the Acropolis in Athens. The seminal reference work, the Life and Epistles of Paul by Conybeare and Howson, states the following about this location.

Picture of Mars Hill (Areopagus) in Athens

"The place to which they took Paul was the summit of the hill of Areopagus (Mars Hill), where the most awful court of judicature had sat from time immemorial, to pass sentence on the greatest criminals, and to decide the most solemn questions connected with religion.

"The judges sat in the open air, upon seats hewn out in the rock, on a platform which was ascended by a flight of stone steps immediately from the Agora.

"On this spot a long series of awful causes, connected with crime and religion, had been determined, beginning with the legendary trial of Mars, which gave to the place its name of "Mars' Hill"" (Life and Epistles of Paul, chapter 10).

How did Paul get there?

The Apostle Paul, during his second missionary journey, was evangelizing the city of Berea. Jews, however, from Thessalonica came into the city and began to turn the inhabitants against the apostle. Sensing the danger to his life, church members escort Paul out of the city and to Athens (Acts 17:13 - 15).

Paul, once in Athens, had a little time on his hands as he waited for Timothy and Silas to join him. Stirred by the plethora of pagan gods worshipped in the city, the apostle begins to evangelize the inhabitants. Philosophers in the city hear his teachings and take him to the Areopagus (Mars Hill) so that he can further elaborate on his teachings (Acts 17:18 - 21).

Any fruit produced?

Paul's message at the Areopagus (Mars Hill), found in Acts 17:22 - 31, seems to have produced at least some fruit. A man named Dionysius (a prominent citizen and member of the Athenian Supreme Court), a woman named Damaris, and possibly others became Christians (Acts 17:34).

Important verses

Acts 17:18 - 19, 22 - 23
Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? . . .

Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you . . .

Further Bible study:


Meaning of Biblical Names
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G   -    H   -    I   -    J   -    K   -    L
M   -    N   -    O   -    P   -    Q   -    R
S   -    T   -    U   -    V   -    Z

Series Notes
Scripture quotes are taken from
the King James translation.
The meaning and definition of each listing
is derived from a variety of sources.


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