Paul – the Preacher of Foreign Demons

Did You Know?

When Paul was in Athens, he saw that the city was “wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16).  This city had idols and shrines to every imaginable god.  There were shrines to Zeus, to Hermes, to Apollo, to Dionysius, and on and on and on.  But in the synagogue, Paul was arguing with the Jews for Jesus Christ—the true Son of Deity.

However, some of the pagans in the city heard what Paul was preaching, and they desired to hear more about it, because it was something new to their ears (and they longed to hear new things).  But what is interesting is what they attributed to Paul.  Most translations render the phrase from Acts 17:18 this way: “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign [or strange] gods.”

But did you know that the word translated “gods” in that verse is actually the word “demons”?  In fact, this verse is the only instance in the entire Bible where that word is NOT translated “demon” or “demons” (or “devils,” in KJV).  They apparently believed that since they didn’t already worship Him (they thought they had every god already covered by all the shrines and temples), he couldn’t be a real god—so they called Jesus a “foreign demon.”

-Bradley S. Cobb

2 thoughts on “Paul – the Preacher of Foreign Demons”

  1. Something else: Since Paul uses the feminine, anastasin, it may be that they said “gods” or “demons” because they assumed he was proclaiming Jesus and some female goddess named “Anastasin.”

    Also, daimoniōn, from a Greek perspective referred to deities or gods.

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