The Sin of the Intellect

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : Acts 17:16-34

The Athenians weren’t stupid, but they were confused about spiritual things. They had their philosophies, scientific theories and cultural sensibilities, but they were still confused. They were open to religion, but had not found God. They’d been looking in all the wrong places. In short, the Athenians were guilty of pride and arrogance of intellect.

Paul barged into their circle with a witness for Christ. He began with them. They liked that. He contrasted the living Creator with their idols. This made them uncomfortable, but they were polite. He quoted their poets and they perked up. Then he turned the intellectual knife toward their hearts, telling them they needed to repent. Next he put the knife to their heads, proclaiming the historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection. Intellectual pride isn’t easily overcome, but God used the truth Paul spoke to change some hearts. But some scoffed and others delayed making a personal decision.

Some people will always prefer confusion over truth. Even the best and brightest resist the Bible’s witness. But the gospel is intellectually credible. We need not be ashamed to proclaim it in the halls of academia.


Holy Spirit, replace my spiritual emptiness with the truth of your Word. Keep me from intellectual pride.