The reference to Mars Hill is straight from the Bible! In Acts Chapter 17
one can read the account of the Apostle Paul in Athens, Greece. Paul
was taken by the Epicurean and Stoic philosopher council to a meeting at
the Areopagus. Areopagus
translates “hill of Ares.” In the Greek culture, Ares
was the god of war and thunder. The Romans borrowed this god from the Greek culture and renamed the god Ares to “Mars
.” Under Roman subjugation, the hill was known as “Mars Hill.”
The Areopagus or rocky hill in Athens, north-west of the
“Acropolis, where the Athenian supreme tribunal and court of” morals was
held. From some part of this hill Paul delivered the address recorded
in Acts 17:22-31. Paul proceeded to share God’s message of salvation to
the Stoics and Epicureans at the Greek Mars Hill. The account of the
Apostle Paul at Mars Hill conveys a similar mission of Mars Hill Speech
and Debate to this day – Proclaim the existence of God to those who do
not know Him.
Mars’ Hill was the place where Paul spoke to the citizens of
Athens, Greece as recorded in Acts 17. The original name is Areopagus,
or Areios Pagos, meaning “Hill of Ares”. Ares was the Greek god of war.
This is where, in Greek mythology, Ares was tried for the murder of
Poseidon’s son, Alirrothios. During Roman
occupation, they changed it’s
name to accommodate their own god of war, Mars. Paul used this place as a
point of emphasis to their “unknown god” belief. The Greeks, as the
Romans, were polytheistic – many gods. Paul spoke to them of the One
true God, the Creator of the universe, and finished his speech with that
One true God’s love for them by giving His Son, Jesus the Christ, the
Mars Hill is the Roman name for a hill in Athens, Greece, called the Hill of Ares or the Areopagus (Acts 17:19, 22).
Ares was the Greek god of war and according to Greek mythology this
hill was the place where Ares stood trial before the other gods for the
murder Poseidon’s son Alirrothios. Rising some 377 feet above the land
below and not far from the Acropolis and Agora (marketplace), Mars Hill
served as the meeting place for the Areopagus Court, the highest court
in Greece for civil, criminal and religious matters. Even under Roman
rule in the time of the New Testament, Mars Hill remained an important
meeting place where philosophy, religion, and law were discussed.
The biblical significance of Mars Hill is that it is the
location of one of Paul’s most important gospel presentations at the
time of his visit to Athens during his second missionary journey (Acts 17:16-34).
It was where he addressed the religious idolatry of the Greeks who even
had an altar to the “Unknown God.” It was this altar and their
religious idolatry that Paul used as a starting point in proclaiming to
them the one true God and how they could be reconciled to Him. Paul’s
sermon is a classic example of a gospel presentation that begins where
the listeners are and then presents the gospel message in a logical and
biblical fashion. In many ways it is a classic example of apologetics in
action. Paul started his message by addressing the false beliefs of
those gathered there that day and then used those beliefs as a way of
presenting the gospel message to them. Paul used apologetics constantly to demonstrate the truth of Christ; the most famous episode occurs in Acts 17 on Mars Hill.