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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary - Acts 17:22-31

We have here St. Paul's sermon at Athens. Divers sermons we have had, which the apostles preached to the Jews, or such Gentiles as had an acquaintance with and veneration for the Old Testament, and were worshippers of the true and living God; and all they had to do with them was to open and allege that Jesus is the Christ; but here we have a sermon to heathens, that worshipped false gods, and were without the true God in the world, and to them the scope of their discourse was quite different... read more

William Barclay

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible - Acts 17:22-31

17:22-31 Paul stood up in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I see that in all things you are as superstitious as possible. As I came through your city and as I saw the objects of your worship. I found amongst them an altar with the inscription, 'To the Unknown God.' So then, what you worship and do not know, this I preach to you. God, who made the universe and everything in it, this God is Lord of heaven and earth and does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is he... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Acts 17:23

For as I passed by ,.... Or "through"; that is, through the city of Athens: and beheld your devotions ; not so much their acts of worship and religion, as the gods which they worshipped; in which sense this word is used in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and the altars which were erected to them, and the temples in which they were worshipped; and so the Syriac and Arabic versions render it, "the houses", and "places of your worship"; and the Ethiopic version, "your images", or "deities", I... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Acts 17:23

Beheld your devotions - Σεβασματα , The objects of your worship; the different images of their gods which they held in religious veneration, sacrificial instruments, altars, etc., etc. To the Unknown God - ΑΓΝΩΣΤΩ ΘΕΩ . That there was an altar at Athens thus inscribed, we cannot doubt after such a testimony; though St. Jerome questions it in part; for he says St. Paul found the inscription in the plural number, but, because he would not appear to acknowledge a plurality of gods, he... read more

John Calvin

John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible - Acts 17:23

Verse 23− 23.To the unknown God. I can well grant that this altar was dedicated to all strange gods; yet I cannot yield to that which Jerome saith, that Paul did, by a certain holy wiliness, attribute that to one God which was written of many. For seeing the superscription [inscription] was common in every man’s mouth, there was no place for subtilty, [craft;] why did he then change the plural number? Surely, not that he might deceive the men of Athens, but because the matter did so require,... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Acts 17:16-34

The cross of Christ in the metropolis of art and philosophy. There is a singular interest in this first encounter of the gospel with the art and philosophy of Athens, and it is instructive to note the attitude taken by the great preacher in the encounter. Whether St. Paul had artistic taste we have no means of knowing. But probably, as a devout Jew, seeing that sculpture was so largely employed in the images of the gods and the deified emperors, his eye would not have been trained to look... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Acts 17:16-34

Paul at Athens. Paul stands in Athens, amidst the master-pieces of Greek art and the memorials of Greek wisdom. It is not admiration or aesthetic delight which is awakened in him, but moral indignation. Christianity is not opposed to art; but Christianity does not approve the worship of sensuous or ideal beauty apart from moral earnestness. In the true relation, religion absorbs art into itself; when art is substituted for religion, there is moral decay. Nor is Christianity hostile to... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Acts 17:16-34

Paul at Athens. Consider— I. The connection of the whole with THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY . The Greek mind evangelized. The function of Greek thought in the development of doctrine. The contrast between the gospel and philosophy. The step towards the conquest of the world. II. The illustration of THE APOSTOLIC METHOD . Adaptation of the truth to every class of mind. Difference of the preaching when the foundation of the Jewish Scriptures was for the time forsaken.... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Acts 17:22-29

God revealed: his nature and relation. Paul's spirit was "stirred" with holy indignation, and with pure and strong compassion, as he witnessed the abounding signs of superstition in the streets of Athens. But he had the wisdom to begin his address to these "men of Athens" by an expression which they would take to be complimentary. He told them that he perceived they were abundantly religious. He did not conclude this from witnessing their numerous divinities, but from the inscription he... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Acts 17:23

Passed along for passed by, A.V.; observed the objects of your worship for beheld your devotions, A.V. ( τὰ σεβάσματα υμῶν : see 2 Thessalonians 2:4 ); also an altar for an altar, A.V.; an for the, A.V.; what for whom, A.V. and T.R.; worship in ignorance for ignorantly worship, A.V.; this for him, A.V. and T.R.; set forth for declare, A.V. AN UNKNOWN GOD . There is no direct and explicit testimony in ancient writers to the existence of any one such... read more

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