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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
Acts 17



Verse 1

passed through. Greek. diodeuo. Only here and Luke 8:1. A medical word.

Amphipolis. About thirty-three miles south-west of Philippi.

Apollonia. Thirty miles further, about midway between Amphipolis and Thessalonica. Thessal. onica. Now Salonica or Saloniki. Rose to importance in the time of Cassander, who rebuilt it and called it after his wife. Has been an important city in the past, and also in recent days during the second Balkan war (1913), and seems destined to play an important part in the immediate future.

synagogue. App-120.

Verse 2

Paul, &c. Literally according to (Greek. kata. App-104.) that which was customary (Greek. etho) with Paul, he. This verb etho Occurs only here, Matthew 27:15. Mark 10:1. Luke 4:16.

three, &c. On (Greek. epi. App-104.) three sabbath days.

reasoned. Greek. dialegomai. Second occurance. First, Mark 9:34. Occurs ten times in Acts.

out of = from. Greek. apo. App-104.

Verse 3

Opening. See note on Acts 16:14.

alleging. Literally setting before them. Greek. paratithemi. See Acts 14:23; Acts 16:34; Acts 20:32. Matthew 13:24. Mark 8:6, Mark 8:7. 1 Corinthians 10:27.

Christ must needs, &c. Literally it was necessary that the Messiah should suffer and rise

risen. Greek. anistemi. App-178.

from the dead. Greek. ek nekron. App-139.

this, &c. = this is the Christ, Jesus, Whom I proclaim.

Jesus. App-98.

preach. Greek. katangello. App-121.

unto = to.

Verse 4

some = certain. Greek. tis. App-123.

of = out of. Greek. ek. App-104.

believed = were persuaded. Greek. peitho. App-150. were convinced, not by persuasive words of Paul"s (1 Corinthians 2:4), but by the opening and expounding of the Scriptures. Hence the Thessalonians became a type of all true believers (see 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). This and verses: Acts 17:11, Acts 17:12 beautifully illustrate Romans 10:17.

consorted with = cast in their lot with. Greek. proskeroomai. Only here.

devout. Greek. sebomai. App-137. Same as "worshipping" or "religious". Compare Acts 13:43, Acts 13:50; Acts 16:14; Acts 18:7.

multitude. Greek. pethos. See note on Acts 2:6.

chief first. Compare Acts 13:50. i.e. women of the best families.

Verse 5

the Jews, &c. = the unbelieving (Greek. apeitheo, as in Acts 14:2) Jews.

moved with envy = filled with jealousy. Greek. zeloo, as in Acts 7:8.

took unto them. Greek. proslambano. See Acts 18:26; Acts 27:33, Acts 27:34, Acts 27:36. Matthew 16:22. Mark 8:32. in Acts 28:2 and onward it is translated "receive".

certain. Same as "some" (Acts 17:4).

lewd = evil. Greek. poneros. App-128. Lewd is from AS. laewed, lay.

fellows = men. Greek. aner. App-123.

of the baser sort. Literally belonging to the market. Greek. agoraios. Only here and Acts 19:38. These were idlers, ready for mischief, as we should say "rowdies".

gathered a company. Greek. ochlopoieo, to make a crowd. Only here.

set . . . on an uproar = were setting, &c. Greek. thorubeomai. Occurs here, Acts 20:10. Matthew 9:23. Mark 5:39. Compare "uproar" (Acts 20:1).

all. Omit.

assaulted . . . and. Having attacked.

sought = were seeking.

them. i.e. Paul and Silas, who were staying with Jason (Acts 17:7).

people. Greek. demos. See note on Acts 12:22. Either the mob or the popular assembly, for Thessalonica was a free city.

Verse 6

when, &c. = not (Greek. me. App-105) having found them.

drew = were dragging. Greek. suro. See note on John 21:8.

brethren. The believers of Acts 17:4.

unto = before. Greek. epi. App-104.

rulers of the city. Greek. politarches, compound oi polites, citizen, and archo, to rule. Only here and Acts 17:8. The noun or the corresponding verb is found in many inscriptions in Macedonia, five of them in Thessalonica. One on an arch spanning a street to-day, where seven politarchs are recorded, and amongst them Sosipater, Secundus, and Gaius, names identical with those of Paul"s friends (Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4).

turned . . . upside down. Greek. anastatoo. Only here, Acts 21:38. Galatians 1:5, Galatians 1:12. Compare anastasis. App-178.

world. Greek. oikoumene. App-129.

Verse 7

received, i.e. as guests. Greek. hupodechomai. Here, Luke 10:38; Luke 19:6. James 2:25. A medical word.

do = practise. Greek. pratto.

contrary to. Greek. apenanti. See Acts 3:16. Matthew 21:2.

decrees. Greek. dogma. See note on Acts 16:4.

another. Greek. heteros. App-124.

king. The same sinister attempt to raise the charge of high treason, as in John 18:36, John 18:37; John 19:12. Paul, in proclaiming the Messiah, must have spoken of His reign.

Verse 8

troubled. Greek. tarasso. See note on John 5:4.

people = crowd. Greek. ochlos.

Verse 9

security. Greek. to hikanon, that which is sufficient, i.e., "substantial bail".

of = from. Greek. para. App-104.

the other = the rest (plural) App-124.

let them go = released them as in Acts 16:35.

Verse 10

immediately. Greek. eutheos.

sent away. Greek. ekpempo. App-174. Only here and Acts 13:4.

by night = through (Greek. dia. App-104. Acts 17:1) the night.

Berea. About thirty miles to the W. Now Verria.

went. Gr apeimi. Only here. They were not deterred by their treatment at Thessalonica.

Verse 11

noble. Greek. eugenes = well born. Occurs here, Luke 19:12. 1 Corinthians 1:26. Hence they were more courteous.

word. Greek. logos. App-121.

with. Greek. meta. App-104.

readiness of mind. Greek. prothumia. Only here, 2 Corinthians 8:11, 2 Corinthians 8:12, 2 Corinthians 8:19; 2 Corinthians 9:2.

searched = examined. Greek. anakrind. App-122. Not the same word as in John 5:39.

daily. See Acts 16:5.

whether = if. App-118.

those = these.

Verse 12

believed. App-150.

honourable. Greek. euschemon. See note on Acts 13:50. Mark 15:43.

men. Greek. aner. App-123.

Verse 13

of = from. Greek. apo. App-104.

had knowledge = got to know. Greek. ginosko. App-132.

God. App-98.

preached. Greek. katangello. App-121.

at = in. Greek. en.

and stirred up = stirring up. Greek. saleuo. Compare Acts 4:3; Acts 16:26. The texts add "and troubling" as in Acts 17:8.

Verse 14

sent away. Greek. exapostello. App-174.

as it were. Greek. hos, but the texts read heos, as far as.

abode. Greek. hupomeno. Gen. translates "endure".

Verse 15

conducted. Greek. kathistemi. Only here in this sense. Generally translated "make", "appoint". Here the brethren made all the arrangements.

unto = as far as. Greek. heos.

receiving = having received.

for to = in order that (Greek. hina) they should.

with all speed = as quickly as possible. Greek. hos tachista. Only here.

departed. Greek. exeimi. See Acts 13:42.

Verse 16

waited. Greek. ekdechomai. Here, John 5:3. 1 Corinthians 11:33; 1 Corinthians 16:11. Hebrews 10:13; Hebrews 11:10. James 5:7. 1 Peter 3:20.

spirit. App-101.

stirred. Greek. paroxunomai. Only here and 1 Corinthians 13:5. A medical word. Compare Acts 15:39.

when he saw = beholding. Greek. theoreo. App-133.

wholly, &c. = full of idols. Greek. kateidolos. Only here.

Verse 17

disputed = was reasoning. Greek. dialegomai, as in Acts 17:2.

with. Greek. pros. App-104.

met with. Greek. . paratunchano. Only here.

Verse 18

philosophers, &c. = of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. Only occurance of philosophos. The Epicureans were followers of Epicurus (342-279 B.C.) who held that pleasure was the highest good, while the Stoics were disciples of Zeno (about 270 B.C.) who taught that the supreme good was virtue, and man should be free from passion and moved by neither joy nor grief, pleasure nor pain. They were Fatalists and Pantheists. The name came from the porch (Greek. stoa) where they met.

encountered. Greek. sumballo. See note on Acts 4:15.

will, &c. = would this babbler wish (Greek. thelo. App-102.) to say.

babbler. Greek. spermologos = seed-picker. Only here. Used of birds, and so applied to men who gathered scraps of information from others.

other some = and some.

a setter forth = a proclaimer. Greek. katangeleus. Compare App-121. Only here. Compare the verb in verses: Acts 17:3, Acts 17:13, Acts 17:23.

strange = foreign. Greek. xenos. An adjective, but generally translated stranger, ("man" understood), as in Acts 17:21.

gods = demons. Greek. daimonion. Occurs sixty times, fifty-two times in the Gospels. Only here in Acts. Translated "devils" in Authorized Version and Revised Version (margin demons) except here.

preached. Greek. euangelizo. App-121.

resurrection. Greek. anastatis. App-178. They were accustomed to personify abstract ideas, as victory, pity, &c, and they may have thought that Jesus and the resurrection were two new divinities. One charge against Socrates was that of introducing new divinities.

Verse 19

took. Greek. epilambanomai. See note on Acts 9:27; Acts 23:19.

Areopagus = the hill of Mars, or the Martian hill. Greek. Areios pagoa. Compare Acts 17:22. Where the great council of the Athenians was held.

May = Can.

know. Greek. ginosko, as in Acts 17:13.

new. Greek. kainos. See note on Matthew 9:17.

whereof, &c. = which is spoken (Greek. laleo. App-121.) by (Greek. hupo. App-104.) thee.

Verse 20

strange. Greek. xenizo, to treat as xenos (Acts 17:18), hence to lodge. See Acts 10:6, Acts 10:18, Acts 10:23, Acts 10:32; 1 Peter 4:4, 1 Peter 4:12.

ears. Greek. akoe, hearing.

would = wish to. Greek. boulomai. App-102.

mean. Literally wish (Greek. thelo. App-102.) to be.

Verse 21

strangers. See verses: Acts 17:17, Acts 17:18, Acts 17:20.

were there = were dwelling or sojourning. Greek. epi-demeo. Only here and Acts 2:10.

spent their time. Greek. eukaireo, to have leisure. Only here, Mark 6:31. 1 Corinthians 16:12.

in = for. Greek. eis. App-104.

nothing else = no other thing. Greek. oudeis heteros (App-124.)

new thing = newer thing, i.e. the latest idea. Greek. kainoteros. Comp. of kainos (Acts 17:19). Only here.

Verse 22

Mars" hill. See Acts 17:19.

Ye men of Athens. Greek. andres Aihenaioi. See note on Acts 1:11.

perceive. Same as "saw", Acts 17:16.

in = according to. Greek. kata. App-104.

too superstitious = more religiously disposed than others. Greek. deisidaimonesteros, comparative of deisidaimon, compound of deido (to fear) and daimon. Only here. The noun occurs in Acts 25:19. The Authorized Version rendering is too rude, and Paul had too much tact to begin by offending his audience. Figure of speech Protherapeia. App-6.

Verse 23

beheld. Greek. anatheoreo. App-133.

devotions = the objects of your worship. Greek. sebasma. Only here and 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Compare sebomai. App-137.

altar. Greek. bomos. Only here. Add "also".

with this, &c. = on (Greek. en) which had been inscribed. Greek. epigrapho. Only here, Mark 15:26. Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16, Revelation 21:12.

UNKNOWN. Greek. agnostos. Only here. For type see App-48. Public or private calamities would suggest that some god whom they could not identify must be propitiated.

Whom. The texts read "what".

ignorantly = being ignorant. Greek. agnoeo.

worship. Greek. eusebeo. App-137.

him = This.

declare. Same as "preach" (Acts 17:3; Acts 17:13). Note Paul"s skilful use of local circumstances.

Verse 24

world. Greek. kosmos. App-129.

therein = in (Greek. en) it.

seeing that He is = This One being essentially (Greek. huparcho. See note on Luke 9:48).

heaven. No art. See note on Matthew 6:9, Matthew 6:10.

earth. Greek. ge. App-129.4.

dwelleth. See note on Acts 2:5.

temples = shrines. Greek. naos. See note on Matthew 23:16.

made with hands. See note on Acts 7:48. This is a direct quotation from Stephen"s speech.

Verse 25

worshipped. Greek. therapeuo. App-137.

with = by. Greek. hupo. App-104.

men"s. Greek. anthropos. App-123.

as though He needed = as needing. Greek. prosdeomai. Only here.

any thing = something. Greek. tis, as verses: Acts 17:4, Acts 17:5.

seeing He giveth = Him-self giving.

life. Greek. zoe. App-170.

breath. Greek. pnoe. See note on Acts 2:2.

Verse 26

one blood. The texts omit "blood". The "one" here means either Adam, or the dust of which he was formed. One (Greek. heis) is sometimes used for a certain one (Greek. tis). See Matthew 8:19; Matthew 16:14. Mark 15:36. Revelation 18:21; Revelation 19:17.

all nations = every nation (Greek. ethnos).

determined. Greek. horizo. See note on Acts 2:23.

before appointed. Greek. protasso. Only here. But the texts read prostasso. Compare Acts 1:7 and see App-195.

bounds. Greek. horothesia. Only here.

habitation. Greek. katoikia. Only here. Compare "dwellers", Acts 2:5.

Verse 27

That they should seek = To seek.

the Lord. The texts read "God".

if. App-118.

haply = at least.

feel after = grope for. Greek. pselaphao. Only here, Luke 24:39. Hebrews 12:18. 1 John 1:1.

be. Greek. huparcho. See note on Luke 9:48. Compare "seeing" &c., Acts 17:24.

every = each. Figure of speech Association. App-6.

Verse 28

in = by. Greek. en. App-104.

have our being = are.

your own poets = the poets with (Greek. kata. App-104.) you. He refers to Aratus, who -was a native of Cilicia (about 270 B. C). Cleanthes (about 300 B.C.) has almost the same words. App-107.

also His offsprings = His offspring also.

offspring. Greek. genos. Translated kind, race, nation. kindred, &c. Offspring only here, Acts 17:29, and Revelation 22:16. Adam was by creation son of God. Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7. See App-99and Luke 3:38. All mankind are descended from Adam, and in that sense are the posterity or offspring of God. That every child born into the world "comes fresh and fair from the hands of its Maker", and is therefore the direct offspring of God, is emphatically contradicted by John 1:13, where the One begotten of God is set in opposition to the rest of mankind who are begotten of the flesh and will of man.

Verse 29

Forasmuch . . . are = Being then. Greek. huparcho, as in verses: Acts 24:27.

think = reckon. Greek. nomizo. See note on Acts 14:19.

the Godhead. Greek. to theion. App-98.

graven = an engraving, or sculpture. Greek. charagma. Only here and eight times in Rev. of the mark of the beast. Compare charakter. Hebrews 1:3.

by = of.

art. Greek. techne. Only here, Acts 18:3. Revelation 18:22.

device = thought. Greek. enthurnesis. Only here, Matthew 9:4; Matthew 12:25. Hebrews 4:12. Compare Acts 10:19.

Verse 30

And, &c. Literally The times indeed therefore of ignorance.

winked at; but = having overlooked. Greek. hupereidon. Only here.

now. Emphatic. See note on Acts 4:29.

commandeth. Greek. parangello. See note on Acts 1:4.

repent. App-111. Compare 2 Corinthians 5:19.

Verse 31

hath. Omit.

will = is about to.

judge. Greek. krino. App-122.1.

righteousness. Greek. dikaiosune App-191.

that = a

ordained. Same as "determined", Acts 17:26.

whereof, &c. = having afforded.

assurance. Greek. pistis. App-150.

in that He hath = having.

Verse 32

And, &c. = But having heard.

of the dead. Greek. nekron. App-139.

mocked = were mocking. Greek. chleuazo. See note on Acts 2:13. To Epicureans and Stoics alike a resurrection of dead persons was a madman"s dream. Only those whose "hearts the Lord opened" (Acts 17:34) could receive it. Compare Acts 16:14.

of = con erning. Greek. peri. App-104.

Verse 33

from among them = out of (Greek. ek App-104.) the midst of them.

Verse 34

Howbeit = But.

clave . . . and = having joined themselves. Greek. kollao. See note on Acts 5:13.

among. Greek. en. App-104.

Dionysius = Dionysius also.

Areopagita. A member of the Athenian assembly.

named = by name.

others. Greek. heteros, as in verses: Acts 7:21.

with. Greek. sun. App-104.


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Acts 17:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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