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  • PARALLEL BIBLE - Acts 17:18


    CHAPTERS: Acts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28     

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    King James Bible - Acts 17:18

    Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

    World English Bible

    Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also were conversing with him. Some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be advocating
    foreign deities," because he preached Jesus and the resurrection.

    Douay-Rheims - Acts 17:18

    And certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics disputed with him; and some said: What is it, that this word sower would say? But others: He seemeth to be a setter forth of new gods; because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.

    Webster's Bible Translation

    Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? some others, He seemeth to be a setter-forth of strange gods: because he preached to them Jesus, and the resurrection.

    Greek Textus Receptus


    τινες
    5100 X-NPM δε 1161 CONJ των 3588 T-GPM επικουρειων 1946 N-GPM και 2532 CONJ των 3588 T-GPM στωικων 4770 A-GPM φιλοσοφων 5386 N-GPM συνεβαλλον 4820 5707 V-IAI-3P αυτω 846 P-DSM και 2532 CONJ τινες 5100 X-NPM ελεγον 3004 5707 V-IAI-3P τι 5101 I-ASN αν 302 PRT θελοι 2309 5722 V-PAO-3S ο 3588 T-NSM σπερμολογος 4691 A-NSM ουτος 3778 D-NSM λεγειν 3004 5721 V-PAN οι 3588 T-NPM δε 1161 CONJ ξενων 3581 A-GPN δαιμονιων 1140 N-GPN δοκει 1380 5719 V-PAI-3S καταγγελευς 2604 N-NSM ειναι 1511 5750 V-PXN οτι 3754 CONJ τον 3588 T-ASM ιησουν 2424 N-ASM και 2532 CONJ την 3588 T-ASF αναστασιν 386 N-ASF αυτοις 846 P-DPM ευηγγελιζετο 2097 5710 V-IMI-3S

    Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge

    VERSE (18) -
    Ro 1:22 1Co 1:20,21 Col 2:8

    SEV Biblia, Chapter 17:18

    Y algunos filsofos de los epicreos y de los estoicos, disputaban con l; y unos decían: ¿Qu quiere decir este palabrero? Y otros: Parece que es predicador de nuevos dioses; porque les predicaba a Jess y la resurreccin.

    Clarke's Bible Commentary - Acts 17:18

    Verse 18. Certain
    philosophers of the Epicureans] These were the followers of Epicurus, who acknowledged no gods except in name, and absolutely denied that they exercised any government over the world or its inhabitants; and that the chief good consisted in the gratification of the appetites of sense. These points the Epicureans certainly held; but it is not clear that Epicurus himself maintained such doctrines.

    And of the Stoics] These did not deny the existence of the gods; but they held that all human affairs were governed by fate. They did not believe that any good was received from the hands of their gods; and considered, as Seneca asserts, that any good and wise man was equal to Jupiter himself.

    Both these sects agreed in denying the resurrection of the body; and the former did not believe in the immortality of the soul.

    EPICURUS, the founder of the Epicurean sect, was born at Athens, about A.M. 3663, before Christ 341.

    ZENO, the founder of the Stoic sect, was born in the isle of Cyprus, about thirty years before Christ. His disciples were called Stoics from the stoa, a famous portico at Athens, where they studied. Besides these two sects, there were two others which were famous at this time; viz. the Academics and the Peripatetics. The founder of the first was the celebrated PLATO; and the founder of the second, the no less famous ARISTOTLE. These sects professed a much purer doctrine than the Epicureans and Stoics; and it does not appear that they opposed the apostles, nor did they enter into public disputations with them. Against the doctrines taught by the Epicureans and Stoics, several parts of St. Paul's discourse, in the following verses, are directly pointed.

    What will this babbler say?] The word spermologov, which we translate babbler, signifies, literally, a collector of seeds, and is the "name of a small bird the lives by picking up seeds on the road." The epithet became applied to persons who collected the sayings of others, without order or method, and detailed them among their companions in the same way. The application of the term to prating, empty, impertinent persons, was natural and easy, and hence it was considered a term of reproach and contempt, and was sometimes used to signify the vilest sort of men.

    A setter forth of strange gods] xenwn daimoniwn, Of strange or foreign demons. That this was strictly forbidden, both at Rome and Athens, see on chap. xvi. 21.

    There was a difference, in the heathen theology, between qeov, god, and daimwn, demon: the qeoi, were such as were gods by nature: the daimonia, were men who were deified. This distinction seems to be in the mind of these philosophers when they said that the apostles seemed to be setters forth of strange demons, because they preached unto them Jesus, whom they showed to be a man, suffering and dying, but afterwards raised to the throne of God. This would appear to them tantamount with the deification of heroes, &c., who had been thus honoured for their especial services to mankind. Horace expresses this in two lines, 2 Epist. i. 5: - Romulus, et Liber pater, et cum Castore Pollux, Post ingentia facta, deorum in templa recepti.

    "Romulus, father Bacchus, with Castor and Pollux, for their eminent services, have been received into the temples of the gods."


    John Gill's Bible Commentary

    Ver. 18. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans , etc.] These were so called from Epicurus, the son of Neocles, who was born 342 years before Christ, and taught philosophy at Athens, in his garden; the principal tenets of which were, that the world was not made by any deity, or with any design, but came into its being and form, through a fortuitous concourse of atoms, of various sizes and magnitude, which met, and jumbled, and cemented together, and so formed the world; and that the world is not governed by the providence of God; for though he did not deny the being of God, yet he thought it below his notice, and beneath his majesty to concern himself with its affairs; and also, that the chief happiness of men lies in pleasure. His followers were called Epicureans; of which there have been two sorts; the one were called the strict or rigid Epicureans, who placed all happiness in the pleasure of the mind, arising from the practice of moral virtue, and which is thought by some to be the true principle of Epicureans; the other were called the loose, or the remiss Epicureans, who understood their master in the gross sense, and placed all their happiness in the pleasure of the body, in brutal and sensual pleasure, in living a voluptuous life, in eating and drinking, etc. and this is the common notion imbibed of an Epicurean. And of the Stoics : the author of this sect was Zeno, whose followers were so called from the Greek word Stoa, which signifies a portico, or piazza, under which Zeno used to walk, and teach his philosophy, and where great numbers of disciples attended him, who from hence were called Stoics: their chief tenets were, that there is but one God, and that the world was made by him, and is governed by fate; that happiness lies in virtue, and virtue has its own reward in itself; that all virtues are linked together, and all vices are equal; that a wise and good man is destitute of all passion, and uneasiness of mind, is always the same, and always joyful, and ever happy in the greatest torture, pain being no real evil; that the soul lives after the body, and that the world will be destroyed by fire. Now the philosophers of these two sects encountered him ; the Apostle Paul; they attacked him, and disputed with him upon some points, which were contrary to their philosophy: and some said, what will this babbler say ? this talking, prating fellow? though the word here used does not signify, as some have thought, a sower of words; as if they meant, that the apostle was a dealer is many words, a verbose man, and full of words, but not matter; but it properly signifies a gatherer of seeds; and the allusion is either to a set of idle people, that used to go to markets and fairs, and pick up seeds of corn, that were shook out of sacks, upon which they lived; and so the word came to be used for an idle good for nothing fellow, and for one that picked up tales and fables, and carried them about for a livelihood. So Demosthenes, in a way of reproach, called Aeschincs by this name; and such an one was the apostle reckoned: or the metaphor is taken from little birds, as the sparrow, etc. that pick up seeds, and live upon them, and are of no value and use.

    Harpocratian says f869 , there is a certain little bird, of the jay or jackdaw kind, which is called Spermologos (the word here used), from its picking up of seeds, of which Aristophanes makes mention; and that from this a base and contemptible man, and one that lives by others, is called by this name: from whence we may learn in what a contemptuous manner the apostle was used in this polite city, by these men of learning. Other some, he seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods ; other than those worshipped in the city of Athens: this was the charge which Melitus brought against Socrates; Socrates (says he f870 ) has acted an unrighteous part; the gods, whom the city reckons such, he does not, introducing other and new gods.

    Aelianus represents him as censured by Aristophanes, as one that introduced xenav daimonav , strange gods, though he neither knew them, nor honoured them. The reason why they thought the apostle was for bringing in other gods, than which nothing was more foreign from him, was, because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection : the Syriac version reads, and his resurrection; that is, the resurrection of Christ; the Arabic version renders it, the resurrection from the dead; the general resurrection; both doubtless were preached by him, (see Acts 17:32) Jesus they took for one strange and new God, they had never heard of before, and Anastasis, or the resurrection, for another; which need not be wondered at, when they had altars erected for Mercy, Fame, Shame, and Desire, (see Gill on Acts 17:16).


    Matthew Henry Commentary

    Verses 16-21 - Athens was then famed for polite learning, philosophy, and the fin arts; but none are more childish and superstitious, more impious, or more credulous, than some persons, deemed eminent for learning an ability. It was wholly given to idolatry. The zealous advocate for the cause of Christ will be ready to plead for it in all companies, a occasion offers. Most of these learned men took no notice of Paul; but some, whose principles were the most directly contrary to Christianity made remarks upon him. The apostle ever dwelt upon two points, whic are indeed the principal doctrines of Christianity, Christ and a futur state; Christ our way, and heaven our end. They looked on this as very different from the knowledge for many ages taught and professed a Athens; they desire to know more of it, but only because it was new an strange. They led him to the place where judges sat who inquired int such matters. They asked about Paul's doctrine, not because it wa good, but because it was new. Great talkers are always busy-bodies They spend their time in nothing else, and a very uncomfortable accoun they have to give of their time who thus spend it. Time is precious and we are concerned to employ it well, because eternity depends upo it, but much is wasted in unprofitable conversation.


    Greek Textus Receptus


    τινες
    5100 X-NPM δε 1161 CONJ των 3588 T-GPM επικουρειων 1946 N-GPM και 2532 CONJ των 3588 T-GPM στωικων 4770 A-GPM φιλοσοφων 5386 N-GPM συνεβαλλον 4820 5707 V-IAI-3P αυτω 846 P-DSM και 2532 CONJ τινες 5100 X-NPM ελεγον 3004 5707 V-IAI-3P τι 5101 I-ASN αν 302 PRT θελοι 2309 5722 V-PAO-3S ο 3588 T-NSM σπερμολογος 4691 A-NSM ουτος 3778 D-NSM λεγειν 3004 5721 V-PAN οι 3588 T-NPM δε 1161 CONJ ξενων 3581 A-GPN δαιμονιων 1140 N-GPN δοκει 1380 5719 V-PAI-3S καταγγελευς 2604 N-NSM ειναι 1511 5750 V-PXN οτι 3754 CONJ τον 3588 T-ASM ιησουν 2424 N-ASM και 2532 CONJ την 3588 T-ASF αναστασιν 386 N-ASF αυτοις 846 P-DPM ευηγγελιζετο 2097 5710 V-IMI-3S

    Vincent's NT Word Studies

    18. Epicureans.
    Disciples of Epicurus, and atheists. They acknowledged God in words, but denied his providence and superintendence over the world. According to them, the soul was material and annihilated at death. Pleasure was their chief good; and whatever higher sense their founder might have attached to this doctrine, his followers, in the apostle's day, were given to gross sensualism.

    Stoics. Pantheists. God was the soul of the world, or the world was God. Everything was governed by fate, to which God himself was subject. They denied the universal and perpetual immortality of the soul; some supposing that it was swallowed up in deity; others, that it survived only till the final conflagration; others, that immortality was restricted to the wise and good. Virtue was its own reward, and vice its own punishment. Pleasure was no good, and pain no evil. The name Stoic was derived from stoa, a porch. Zeno, the founder of the Stoic sect, held his school in the Stoa Paecile, or painted portico, so called because adorned with pictures by the best masters.

    Babbler (spermologov). Lit., seed-picker: a bird which picks up seeds in the streets and markets; hence one who picks up and retails scraps of news. Trench ("Authorized Version of the New Testament") cites a parallel from Shakespeare:

    "This fellow picks up wit as pigeons peas, And utters it again when Jove doth please.

    He is wit's peddler, and retails his wares At wakes, and wassails, meetings, markets, fairs" Love's Labor's Lost, v., 2 Setter-forth (kataggeleuv). See on declare, verse 23. Compare 1 Peter iv. 4,12.

    Strange. Foreign.


    Robertson's NT Word Studies

    17:18 {And certain also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him} (tines de kai twn epikouriwn kai stwikwn filosofwn suneballon autwi). Imperfect active of sunballw, old verb, in the N.T. only by Luke, to bring or put together in one's mind (#Lu 2:19), to meet together (#Ac 20:14), to bring together aid (#18:27), to confer or converse or dispute as here and already #4:15 which see. These professional philosophers were always ready for an argument and so they frequented the agora for that purpose. Luke uses one article and so groups the two sects together in their attitude toward Paul, but they were very different in fact. Both sects were eager for argument and both had disdain for Paul, but they were the two rival practical philosophies of the day, succeeding the more abstruse theories of Plato and Aristotle. Socrates had turned men's thought inward (Gnwqi seauton, Know Thyself) away from the mere study of physics. Plato followed with a profound development of the inner self (metaphysics). Aristotle with his cyclopaedic grasp sought to unify and relate both physics and metaphysics. Both Zeno and Epicurus (340-272 B.C.) took a more practical turn in all this intellectual turmoil and raised the issues of everyday life. Zeno (360-260 B.C.) taught in the stoa (Porch) and so his teaching was called Stoicism. He advanced many noble ideas that found their chief illustration in the Roman philosophers (Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius). He taught self-mastery and hardness with an austerity that ministered to pride or suicide in case of failure, a distinctly selfish and unloving view of life and with a pantheistic philosophy. Epicurus considered practical atheism the true view of the universe and denied a future life and claimed pleasure as the chief thing to be gotten out of life. He did not deny the existence of gods, but regarded them as unconcerned with the life of men. The Stoics called Epicurus an atheist. Lucretius and Horace give the Epicurean view of life in their great poems. this low view of life led to sensualism and does today, for both Stoicism and Epicureanism are widely influential with people now. "Eat and drink for tomorrow we die," they preached. Paul had doubtless become acquainted with both of these philosophies for they were widely prevalent over the world. Here he confronts them in their very home. He is challenged by past-masters in the art of appealing to the senses, men as skilled in their dialectic as the Pharisaic rabbis with whom Paul had been trained and whose subtleties he had learned how to expose. But, so far as we know, this is a new experience for Paul to have a public dispute with these philosophical experts who had a natural contempt for all Jews and for rabbis in particular, though they found Paul a new type at any rate and so with some interest in him. "In Epicureanism, it was man's sensual nature which arrayed itself against the claims of the gospel; in Stoicism it was his self-righteousness and pride of intellect" (Hackett). Knowling calls the Stoic the Pharisee of philosophy and the Epicurean the Sadducee of philosophy. Socrates in this very agora used to try to interest the passers-by in some desire for better things. That was 450 years before Paul is challenged by these superficial sophistical Epicureans and Stoics. It is doubtful if Paul had ever met a more difficult situation. {What would this babbler say?} (ti an qeloi ho spermologos houtos legein?). The word for "babbler" means "seed-picker" or picker up of seeds (sperma, seed, legw, to collect) like a bird in the agora hopping about after chance seeds. Plutarch applies the word to crows that pick up grain in the fields. Demosthenes called Aeschines a spermologos. Eustathius uses it of a man hanging around in the markets picking up scraps of food that fell from the carts and so also of mere rhetoricians and plagiarists who picked up scraps of wisdom from others. Ramsay considers it here a piece of Athenian slang used to describe the picture of Paul seen by these philosophers who use it, for not all of them had it ("some," tines). Note the use of an and the present active optative qeloi, conclusion of a fourth-class condition in a rhetorical question (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1021). It means, What would this picker up of seeds wish to say, if he should get off an idea? It is a contemptuous tone of supreme ridicule and doubtless Paul heard this comment. Probably the Epicureans made this sneer that Paul was a charlatan or quack. {Other some} (hoi de). But others, in contrast with the "some" just before. Perhaps the Stoics take this more serious view of Paul. {He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods} (zenwn daimoniwn dokei kataggeleus einai). this view is put cautiously by dokei (seems). kataggeleus does not occur in the old Greek, though in ecclesiastical writers, but Deissmann (_Light from the Ancient East_, p. 99) gives an example of the word "on a marble stele recording a decree of the Mitylenaens in honor of the Emperor Augustus," where it is the herald of the games. Here alone in the N.T. daimonion is used in the old Greek sense of deity or divinity whether good or bad, not in the N.T. sense of demons. Both this word and kataggeleus are used from the Athenian standpoint. xenos is an old word for a guest-friend (Latin _hospes_) and qen host (#Ro 16:23), qen for foreigner or stranger (#Mt 25:31; Ac 17:21), new and so strange as here and #Heb 13:9; 1Pe 4:12, and qen aliens (#Eph 2:12). this view of Paul is the first count against Socrates: Socrates does wrong, introducing new deities (adikei Swkrates, kaina daimonia eisferwn, Xen. _Mem_. I). On this charge the Athenians voted the hemlock for their greatest citizen. What will they do to Paul? this Athens was more sceptical and more tolerant than the old Athens. But Roman law did not allow the introduction of a new religion (_religio illicita_). Paul was walking on thin ice though he was the real master philosopher and these Epicureans and Stoics were quacks. Paul had the only true philosophy of the universe and life with Jesus Christ as the center (#Col 1:12-20), the greatest of all philosophers as Ramsay justly terms him. But these men are mocking him. {Because he preached Jesus and the resurrection} (hoti ton iesoun kai ten anastasin eueggelizato). Reason for the view just stated. Imperfect middle indicative of euaggelizw, to "gospelize." Apparently these critics considered anastasis (Resurrection) another deity on a par with Jesus. The Athenians worshipped all sorts of abstract truths and virtues and they misunderstood Paul on this subject. They will leave him as soon as he mentions the resurrection (verse #32). It is objected that Luke would not use the word in this sense here for his readers would not under stand him. But Luke is describing the misapprehension of this group of philosophers and this interpretation fits in precisely.


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    VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34

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