Acts 17:19
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?

New Living Translation
Then they took him to the high council of the city. "Come and tell us about this new teaching," they said.

English Standard Version
And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?

Berean Study Bible
So they took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus, where they asked him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?

Berean Literal Bible
And having taken hold of him they brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "Are we able to know what is this new teaching which is spoken by you.

New American Standard Bible
And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?

King James Bible
And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
They took him and brought him to the Areopagus, and said, "May we learn about this new teaching you're speaking of?

International Standard Version
Then they took him, brought him before the Areopagus, and asked, "May we know what this new teaching of yours is?

NET Bible
So they took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are proclaiming?

New Heart English Bible
They took hold of him, and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by you?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And they took him and brought him to the place of judgment, which is called Arios-Pagos, while they were saying to him, “Can we know what this new teaching is that you proclaim?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then they brought Paul to the city court, the Areopagus, and asked, "Could you tell us these new ideas that you're teaching?

New American Standard 1977
And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?

Jubilee Bible 2000
And they took him and brought him unto the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine is, of which thou speakest?

King James 2000 Bible
And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof you speak, is?

American King James Version
And they took him, and brought him to Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof you speak, is?

American Standard Version
And they took hold of him, and brought him unto the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And taking him, they brought him to the Areopagus, saying: May we know what this new doctrine is, which thou speakest of?

Darby Bible Translation
And having taken hold on him they brought [him] to Areopagus, saying, Might we know what this new doctrine which is spoken by thee [is]?

English Revised Version
And they took hold of him, and brought him unto the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee?

Webster's Bible Translation
And they took him, and brought him to Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine is, of which thou speakest?

Weymouth New Testament
Then they took him and brought him up to the Areopagus, asking him, "May we be told what this new teaching of yours is?

World English Bible
They took hold of him, and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by you?

Young's Literal Translation
having also taken him, unto the Areopagus they brought him, saying, 'Are we able to know what is this new teaching that is spoken by thee,
Study Bible
Paul in Athens
18Some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” while others said, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was proclaiming the good news of Jesus and the resurrection. 19So they took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus, where they asked him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20For you are bringing some strange notions to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.”…
Cross References
Mark 1:27
All the people were amazed and began to ask one another, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him!"

Acts 17:20
For you are bringing some strange notions to our ears, and we want to know what they mean."

Acts 17:22
Then Paul stood up before the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I see that in every way you are very religious.

Acts 17:34
But some people joined him and believed, including Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others who were with them.

Acts 23:19
The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside, and asked, "What do you need to tell me?"
Treasury of Scripture

And they took him, and brought him to Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof you speak, is?

Areopagus. or, Mars'-hill.

Acts 17:22 Then Paul stood in the middle of Mars' hill, and said, You men of …

May.

Acts 17:20 For you bring certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore …

Acts 24:24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which …

Acts 25:22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To …

Acts 26:1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, You are permitted to speak for yourself. …

Matthew 10:18 And you shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, …

new.

Mark 1:27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, …

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I …

1 John 2:7,8 Brothers, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment …

(19) They took him, and brought him unto Areopagus.--The name may stand either for the Hill of Mars, simply as a locality, or for the Court which sat there, and was known as the Court of the Areopagus, and which, as the oldest and most revered tribunal in Athens, owing its origin to Athena, and connected with the story of Orestes and the worship of the propitiated Erinnyes (the Avengers) as the Eumenides (the Gentle Ones), still continued to exercise jurisdiction in all matters connected with the religion of the state, and numbered among its members men of the highest official rank. It had originally consisted only of those who had filled the office of Archon and were over sixty years of age. Its supreme authority had been in some measure limited by Pericles, and it was as the organ of the party who opposed the ideas of freedom and progress of which he was the representative, that schylus wrote the tragedy of the Eumenides, in which the divine authority of the Court was impressed upon men's minds. Here, however, the narrative that follows presents no trace of a formal trial, and hence it has been questioned whether the Apostle was brought before the Court of the Areopagus. Unless, however, there had been some intention of a trial, there seems no reason for their taking him to the Areopagus rather than to the Pnyx or elsewhere; and the mention of a member of the Court as converted by St. Paul's preaching, makes it probable that the Court was actually sitting at the time. The most natural explanation of the apparent difficulty is, that as the charge of bringing in "strange deities" was one which came under the jurisdiction of the Areopagus Court, the crowd who seized on St. Paul hurried him there, not presenting a formal indictment, but calling for a preliminary inquiry, that his speech accordingly, though of the nature of an apologia, was not an answer to a distinct accusation, and that having heard it, the Court looked on the matter as calling for no special action, and passed to the order of the day.

May we know . . .?--The form of the question, courteous in semblance, but with a slight touch of sarcasm, is eminently characteristic in itself, and shows also that there was no formal accusation, though the words that followed suggested the thought that there possibly might be materials for one. What had been said was "strange" enough to require an explanation.

Verse 19. - Took held of for took, A.V.; the Areopagus for Areopagus, A.V.; teaching is for doctrine... is, A.V.; which is spoken by thee for whereof thou speakest, A.V. Took hold of him. The word ἐπιλάβεσθαι means simply to "take hold of" the hand, the hair, a garment, etc. The context alone decides whether this taking held is friendly or hostile (for the former sense, see Matthew 14:31; Mark 8:23; Luke 9:47; Luke 14:4; Acts 9:27; Acts 23:19, etc.; for the latter, Luke 23:26; Acts 16:19; Acts 18:17; Acts 21:30, 33). Here the sense is well expressed by Grotius (quoted by Meyer): "Taking him gently by the hand." The Areopagas. Mars' Hill, close to the Agora ("the market") on the north, was so called from the legend that Mars was tried there before the gods for the murder of a son of Neptune. It is (says Lewin) a bare, rugged rock, approached at the south-eastern corner by steps, of which sixteen still remain perfect. Its area at the top measures sixty paces by twenty-four, within which a quadrangle, sixteen paces square, is excavated and leveled for the court. The judges seem to have sat on benches tier above tier on the rising rock on the north side of the quadrangle. There were also seats on the east and west sides, and on the south on either side of the stairs. The Areopagus (the upper court) was the most august of all the courts at Athens. Socrates was tried and condemned before it for impiety. On the present occasion, there is no appearance of judicial proceedings, but they seem to have adjourned to the Areopagus from the Agora, as to a convenient place for quiet discussion. And they took him,.... Not that they laid hands on him, and carried him away by violence, as a derider of their gods, and an introducer of new ones, in order to punish him; but they invited him to go with them, and they took him along with them in a friendly manner, and had him to a more convenient place for preaching and disputation, and where were many learned men to hear and judge of his doctrine; and this appears from their desire to hear what his doctrine was, and from his quiet departure, after he had ended his discourse:

and brought him unto Areopagus. The Arabic version seems to understand this of a person, rendering it, "and brought him to the most skilful, and the judge of the doctors"; to be heard and examined before him, about the doctrine he preached, who was most capable of judging concerning it; and this might be Dionysius, who is called the Areopagite, and was converted by the apostle, Acts 17:34. The Ethiopic version renders it, "they brought him to the house of their god"; to one of their idols' temple, the temple of Mars, which is not much amiss; for we are told (g), that Areopagus was a street in Athens, in which was the temple of Mars, from whence it had its name; but the Syriac version renders it best of all, "they brought him to the house of judgment, or "court of judicature", which is called Areopagus"; and so it is called "Martium judicium", or Mars's "court of judicature", by Apuleius (h), and "Martis curia", or the "court of Mars", by Juvenal (i), for it was a court where causes were tried, and the most ancient one with the Athenians, being instituted by Cerops, their first king; and is thought to be near as ancient, if not fully as ancient, yea, as more ancient than the sanhedrim, or the court of seventy elders, appointed by Moses among the Jews. It was called Areopagus, because Ares, or Mars, was the first that was judged there (k). The case was this, Alcippe, the daughter of Mars, being ravished by Habirrhothius, the son of Neptune, and caught by Mars in the very fact, was killed by him; upon which Neptune arraigned Mars for the murder, and tried him in this place, by a jury of twelve deities, by whom he was acquitted (l). Hither Paul was brought, not to be tried in a legal manner; for it does not appear that any charge was exhibited against him, or any legal process carried on, only an inquiry was made about his doctrine, and that only to gratify their curiosity:

saying, may we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? for they had never heard of Jesus, nor of salvation by him, nor of the resurrection of the dead; these were all new things to them, and therefore they were the more curious to ask after them, new things being what they were fond of: wherefore they call his doctrine new, not so much by way of reproach, as suggesting it to be a reason why they inquired after it, and why they desired him to give them some account of it; and that it should be a new doctrine with them, or if they reproached it with the charge of novelty, it need not be wondered at in them, when the Jews charged and reproached the doctrine of Christ in like manner, Mark 1:27.

(g) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 5. (h) Milesiarum 10. (i) Satyr. 5. (k) Pausaniae Attica, p. 52. (l) Apellodorus de deorum origine, l. 3, p. 193. 19. they took him, and brought him to Areopagus—"the hill where the most awful court of judicature had sat from time immemorial to pass sentence on the greatest criminals, and to decide on the most solemn questions connected with religion. No place in Athens was so suitable for a discourse on the mysteries of religion" [Howson]. The apostle, however, was not here on his trial, but to expound more fully what he had thrown out in broken conversations in the Agora.17:16-21 Athens was then famed for polite learning, philosophy, and the fine arts; but none are more childish and superstitious, more impious, or more credulous, than some persons, deemed eminent for learning and 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, as 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, which are indeed the principal doctrines of Christianity, Christ and a future state; Christ our way, and heaven our end. They looked on this as very different from the knowledge for many ages taught and professed at Athens; they desire to know more of it, but only because it was new and strange. They led him to the place where judges sat who inquired into such matters. They asked about Paul's doctrine, not because it was good, but because it was new. Great talkers are always busy-bodies. They spend their time in nothing else, and a very uncomfortable account 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 upon it, but much is wasted in unprofitable conversation.
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