Acts 17:27
Parallel Verses
New International Version
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

New Living Translation
"His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him--though he is not far from any one of us.

English Standard Version
that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,

New American Standard Bible
that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

King James Bible
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.

International Standard Version
so that they might look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. Of course, he is never far from any one of us.

NET Bible
so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“So that they would be seeking and inquiring after God; and they may find him by his creation, because also he is not far from everyone of us.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
He has done this so that they would look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. In fact, he is never far from any one of us.

Jubilee Bible 2000
that they should seek the Lord, if in any manner they might reach out to touch him and find him though he is not far from each one of us;

King James 2000 Bible
That they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

American King James Version
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

American Standard Version
that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us:

Douay-Rheims Bible
That they should seek God, if happily they may feel after him or find him, although he be not far from every one of us:

Darby Bible Translation
that they may seek God; if indeed they might feel after him and find him, although he is not far from each one of us:

English Revised Version
that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from each one of us:

Webster's Bible Translation
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from every one of us:

Weymouth New Testament
that they might seek God, if perhaps they could grope for Him and find Him. Yes, though He is not far from any one of us.

World English Bible
that they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Young's Literal Translation
to seek the Lord, if perhaps they did feel after Him and find, -- though, indeed, He is not far from each one of us,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

17:22-31 Here we have a sermon to heathens, who worshipped false gods, and were without the true God in the world; and to them the scope of the discourse was different from what the apostle preached to the Jews. In the latter case, his business was to lead his hearers by prophecies and miracles to the knowledge of the Redeemer, and faith in him; in the former, it was to lead them, by the common works of providence, to know the Creator, and worship Him. The apostle spoke of an altar he had seen, with the inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. This fact is stated by many writers. After multiplying their idols to the utmost, some at Athens thought there was another god of whom they had no knowledge. And are there not many now called Christians, who are zealous in their devotions, yet the great object of their worship is to them an unknown God? Observe what glorious things Paul here says of that God whom he served, and would have them to serve. The Lord had long borne with idolatry, but the times of this ignorance were now ending, and by his servants he now commanded all men every where to repent of their idolatry. Each sect of the learned men would feel themselves powerfully affected by the apostle's discourse, which tended to show the emptiness or falsity of their doctrines.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 27. - God for the Lord, A.V. and T.R. (Meyer does not accept this reading); is for be, A.V.; each for every, A.V. If haply they might feel after him. Ψηλαφάω is "to touch, feel, or handle," as Luke 24:39; Hebrews 12:18; 1 John 1:1. But it is especially used of the action of the blind groping or feeling their way by their hands in default of sight. So Homer describes Polyphemus as χερσὶ ψηλαφόων, feeling his way to the mouth of the cave with his hands after he was blinded by Ulysses ('Odyssey,' 9:416). And in the LXX. of Deuteronomy 28:29 we read, Ἔση ψηλαφῶν μεσημβρίας ὠς εἴ τις ψηλαφήσαι τυφλὸς ἐν τῷ σκότει, "Thou shall grope at noonday as the blind gropeth in darkness." The teaching, therefore, of the passage is that, though God was very near to every man, and had not left himself without abundant witness in his manifold gifts, yet, through the blindness of the heathen, they had to feel their way uncertainly toward God. In this fact lies the need of a revelation, as it follows ver. 30, etc. And hence part at least of the significance of such passages as, "Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord" (Ephesians 5:8); "Who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9 ); "God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6), and many more like passages.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

That they should seek the Lord,.... Or "God", as the Alexandrian copy and others, and the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions read; their Creator, and kind Benefactor, and who has appointed their time of life, and their habitations for them; and this should engage them to seek to know him, who has done all this for them, and to fear and serve him, and to glorify his name:

if haply they might feel after him, and find him; which shows, that though it is possible for men, by a contemplation of the perfections of God, visible in the works of creation and providence, so to find God, as to know that there is one, and that there is but one God, who has made all things; and so as to be convinced of the vanity and falsehood of all other gods, and to see the folly, wickedness, and weakness of idolatrous worship; yet, at the same time, it very strongly intimates, how dim and obscure the light of nature is; since those, who have nothing else to direct them, are like persons in the dark, who "feel" and grope about after God, whom they cannot see; and after all their search and groping, there is only an "haply", a peradventure, a may be, that they find him:

though he be not far from everyone of us; not only by his omnipresence, and immensity, whereby he is everywhere; but by his power in supporting all in their being; and by his goodness in continually communicating the blessings of providence to them.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

27. That they should seek the Lord—That is the high end of all these arrangements of Divine Power, Wisdom, and Love.

if haply they might feel after him—as men groping their way in the dark.

and find him—a lively picture of the murky atmosphere of Natural Religion.

though he be not far from every one of us—The difficulty of finding God outside the pale of revealed religion lies not in His distance from us, but in our distance from Him through the blinding effect of sin.

Acts 17:27 Additional Commentaries
Context
Paul Before the Areopagus
26and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 4:7
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?

Jeremiah 23:23
"Am I only a God nearby," declares the LORD, "and not a God far away?

Acts 14:17
Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy."
Treasury of Scripture

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

they.

Acts 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, …

Psalm 19:1-6 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork…

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are …

Romans 2:4 Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering…

he be.

Acts 14:17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did …

1 Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven …

Psalm 139:1-13 O lord, you have searched me, and known me…

Jeremiah 23:23,24 Am I a God at hand, said the LORD, and not a God afar off…

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