Acts 17:27
Verse (Click for Chapter)
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,

Berean Study Bible
God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.

Berean Literal Bible
to seek God, if perhaps indeed they might palpate for Him, and might find Him. And indeed, He is 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.

New Heart English Bible
that they should seek God, if perhaps they might reach out 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.

New American Standard 1977
that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each 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,
Study Bible
Paul Before the Areopagus
26From one man He made every nation of men, to inhabit the whole earth; and He determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands. 27God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 4:7
"For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him?

Jeremiah 23:23
"Am I a God who is near," declares the LORD, "And not a God far off?

Acts 14:17
Yet He has not left Himself without testimony to His goodness: He gives you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness."
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…

(27) Should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him.--The word for "feel after" expresses strictly the act of groping in the dark. From the Apostle's point of view, anticipating in part the great Theodika--the vindication of the ways of God--in the Epistle to the Romans, the whole order of the world's history was planned, as part of the education of mankind, waking longings which it could not satisfy, leading men at once to a consciousness of the holiness of God and of their own sinfulness. The religions of the world were to him as the movements of one who climbs

"Upon the great world's altar stairs,

That slope through darkness up to God;"

who can only say--

"I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,

And gather dust, and chaff, and call

To what I feel is Lord of all,

And faintly trust the larger hope."

Their ritual in all its manifold variety was but as the inarticulate wailing of childhood--

"An infant crying for the light,

And with no language but a cry."

--Tennyson, In Memoriam, liv.

The "if haply" expresses the exact force of the Greek particles, which imply a doubt whether the end had been attained in its completeness. The altar to the Unknown and Unknowable was a witness that they had not been found. "The world by wisdom knew not God" (1Corinthians 1:21). It had not got, in the language of another poet of our own, beyond

"Those obstinate questionings

Of sense and outward things,

Fallings from us, vanishings;"

which are as the

"Blank misgivings of a creature

Moving about in worlds not realised."

--Wordsworth, Ode on Immortality.

Though he be not far from every one of us.--Better, and yet He is not far. The speaker appeals, as he does in Romans 2:15, to the witness borne by man's consciousness and conscience. There, in the depths of each man's being, not in temples made with hands, men might find God and hold communion with him. It was natural, in speaking to the peasants of Lystra, to point to the witness of "the rain from heaven and fruitful seasons." (See Note on Acts 14:17.) It was as natural, in speaking to men of high culture and introspective analysis, to appeal to that which was within them rather than to that which was without. But it will be noted that he does not confine that witness to the seekers after wisdom. God is not far from every one of us." St. Paul accepts the truth which St. John afterwards proclaimed, that Christ is the "true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (See Notes on John 1:9.) The writer of the Book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 30:11-14) had asserted a like truth when he taught Israel that "the word was not in heaven, or beyond the sea," but "in thy mouth and in thine heart, that thou mayest do it." At this point the Stoics, we may believe, would recognise the affinities which St. Paul's thoughts presented to their own teaching. The Epicureans would be more and more repelled by this attack on the central position of their system.

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. 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. 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.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.
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Alphabetical: and did each far find for from God grope he him if is men might not of one out perhaps reach seek so that they this though us would

NT Apostles: Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord if (Acts of the Apostles Ac) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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