|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.
Verse 31. - Inasmuch as for because, A.V. and T.R.; the man for that man, A.V. He hath appointed a day. Hitherto the Athenians seem to have listened with interest while St. Paul was, with consummate skill, leading them onwards from the doctrines of natural religion, and while he was laying down speculative truths. But now they are brought to a stand. They might no longer go on asking, Τι καινόν; A day fixed by God, they were told, was at hand, in which God would judge the world in righteousness, and in which they themselves would be judged also. And the certainty of this was made apparent by the fact that he who was ordained to be Judge was raised from the dead, and so ready to commence the judgment. The time for immediate action was come; God's revelation had reached them. The man (ἀνδρί). So Acts 2:22, Ἰησοῦν τὸν Ναζωραῖον ἄνδρα ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀποδεδειγμένον κ.τ.λ. And so in John 5:27 our Lord himself says of himself that the Father gave him authority to execute judgment "because he is the Son of man;" and in Matthew 26:24, "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power." (For the connection of the judgment with Christ's resurrection, see especially Acts 10:40-42.) So too the Creeds.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Because he hath appointed a day,.... The day of judgment is fixed by God in his eternal purposes, and is sure and certain, and will come, though it is not known by men or angels; and this is a reason why God will have the doctrine of repentance everywhere published, both to Jews and Gentiles, since all must come to judgment: and the day for it is appointed by him,
in the which he will judge the world in righteousness; the whole world will be judged, and every individual in it, good and bad, righteous and wicked; and this judgment will be a righteous one; it will proceed according to the strict rules of justice and equity, and upon the foot of the righteousness of Christ, as that has been received or rejected by men, or as men are clothed with, or are without that righteousness:
by that man whom he hath ordained; Beza's ancient copy reads, "the man Jesus": not that the apostle means that Christ is a mere man; for then he would not be fit to be a Judge of quick and dead, and to pass and execute the definitive sentence; which requires omniscience and omnipotence: but preaching to mere Heathens, he chose not at once to assert the deity of Christ, though he tacitly suggests it: but intended, by degrees, to open the glories of his nature and office to them, he being the person God had from all eternity ordained, and in time had signified, should have all judgment committed to him, and by whom the last judgment shall be managed and transacted:
whereof he hath given assurance to all men: or full proof, both of his being the Judge, and of his fitness to be one, and also of the righteousness, according to which he will judge:
in that he hath raised him from the dead; whereby he was declared to be the Son of God; and when all power in heaven and in earth was given to him; and which was done for the justification of all those for whose offences he was delivered: and this seems to be the reason why the apostle calls Christ the Judge a man, that he might have the opportunity of mentioning his resurrection from the dead.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
17:31 He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world - How fitly does he speak this, in their supreme court of justice? By the man - So he speaks, suiting himself to the capacity of his hearers. Whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead - God raising Jesus demonstrated hereby, that he was to be the glorious Judge of all. We are by no means to imagine that this was all which the apostle intended to have said, but the indolence of some of his hearers and the petulancy of others cut him short.
Acts 17:31 Parallel Commentaries
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