Acts 14:15
And saying, Sirs, why do you these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach to you that you should turn from these vanities to the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
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(15) Sirs, why do ye these things?—It is natural to suppose that the words were spoken in the Greek in which St. Luke records them, and therefore that St. Paul’s previous teaching had been in the same language. The metrical structure of the. close of the speech (see Note on Acts 14:17) leaves hardly a shadow of doubt on this point.

We also are men of like passions with you.—The word, which expresses participation in all the passive conditions of human life, as well as in what are commonly known as “passions,” occurs again in James 5:17. There is, it will be noted, a striking parallelism between St. Paul’s language here, and that of Peter to Cornelius (Acts 10:26).

Ye should turn from these vanities.—The demonstrative pronoun implies a corresponding gesture. The Apostle points to all the pomp and pageantry of the intended sacrifice. The words “vanity and “vain” were almost the invariable terms used by Jews to describe the emptiness and worthlessness of heathen worship (Ephesians 4:17; 1Peter 1:18; and, in the Old Testament, 1Samuel 12:21). In contrast with these dead and dumb things, the Apostle calls on them to turn to God, who truly lives and acts, and is the source of all life and power, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Giver of all good gifts, the Judge of all evil deeds. In contrast, alike, with the popular polytheism which assigned heaven, and earth, and sea to different deities, and to the speculative Pantheism which excluded will and purpose from its conception of the Godhead, he proclaims the One God as having every attribute of personal Life and Being.

14:8-18 All things are possible to those that believe. When we have faith, that most precious gift of God, we shall be delivered from the spiritual helplessness in which we were born, and from the dominion of sinful habits since formed; we shall be made able to stand upright and walk cheerfully in the ways of the Lord. When Christ, the Son of God, appeared in the likeness of men, and did many miracles, men were so far from doing sacrifice to him, that they made him a sacrifice to their pride and malice; but Paul and Barnabas, upon their working one miracle, were treated as gods. The same power of the god of this world, which closes the carnal mind against truth, makes errors and mistakes find easy admission. We do not learn that they rent their clothes when the people spake of stoning them; but when they spake of worshipping them; they could not bear it, being more concerned for God's honour than their own. God's truth needs not the services of man's falsehood. The servants of God might easily obtain undue honours if they would wink at men's errors and vices; but they must dread and detest such respect more than any reproach. When the apostles preached to the Jews, who hated idolatry, they had only to preach the grace of God in Christ; but when they had to do with the Gentiles, they must set right their mistakes in natural religion. Compare their conduct and declaration with the false opinions of those who think the worship of a God, under any name, or in any manner, is equally acceptable to the Lord Almighty. The most powerful arguments, the most earnest and affectionate addresses, even with miracles, are scarcely enough to keep men from absurdities and abominations; much less can they, without special grace, turn the hearts of sinners to God and to holiness.And saying, Sirs - Greek: Men.

Why do ye these things? - This is an expression of solemn remonstrance at the folly of their conduct in worshipping those who were human. The abhorrence which they evinced at this may throw strong light on the rank and character of the Lord Jesus Christ. When an offer was made to worship Paul and Barnabas, they shrank from it with strong expressions of aversion and indignation. Yet when similar worship was offered to the Lord Jesus; when he was addressed by Thomas in the language of worship, "My Lord and my God" John 20:28, he uttered not the slightest reproof. Nay, he approved it, and expressed his approbation of others who should also do it, John 20:29. Compare John 5:23. How can this difference be accounted for except on the supposition that the Lord Jesus was divine? Would he, if a mere man, receive homage as God, when his disciples rejected it with horror?

Of like passions with you - We are human beings like yourselves. We have no claim, no pretensions to anything more. The word "passions" here means simply that they had the common feelings and propensities of people - the nature of people; the affections of people. It does not mean that they were subject to any improper passions, to ill temper, etc., as some have supposed; but that they did not pretend to be gods. "We need food and drink; we are exposed to pain, and sickness, and death." The Latin Vulgate renders it, "We are mortal like yourselves." The expression stands opposed to the proper conception of God, who is not subject to these affections, who is most blessed and immortal. Such a Being only is to be worshipped; and the apostles remonstrated strongly with them on the folly of paying religious homage to beings like themselves. Compare James 5:17, "Elias (Elijah) was a man subject to like passions as we are, etc."

That ye should turn from these vanities - That you should cease to worship idols. Idols are often called vanities, or vain things, Deuteronomy 32:21; 2 Kings 17:15; 1 Kings 16:13, 1 Kings 16:26; Jeremiah 2:5; Jeremiah 8:19; Jeremiah 10:8; Jonah 2:8. They are called vanities, a lie, or lying vanities, as opposed to the living and true God, because they are unreal; because they have no power to help: because confidence in them is vain.

Unto the living God - 1 Thessalonians 1:9. He is called the living God to distinguish him from idols. See the notes on Matthew 16:16.

Which made heaven ... - Who thus showed that he was the only proper object of worship. This doctrine, that there is one God who has made all things, was new to them. They worshipped multitudes of divinities; and though they regarded Jupiter as the father of gods and human beings, yet they had no conception that all things had been created by the will of one Infinite Being.

15. We … are men of like passions, &c.—How unlike either imposture or enthusiasm is this, and how high above all self-seeking do these men of Christ show themselves to be!

unto the living God—This is the most glorious and distinctive of all the names of God. It is the familiar phraseology of the Old Testament. which, in such contrast with all that is to be found within the literature of heathenism, is shown to be, with its sequel, the New Testament, the one Book of the true religion.

who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all … therein—This idea of creation, utterly unknown alike to rude and to cultivated heathenism, would not only define what was meant by "the living God," but open up a new world to the more thoughtful part of the audience.

We also are men of like passions with you; we stand in need of food and raiment, are liable to diseases and death, as well as you.

Vanities; so idols are frequently called, 1 Kings 16:13,26 Jer 14:22, because they disappoint the hopes that are placed in them, and are empty of any good which is expected from them, and have nothing but what vain men (their makers) bestow upon them.

The living God; the true God is called the living God, Deu 5:26 Joshua 3:10, in opposition to those false gods, who usually were only dead men, which out of love or fear were deified; as also in that he lives from himself, and gives life to every living creature.

Which made heaven, &c.: by this also the true God is distinguished from false gods, as Jeremiah 10:11,12; and is a good argument against all idol worship; for Divine worship is a tribute we owe and pay to him that made us, Psalm 100:3,4. It should be considered with what a respective compellation the apostles speak unto this heathen rabble, calling them, Sirs, or masters; a term surely then not unlawful to be given to our equals or betters. And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things?.... That is, bring these oxen and garlands, and attempt to offer sacrifice; this they said, not as arguing with them calmly and mildly, but with a mixture of indignation, heat, and zeal, as displeased with, and detesting and abhorring what they were about to do:

we also are men of like passions with you; men, and not gods; of the same human nature, and that as corrupted, alike sinful men, and need a sacrifice better than these; frail mortal men, subject to frailty, imperfection, afflictions, troubles, diseases, and death itself; and so very improper objects of worship:

and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities; from these deities, Jupiter and Mercury, and the rest of them; which were vain, useless, and unprofitable, and could do their votaries no manner of service; and from the worshipping of them, which were so many acts of vanity, folly, and weakness, yea, of sin and wickedness: the apostles were so far from being these gods, that their business was to show men the sin and folly of adhering to them; and to persuade them to relinquish the worship of them, and turn

to the living God; who has life in himself, and is the fountain of life to others; whereas these deities were dead men, and the lifeless images of them; who neither lived themselves, nor could give life to others, or do them any service of any kind: but the living God is he,

which hath made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein; which comprehends all created beings, the whole universe, and all that is in it, angels, men, beasts, fowls, fish, and whatever exists; and therefore is only deserving of religious worship.

{4} And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of {e} like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these {f} vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

(4) That is also called idolatry which gives to creatures, be they ever so holy and excellent, that which is proper to the only One God, that is, invocation, or calling upon.

(e) Men, as you are, and partakers of the very same nature of man as you are.

(f) He calls idols vanities, after the manner of the Hebrews.

Acts 14:15. ἄνδρες: brief address in accordance with the hurry of the moment.—ὁμοιοπαθεῖς, Jam 5:17, “of like passions,” so R.V. in both passages, but ‘nature’ in margin, so Ramsay. But to others the latter word seems too general, and they explain it as meaning equally capable of passion or feeling, as opposed to the ἀπάθεια of the idols; or, equally prone to human weakness, and not all-powerful as the people seemed to infer from the miracle (Bethge); whilst others again take it as meaning ὁμοίως θνητός (so Blass). On its meaning in Wis 7:3 see Grimm, sub v., and Speaker’s Commentary. In 4Ma 12:13 it is also used to mark the atrocious nature of persecution inflicted by one who, a man himself, was not ashamed τοὺς ὁμοιοπαθεῖς γλωττοτομῆσαι: cf. its use in medical writers and in classical Greek (Wetstein); by the Fathers it was used of our Lord Himself, Euseb., H. E., i., 2, cf. Hebrews 4:15 (see Mayor on Jam 5:17).—εὐαγγελιζ.: we preach not ourselves—Paul was a “messenger of God” in a higher sense than the people conceived; on the construction see above p. 210 and Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 79. For reading in [269] see critical note = bringing you glad tidings of “the God”—in Asia Minor a familiar term for the great God, so that just as St. Paul introduces the Christian God at Athens as “the Unknown God,” whom the Athenians had been worshipping, so here he may have used a familiar term known to the crowd around him at Lystra, Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 118.—ἐπιστρέφειν ἐπὶ, cf. especially 1 Thessalonians 1:9, in Acts 9:35; Acts 11:21; Acts 15:19; Acts 26:20; on the construction see Wendt, and Weiss, in loco, cf. Acts 4:18, Acts 5:28; Acts 5:40, infinitive after παραγγέλλειν.—τὸν ζῶντα, see critical note.—τούτων: may be used contemptuously, as if St. Paul pointed to the preparations for the sacrifice.—ματαίων, cf. Jeremiah 2:5; Jeremiah 10:3, of the gods of the nations and their worship, cf. also 2 Kings 17:15 , Jeremiah 8:19; cf. Romans 1:21, Ephesians 4:17. R.V. and A.V. take it as neuter, others as masculine, sc., Θεῶν.—ὃς ἐποίησε κ.τ.λ., cf. especially Jeremiah 10:11-15, l6, for the contrast between the gods who are no gods, and the God Who made the heavens, and cf. also Acts 17:24 for a similar appeal from the same Apostle. The “living” God manifests His life in creation—a manifestation to which St. Paul would naturally appeal before such an audience; even in writing to Christian converts of the deepest mysteries of the faith he does not forget that the God of Nature and the God of Redemption are one, cf. Ephesians 3:9, R.V.; so too St. Peter prefaces the first Christian hymn with the same words used here by the Apostle of the Gentiles, Acts 4:24. On the tact of St. Paul at Lystra and at Athens, laying the foundation of his teaching as a wise master-builder in the truths of natural religion, and leading his audience from them as stepping-stones to higher things, see notes on 17. That he did not even at Lystra confine his teaching or his appeal simply to Nature’s witness, see notes on Acts 14:22-23.

[269] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.15. and preach unto you] Literally, “bring you the good tidings,” as the message must be which sets forth to men the living God in the place of dumb idols.

that ye should turn from these vanities (vain things)] “Vanity” is a name of constant use in the Old Test. for the false gods of the heathen. See 1 Samuel 12:21.Acts 14:15. Λέγοντες, saying) With this discourse may be compared that other to the Athenians, who required to hear something more sublime: ch. 17.—ὁμοιοπαθεῖς ὑμῖν ἄνθρωποι, men of like passions with you) not gods made like men. They hasten forward, putting first the Ætiology (assigning of the reason), before that they say that they are men. God is ἀπαθὴς, exempt from passions.—ματαίων, vanities) אלילים, such as are their Jupiters, Mercuries, and the whole family of them. He does not even deign to call them gods.—ζῶντα, living] So God is often called, in opposition to the idols.—οὐρανὸν, γῆν, θάλασσα., heaven, earth, sea) From these were derived the three classes of the gods of the Gentiles.Verse 15. - Bring you good tidings for preach unto you, A.V.; vain things for vanities, A.V.; who for which, A.V.; the heaven and the earth for heaven and earth, A.V.; that in them is for things that are therein, A.V. For the declaration, We also are men of like passions with you, compare Peter's saying to Cornelius (Acts 10:26), "Stand up; I myself also am a man." St. Paul finely contrasts the utter vanity, i.e. the impotence, lifelessness, uselessness, and unprofitableness of the idols, with the power of the living God, who by his word created heaven and earth and sea, and filled them all with beauty, shape, and life. Of like passions (ὁμοιοπαθεῖς)

Only here and James 5:17, on which see note. Better, of like nature.

Turn (ἐπιστρέφειν)

Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:9, where the same verb is used.

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