Acts 17:20
For you bring certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Thou bringest certain strange things.—The adjective stands for a Greek participle, things that startle, or leave an impression of strangeness.

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.Certain strange things - Literally, something pertaining to a foreign country or people. Here it means something unusual or remarkable - something different from what they had been accustomed to hear from their philosophers.

What these things mean - We would understand more clearly what is affirmed respecting Jesus and the resurrection.

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. The greatest objection which these men had against the gospel was, that it was strange and new. That it is not new was apparent, it having been in the Old Testament (as the ripe fruit is in the blossom) so long ago; and their own superstitions were but so many apish imitations of God’s worship. And if these things were strange unto them, they might thank themselves, who had not made due inquiring after them; and had, by their not improving the light of nature, provoked God to withhold further manifestations unto them, Romans 1:24,28. For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears,.... Strange doctrines and strange deities, such as they had never heard of before:

we would know therefore what these things mean; they desire he would explain these things to them, and let them know the rise, and ground, and nature, and end, and design of them.

For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 17:20. ξενίζοντα: rather perhaps startling or bewildering than strange—so too in Polyb., cf. 1 Peter 4:12, but see Grimm-Thayer, sub v. Ramsay renders “some things of foreign fashion” as if the words were connected with the opinion that the Apostle was an announcer of foreign gods, cf. also 2Ma 9:6, Diod. Sic., xii., 53.—τινα: the rhetorical use of the indefinite τις here strengthening the participle, cf. Acts 8:9, Acts 5:6, Hebrews 10:27.—εἰσφ.… ἀκοὰς: Blass suggests a Hebraism, but on the life of Greeks we must look no further than the parallel which the same writer adduces, Soph., Ajax, 147, cf. also Wetstein. The verb is only used here in this sense in N.T.—τί ἂν θέλοι, see critical note and Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 112: “de rebus in aliquem exitum tendentibus,” Grimm; cf. Acts 2:12; so Bethge.20. strange things] The original is not an adjective, but a participle, and signifies “something which strikes a person as strange.” So that the effect is indicated which had been produced on the minds of the hearers. The words had filled them with surprise. In the middle voice the word is found 1 Peter 4:4; 1 Peter 4:12 = “to think anything strange.”

what these things mean] See above on Acts 17:18.Acts 17:20. Ξενίζοντα, strange things) The same word occurs, 1 Peter 4:4; 1 Peter 4:12.Verse 20. - Strange things. Χενίζειν, in this use of it, means to act or play the foreigner, to imitate the manners and language and appearance of a foreigner (ξένος), just as Ἰουδαίζειν Ἐλληνίζειν Αττικίζειν, etc., mean to Judaize, Hellenize, Atticize, etc. Here, then, the Athenians say that St. Paul's doctrines have a foreign air, do not look like native Athenian speculations. Strange (ξενίζοντα)

A participle: surprising. Compare 1 Peter 4:4, 1 Peter 4:12.

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