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:
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:
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,
Acts 17:27 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
That they should seek the Lord - Greek: to seek the Lord. The design of thus placing them on the earth - of gang them their habitation among his works - was, that they should contemplate his wisdom in his works, and thus come to a knowledge of his existence and character. All nations, though living in different regions and climates, have thus the opportunity of becoming acquainted with God, Romans 1:19-20. The fact that the nations did not thus learn the character of the true God shows their great stupidity and wickedness. The design of Paul in this was doubtless to reprove the idolatry of the Athenians. The argument is this: "God has given to each nation its proper opportunity to learn his character. Idolatry, therefore, is folly and wickedness, since it is possible to find out the existence of the one God from his works."
If haply - εἰ ἄρα γε ei ara ge. If perhaps - implying that it was possible to find God, though it might be attended with some difficulty. God has placed us here that we may make the trial, and has made it possible thus to find him.
They might feel after him - The word used here ψηλαφήσειαν psēlaphēseian means properly "to touch, to handle" Luke 24:39; Hebrews 12:18, and then to ascertain the qualities of an object by the sense of touch. And as the sense of touch is regarded as a certain way of ascertaining the existence and qualities of an object, the word means "to search diligently, so that we may know distinctly and certainly." The word has this sense here. It means "to search diligently and accurately for God, to learn his existence and perfections." The Syriac renders it, "That they may seek for God, and find him from his creatures."
And find him - Find the proofs of his existence. Become acquainted with his perfections and laws.
Though he be not far ... - This seems to be stated by the apostle to show that it was possible to find him; and that even those who were without a revelation need not despair of becoming acquainted with his existence and perfections. He is near to us:
(1) Because the proofs of his existence and power are round about us everywhere, Psalm 19:1-6.
(1) To be afraid of sin. God is present with us, and sees all.
(2) he can protect the righteous. He is always with them.
(3) he can detect and punish the wicked. He sees all their plans and thoughts, and records all their doings.
(4) we should seek him continually. It is the design for which he has made us; and he has given us abundant opportunities to learn his existence and perfections.
LibraryApril 7. "In Him we Live and Move" (Acts xvii. 28).
"In Him we live and move" (Acts xvii. 28). The hand of Gehazi, and even the staff of Elisha could not heal the lifeless boy. It needed the living touch of the prophet's own divinely quickened flesh to infuse vitality into the cold clay. Lip to lip, hand to hand, heart to heart, he must touch the child ere life could thrill his pulseless veins. We must come into personal contact with the risen Saviour, and have His very life quicken our mortal flesh before we can know the fulness and reality of His …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
Paul at Athens
St. Justin Martyr (Ad 166)
Whether Idolatry is Rightly Reckoned a Species of Superstition?
"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?
"Am I a God who is near," declares the LORD, "And not a God far off?
and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness."
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