Lectionary Year A
May 5, 2002
Acts 17:22-31

Initial Acquaintance/Rough Translation

I. Initial Acquaintance

A.Comparing translations

(JFC)The New American Bible (1995) and the New Living Translation (1996) differ some, according to these notes:

22 Then Paul stood up in the Areopagus and said: "You Athenians, - NAB
So Paul, standing before the Council, addressed them as follows: "Men of Athens, - NLT

23 For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, - NAB
for as I was walking along I saw your many altars. - NLT

What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. - NAB
You have been worshipping him without knowing who he is, and now I wish to tell you about him. - NLT

24 does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, - NAB
he doesn't live in man-made temples, - NLT

26 and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, - NAB
He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. - NLT

27 so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, - NAB
"His purpose in all this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him - NLT

28 as even some of your poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.' - NAB
As one of your poets says, 'We are his off-spring.' - NLT

29 Since therefore we are the offspring of God, - NAB
And since this is true, - NLT

we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned . . . by human art and imagination. - NAB
we shouldn't think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen . . . - NLT

30 demands that all people everywhere repent - NAB
commands everyone everywhere to turn away from idols and turn to him. - NLT

31 and has provided confirmation for all - NAB
and he proved to everyone who this is - NLT

(CB)I have chosen to compare the New International Version (NIV), the Revised Standard Version (RSV), and The Living Bible (LB) Bibles for comparison.

Verse 26 NIV From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

RSV And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation,

LB He created all the people of the world from one man, Adam, and scattered the nations across the face of the earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall and when. He determined their boundaries.

Verse 27 NIV God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

RSV that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us,

LB "His purpose in all of this is that they should seek after God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him - though he is not far from any one of us.

B. Rough translation

(JFC) 23 Some of the Alexandrian and Western Witnesses change the pronouns in o] ou=n avgnoou/ntej euvsebei/te( tou/to, to on ou=n avgnoou/ntej euvsebei/te, evidently, perhaps, trying to make it more personal and/or more anthropomorphic. My guess is that Paul would not want to make that change as if it were original, so, this variant seems contrary to both the message and the messenger. Besides, Papyrus 74 and several other reliable witnesses retain the text as printed, as well.

26 A few witnesses add aimatos after the word e`no.j, while others add stomatos, apparently to get more specific towards the meaning of the image being conveyed here. Nevertheless, more reliable witnesses, of which one is Papyrus 75, retain the text as received, which seems prudent. Metzger (TCGNT) calls the first attempted add-on, "a typical expansion so characteristic of the Western adviser." The committee opted "to adopt the Alexandrian text."

27 Several attempts to change zhtei/n to.n qeo.n, to include kurion, and/or malista zhtein to qeion estin, have been superceded by the majority of reliable witnesses retaining the Textus Receptus as original. Metzger's committee agrees. Then, some redactors, including Papyrus 75 would read kaitoi for kai, ge, while others have kaitoi ge, while at least as many reliables prefer to stay with the printed text, as seems wise.

28 For w`j kai, tinej tw/n kaqV u`ma/j poihtw/n, some editors would read to kaq hmeran wsper kai twn kaq umaj tinej. Metzger's Committee notes that "it is scarcely likely that Paul would have represented himself as one of the Greeks." Nor would we.

30 Metzger's Committee calls it "more appropriate in the context" that apaggellei could replace the printed text's paragge,llei, even "though Alexandrian scribes may have judged that it was less seemly for God to 'urge' or 'command' repentance than merely to 'announce' or 'declare' that all persons everywhere should repent." Perhaps so, yet, what would Paul more likely have said originally that could have made enough an impression that it would be accurately remembered so to be recorded?

(CB)In verse 22, the Nestle-Aland text brackets the definite article before "Paul." Shown to be an omission in 3 Alexandrian witnesses, Nestle-Aland cites 5 first order references for its inclusion. However, the symbol in front of the emendation indicates that this is a change from earlier Nestle-Aland editions.

In verse 30, there is another apparent change from the earlier Nestle-Aland editions. There is an alternative reading given for paragge,llei, which is appaggellei. The alternative rendering is cited in two Alexandrian witnesses. The textual support is found in eight Alexandrian witnesses.

In both examples, the external evidence supports the choices made by the editors of the Nestle-Aland text.


1 Machen ¶ 550 - optative - JEA "prayerful appeal"


2 Thayer P. 639 - when followed by en is rendered "among."

C. Rough Translation

(JFC) 22 But was put/stood (aorist, passive, participle) Paul in the midst of the Aeropagus meant/said/implied (aorist, active, indicative); "Men of Athens, according to all as if being very religious you are I see. 23 For going over/about/through and I was observing closely/reflecting upon the objects/places of worship of yours I found also an altar on which was written, 'to an unknown god'. Whom thus you are being ignorant/failing to understand you worship, whom I proclaim/make known to you. 24 The God who made the world and all that (is) in it, this one of heaven and of earth is being Lord not made by human hands a temple being to inhabit (present, active, indicative) 25 nor by hands human is he served having a need of any kind, who is giving (present, active, participle) to everyone life and breath and every thing; 26 he made from out of one every nation of human beings to dwell upon every façade of the earth, he was determining (aorist, active, participle) designated times/ordered seasons appointed times and the boundaries of the region of them 27 to seek the God, if even reach around for Him and find Him, and then yet never far from any of us is He.
28 For in Him we live and we move and we exist/have being, as also some of those of you poets have said (perfect, active, indicative); for of His also offspring we are. 29 Offspring/descendents thus/so/then we are of the God not we must/ought/be obligated to think/suppose/assume by gold or silver or stone, an image/representation of craftsmanship/artistic ability of thought/idea/imagination of humankind, the deity to be of the same nature/like/alike. 30 The so/then/now/indeed times of the ignorance overlooked/disregarded the God, who orders/demands the people all everywhere to repent. 31 Because He set a day on which He is going (present, active, indicative) to judge the world in righteousness/justice/what God requires, in/by/ man who decided (aorist), faith/trust/belief He brought about for everyone raising (aorist, active, participle) Him from dead.

(CB) 26. He/she/it made and so out of one each/every nation/people human beings to live/settle on each/every face of the earth deciding having ordered (for God's self?) time and the limits of their habitation (genitive - according to + their households).

27. to seek God that they therefore may touch/feel him and may (1) discover and not far from each/every one of us being among (2) us.

30. Then therefore the times of ignorance having overlooked/passed over God, now he/she/it commands/orders to/for all human everywhere to repent.

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