Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

Acts 17:16

    Acts 17:16 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he beheld the city full of idols.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was troubled, for he saw all the town full of images of the gods.

    Webster's Revision

    Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he beheld the city full of idols.

    World English Bible

    Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw the city full of idols.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him, as he beheld the city full of idols.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 17:16

    He saw the city wholly given to idolatry - Κατειδωλον, Full of idols, as the margin has it, and very properly. Whoever examines the remains of this city, as represented by Mr. Stuart in his Antiquities, already referred to, will be satisfied of the truth of St. Luke's remark: it was full of idols. Bishop Pearce produces a most apposite quotation from Pausanias, which confirms the observation: Ουκ ην αλλαχου τοσαυτα ιδειν ειδωλα. There was no place where so many idols were to be seen. Paus. in Attic. cap. xvii. 24.

    Petronius, who was contemporary with St. Paul, in his Satyr. cap. xvii., makes Quartilla say of Athens: Utique nostra regio tam Praesentibus Plena Est Numinibus, ut facilius possis Deum quam Hominem invenire. Our region is so full of deities that you may more frequently meet with a god than a man.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 17:16

    Now while Paul waited - How long he was there is not intimated; but doubtless some time would elapse before they could arrive. In the meantime Paul had ample opportunity to observe the state of the city.

    His spirit was stirred in him - His mind was greatly excited. The word used here (παρωξύνετο parōxuneto) denotes "any excitement, agitation, or paroxysm of mind," 1 Corinthians 13:5. It here means that the mind of Paul was greatly concerned, or agitated, doubtless with pity and distress at their folly and danger.

    The city wholly given to idolatry - Greek: κατέιδωλον kateidōlon. It is well translated in the margin, "or full of idols." The word is not used elsewhere in the New Testament. That this was the condition of the city is abundantly testified by profane writers. Thus, Pausanias (in Attic. 1 Corinthians 1:24) says, "the Athenians greatly surpassed others in their zeal for religion." Lucian (t. i. Prometh. p. 180) says of the city of Athens, "On every side there are altars, victims, temples, and festivals." Livy (45, 27) says that Athens "was full of the images of gods and men, adorned with every variety of material, and with all the skill of art." And Petronius (Sat. xvii.) says humorously of the city, that "it was easier to find a god than a man there." See Kuinoel. In this verse we may see how a splendid idolatrous city will strike a pious mind. Athens then had more that was splendid in architecture, more that was brilliant in science, and more that was beautiful in the arts, than any other city of the world; perhaps more than all the rest of the world united.

    Yet there is no account that the mind of Paul was filled with admiration; there is no record that he spent his time in examining the works of art; there is no evidence that he forgot his high purpose in an idle and useless contemplation of temples and statuary. His was a Christian mind; and he contemplated all this with a Christian heart. That heart was deeply affected in view of the amazing guilt of a people who were ignorant of the true God, who had filled their city with idols reared to the honor of imaginary divinities, and who, in the midst of all this splendor and luxury, were going down to destruction. So should every pious man feel who treads the streets of a splendid and guilty city. The Christian will not despise the productions of art, but he will feel, deeply feel, for the unhappy condition of those who, amidst wealth, and splendor, and outward adoring, are withholding their affections from the living God, and who are going unredeemed to eternal woe. Happy would it be if every Christian traveler who visits cities of wealth and splendor would, like Paul, be affected in view of their crimes and dangers; stud happy if, like him, people could cease their unbounded admiration of magnificence and splendor in temples, and palaces, and statuary, to regard the condition of mind, not perishable like marble of the soul, more magnificent even in its ruins than all the works of Phidias or Praxiteles.

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 17:16

    17:16 While Paul was waiting for the - Having no design, as it seems, to preach at Athens, but his zeal for God drew him into it unawares, without staying till his companions came.