on Acts 17 :25
Neither is worshiped with men's hands - This is an indirect stroke against making of images, and offering of sacrifices: he is not worshipped with human hands, as if he needed any thing, or required to be represented under a particular form or attitude; nor has he required victims for his support; for it is impossible that he should need any thing who himself gives being, form, and life, to all creatures.
Giveth - life, and breath, and all things - These words are elegantly introduced by St. Paul: God gives life, because he is the fountain of it: he gives breath, the faculty of breathing or respiration, by which this life is preserved; and though breathing or respiration, be the act of the animal, yet the πνοην, the faculty of breathing, and extracting from the atmosphere what serves as a pabulum of life, is given by the influence of God, and the continued power thus to respire, and extract that pure oxygen gas which is so evident a support of animal life, is as much the continued gift of God as life itself is. But, as much more is necessary to keep the animal machine in a state of repair, God gives the τα παντα, all the other things which are requisite for this great and important purpose, that the end for which life was given may be fully answered. St. Paul also teaches that Divine worship is not enacted and established for God, but for the use of his creatures: he needs nothing that man can give him; for man has nothing but what he has received from the hand of his Maker.
on Acts 17 :25
Neither is worshipped with men's hands - The word here rendered "worshipped" (θεραπέυεται therapeuetai) denotes to "serve"; to wait upon; and then to render religious service or homage. There is reference here, undoubtedly, to a notion prevalent among the pagan, that the gods were fed or nourished by the offerings made to them. The idea is prevalent among the Hindus that the sacrifices which are made, and which are offered in the temples, are consumed by the gods themselves. Perhaps, also, Paul had reference to the fact that so many persons were employed in their temples in serving them with their hands; that is, in preparing sacrifices and feasts in their honor. Paul affirms that the great Creator of all things cannot be thus dependent on his creatures for happiness, and consequently, that that mode of worship must be highly absurd. The same idea occurs in Psalm 50:10-12;
For every beast of the forest is mine;
And the cattle upon a thousand hills.
I know all the fowls of the mountain;
And the wild beasts of the field are mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell thee;
For the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
Seeing he giveth - Greek: he having given to all, etc.
Life - He is the source of life, and therefore he cannot be dependent on that life which he has himself imparted.
And breath - The power of breathing, by which life is sustained. He not only originally gave life, but he gives it at each moment; he gives the power of drawing each breath by which life is supported. It is possible that the phrase "life and breath may be the figure hendyades, by which one thing is expressed by two words. It is highly probable that Paul here had reference to Genesis 2:7; "And the Lord God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." The same idea occurs in Job 12:10;
In whose hand is the life (margin) of every living thing;
And the breath of all mankind.
And all things - All things necessary to sustain life. We may see here how dependent man is on God. There can be no more absolute dependence than that for every breath. How easy it would be for God to suspend our breathing! How incessant the care, how unceasing the providence, by which, whether we sleep or wake - whether we remember or forget him, he heaves our chest, fills our lungs, restores the vitality of our blood, and infuses vigor into our frame! Compare the notes on Romans 11:36.
on Acts 17 :25
17:25 Neither is he served as though he needed any thing - or person - The Greek word equally takes in both. To all - That live and breathe; - in him we live; and breathe - In him we move. By breathing life is continued. I breathe this moment: the next is not in my power: and all things - For in him we are. So exactly do the parts of this discourse answer each other.