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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 17 - Verse 25

Verse 25. Neither is worshipped with men's hands. The word here rendered worshipped—yerapeuetai—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 heathen, that the gods were fed or nourished by the offerings made to them. The idea is prevalent among the Hindoos, 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 honour. 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 Ps 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. Gr., 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. And it is highly probable that Paul here had reference to Ge 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 rigour into our frame! Comp. See Barnes "Ro 11:36".


{d} "needed anything" Ps 50:8 {e} "giveth to all life" Job 12:10; Zec 12:1 {f} "all things" Ro 11:36

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