Acts 17:28 - God Is The Source Of Our Very Existence.
Acts 17:28: God Is The Source Of Our Very Existence.
Acts 17:28 (KJV) For in him we live, and move, and have our
being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his
Around 600 B.C. a terrible plague hit Athens (17:23). It was
believed that one of the many gods of Athens had been offended and thus
brought the plague. Sacrifices were offered, but the plague continued.
Then Epimenides suggested that the Athenians had possibly offended an
"unknown" god. It was ordered that a number of sheep be released in
Athens, and that wherever they lay down, a sacrifice would be offered.
The sheep were sacrificed to the "unknown" god and the plague
lifted. Paul had observed one of the altars to this "unknown god" and
used it as a cultural analogy in presenting the gospel [New Bible
There are two quotations here: (1) "In him we live and move and
have our being," from the Cretan poet Epimenides (c. 600 B.C.) in his
and (2) "We are his offspring," from the Cilician poet Aratus
(c. 315-240) in his as well as from Cleanthes
(331-233) in his Paul quotes Greek poets elsewhere as well
(see 1Co 15:33; Tit 1:12 and notes). [NIV SB]
Paul does not necessarily endorse the sentiments revealed in the
contexts of the words he utilizes, but merely uses Greek writers to
illustrate the higher teaching he presents. [SDA Commentary]
Paul met the Athenian intellectuals on common ground, having
demonstrated his knowledge of their poetry, philosophy, and religious lore.
From there he led them to the heart of the Christian gospel.
People in biblical times had many ideas about gods. There was no
shortage of belief in gods in that time. The problem was to help people
see that there is truly only one God. [Disciple SB]
[For in him we live] The expression "in him" evidently means by
him; by his originally forming us, and continually sustaining us. No
words can better express our constant dependence on God. He is the
original fountain of life, and he upholds us each moment.
[And move] It means that we derive strength to move from him; an
expression denoting "constant and absolute dependence." There is no idea of
dependence more striking than that we owe to him the ability to perform the
[And have our being] This denotes that our "continued existence"
is owing to Him. That we live at all is his gift; that we have
power to move is his gift; and our continued and prolonged existence
is his gift also. Thus, Paul traces our dependence on him from the
lowest pulsation of life to the highest powers of action and of
continued existence. It would be impossible to express in more emphatic
language our entire dependence On God. (Barnes' Notes)
[God's offspring] Not in the sense that they are all His
redeemed children or in the sense that they all possess an element of
deity, but in the sense that they are created by God and receive their
very life and breath from Him (v. 25). [Bible Knowledge Commentary]
God is the living and immanent principle of all existence.
[Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown Commentary]
The mighty power that works through all nature and sustains all
things is not, as some men of science claim, merely an all-pervading
principle, an actuating energy. God is a spirit; yet He is a personal
being, for man was made in His image. ED131,2
God is known in his creation, and he is close to every one of
us. But he is not trapped in his creation--he is transcendent. God
is the Creator, not the creation. This means that God is sovereign
and in control, while at the same time he is close and personal. Let
the Creator of the universe rule your life. [Life Application SB]
God has made man in such a way that instinctively he longs for
God [Barclay Commentary]
God has a great purpose for creating men--that men might find and
know God. [Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible]
The Creator planned for human beings to seek and know Him.
Since God is the creator of men, he must at least be greater
than men. Therefore to identify the Deity with something man has made
or imagined is the height of folly and the depth of sin. [Wycliffe
If man is the offspring of God, then idols are less than man,
for idols are made by the mind of man. Man is superior to idols;
therefore, to worship idols is to degrade the exalted position God has
given man. If man is the offspring of God, then something created by
man is less than God. God is above everything man makes. Therefore,
to exalt the works of man's hand above God is to degrade the
exalted position of both God and man. [Preacher's Outline & Sermon
God is not the made but the maker; and he who made all things
cannot be worshipped by anything made by the hands of man. It is all
too true that men often worship what their hands have made. If a
man's God be that to which he gives all his time, thought and energy,
many are clearly engaged in worshipping man-made things. [Barclay
Since in him and upon him we live, we ought to live to him;
since in him we move, we ought to move towards him; and since in him
we have our being, and from him we receive all the supports and
comforts of our being, we ought to consecrate our being to him, and to
apply to him for a new being, a better being, an eternal well-being.
(Matthew Henry's Commentary)
If this verse is true, and it most certainly is, why do we so
often disregard God? Do we treat Him with a token quiet time some
days? Do we run to Him in a crisis and ignore Him when things are
running smoothly? What we need to understand is that God created the
earth with His Word; He determines the times and places of each
person's life; He knows the number of hairs on our head; He ordained
the number of days of each life and wrote them in His book. What
would/could the Christian life be like if we were able to live in a
continuous attitude of prayer with God; if we continuously acknowledged His
presence; if we remained in an on-going posture of listening for His
voice. Be thankful that each day brings new beginning. Today we have
the opportunity to start over and make Jesus top priority! Let's do
it! [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom]
The hand that sustains the worlds in space, the hand that holds
in their orderly arrangement and tireless activity all things
throughout the universe of God, is the hand that was nailed to the cross
for us. ED131,2
Before we can turn our life over to God, we need to have an
accurate understanding of who he is. It is crucial that we entrust
ourself to the God who loves us, and not to the "god" of this world who
seeks only to deceive and destroy. The apostle Paul described the
deceiver this way: "Satan, who is the god of this evil world, has made
him [the deceived person] blind, unable to see the glorious light of
the Gospel that is shining upon him or to understand the amazing
message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is God" (2 Corinthians
4:4). Has Satan deceived us? How can we be sure that we have a true
understanding of God?
When Paul addressed the men of Athens, he said, "I saw your
many altars, and one of them had this inscription on it--'To the
Unknown God.' You have been worshiping him without knowing who he is,
and now I wish to tell you about him.... His purpose in all of this
is that they [all people] should seek after God, and perhaps feel
their way toward him and find him--though he is not far from any one of
us. For in him we live and move and are!" (Acts 17:23, 2728).
Even though God may be unknown to us, he is near and willing
to reveal himself. God has promised, "You will find me when you
seek me, if you look for me in earnest" (Jeremiah 29:13). Turning
over our will involves becoming willing to accept God as he is,
instead of insisting on creating him in our own image. When we seek God
with an open heart and mind, we will find him. [Life Recovery SB re
One of the items in Ripley's Believe It or Not is a picture
of a plain bar of iron. It is valued at $5. The same bar of iron
has a far different value, however, if it is fashioned into
As a pair of horse shoes, it would be worth $50.
Made into sewing needles, it would be worth $5,000.
Formed into balance springs for fine Swiss watches, it
would be worth
The raw material is not what is important. What's important
is how the raw material is developed!
To each of us has been given talents and abilities--some have
received more, others less, but all have received some unique gift from
God. As Christians, we also enjoy spiritual gifts which flow from the
Holy Spirit of God.
The value of these raw materials, however, is moot unless we
develop and use our talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts as a force
for divine good in this world.
If you don't know what your abilities and gifts are, ask God
to reveal them to you. Then ask Him to show you what He wants you
to do with them and begin doing it. Your happiness and success in
life will be found in fulfilling His plan for your life. [God's
Little Devotional Bible]