“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.” (Proverbs 3:13).
When we study our Bibles we will often come across a passage or a verse where at first will be a little confused as to its meaning, or, as to what the writer was trying to convey.
It has been my own experience in such instances to dig a little deeper into the Word, with the help of different translations and in the case of New Testament Scripture, the use of the Emphatic Diaglott, which is a word for word translation from the original Greek text into English. Although the Authorized King James Version is my personal Bible of choice, I do not hold that it is infallible in its translations, hence the usage of other translations in my studies, for by doing so, many questions have been clarified in my personal understanding of God’s Word.
Having said all this I would now like to look at Acts 17:22-31 and in particular verse 26. “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him I declare unto you. God, who made the world and all things in it, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; (And hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth), and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. That they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from every one of us; 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 offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like gold, or silver, or stone, carved by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God overlooked, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent. Because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge this world in righteousness by that man [Jesus] whom he hath ordained; concerning which he hath given assurance unto all in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
The word offspring as used in verses 28 and 29 is from the Greek word “genos” meaning race. The reference is to the creation-work of God, in which He made man in His own likeness (Gen. 1:26-27). So this brings me to verse 26 of Acts 17 which is my main argument of this lesson. If we read the first part of this verse namely, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men”, we get the impression that Paul is saying here that in fact all men originated from Adam, which is, after all, the mindset of mainstream Christianity. Yet, in light of Gen. 1:26 and Gen. 2:5-7 many today believe that there were pre-Adamic man. If this is the case, how could the statement of one blood apply to all races.
[inset side=”left” title=””]Yet, in light of Gen. 1:26 and Gen. 2:5-7 many today believe that there were pre-Adamic man. If this is the case, how could the statement of one blood apply to all races.[/inset]Another argument is that after the flood all races came through Noah and his sons. The Bible states that Noah was perfect in his generations, which means he was of pure Adamic blood. (Gen. 6:9). In Gen. 11 starting at verse 10 we find the generations of Noah’s son, Shem, from which sprang forth the Hebrews, thus the Caucasian people. That would mean that from the other two sons, Ham and Japheth, all other races originated. If we go along with this idea, then we in fact must believe in evolution rather than creation, for as sons of Noah, Ham and Japheth were also of true Adamic blood. So again, all races of man from one blood does not seem to fit.
So let us look again at the whole passage that I quoted at the beginning of the article. Paul is here teaching the Greeks, who, by the way, were of the dispersed Israelites, and who were very much into idolatry and worshipping numerous gods and idols. Paul is here teaching that there is but one God, the creator of heaven and earth and of all mankind. According to the information in my possession the word blood, as found in verse 26, does not appear in most manuscripts. Therefore, if we remove the word “blood,” as is the case in the Ferrar Fenton translation and also in the Emphatic Diaglott, we discover an altogether different spin to this verse 26. Ferrar Fenton states, “Because he made by One every race of men.” In the Diaglott we read “And made from One every nation of men.” In both cases the word “one” is capitalized indicating Deity. In the Greek these words are interchangeable, used by implication and thus basically mean and say the same thing.
This brings me to the “One” and for that I will go to the Gospel of John where we read in John 1:1-3. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” We all know that the Word made flesh is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. If we look at verse 26 in this way we can readily see that Paul was saying all nations of men were made by One who is none other than Jehovah God in the Old Testament, or, Jesus
Christ in the New Testament, for they are one and the same.
I hope the little treatise has been informative to you and if you in the past have found this passage a little confusing, may it have helped you in your understanding of Acts 17:26. Like the title of this article implies, don’t take everything at face value. That is, in your studies, think outside the box.
As Paul states in 1Thessalonians 5:21, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”