In Him We Live and Move and Have Our Being


Acts 17:28 reads, “for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationActs 17:28
ESVfor “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
NASBfor in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’
NIVFor in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
NLTFor in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

In Him We Live and Move and Have Our Being: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

17:22-31 Here we have a sermon to heathens, who worshipped false gods, and were without the true God in the world; and to them the scope of the discourse was different from what the apostle preached to the Jews.

In the latter case, his business was to lead his hearers by prophecies and miracles to the knowledge of the Redeemer, and faith in him; in the former, it was to lead them, by the common works of providence, to know the Creator, and worship Him.

The apostle spoke of an altar he had seen, with the inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. This fact is stated by many writers. After multiplying their idols to the utmost, some at Athens thought there was another god of whom they had no knowledge.

And are there not many now called Christians, who are zealous in their devotions, yet the great object of their worship is to them an unknown God? Observe what glorious things Paul here says of that God whom he served, and would have them to serve.

The Lord had long borne with idolatry, but the times of this ignorance were now ending, and by his servants he now commanded all men every where to repent of their idolatry.

Each sect of the learned men would feel themselves powerfully affected by the apostle’s discourse, which tended to show the emptiness or falsity of their doctrines.

Acts 17:28 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

For in him we live, and move, and have our being—(or, more briefly, “exist”).—This means, not merely, “Without Him we have no life, nor that motion which every inanimate nature displays, nor even existence itself” [Meyer], but that God is the living, immanent Principle of all these in men.

as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring—the first half of the fifth line, word for word, of an astronomical poem of Aratus, a Greek countryman of the apostle, and his predecessor by about three centuries.

But, as he hints, the same sentiment is to be found in other Greek poets. They meant it doubtless in a pantheistic sense; but the truth which it expresses the apostle turns to his own purpose—to teach a pure, personal, spiritual Theism.

(Probably during his quiet retreat at Tarsus. Ac 9:30, revolving his special vocation to the Gentiles he gave himself to the study of so much Greek literature as might be turned to Christian account in his future work. Hence this and his other quotations from the Greek poets, 1Co 15:33; Tit 1:12).

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