Acts 17:18
Parallel Verses
New International Version
A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

King James Bible
Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

Darby Bible Translation
But some also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers attacked him. And some said, What would this chatterer say? and some, He seems to be an announcer of foreign demons, because he announced the glad tidings of Jesus and the resurrection [to them].

World English Bible
Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also were conversing with him. Some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be advocating foreign deities," because he preached Jesus and the resurrection.

Young's Literal Translation
And certain of the Epicurean and of the Stoic philosophers, were meeting together to see him, and some were saying, 'What would this seed picker wish to say?' and others, 'Of strange demons he doth seem to be an announcer;' because Jesus and the rising again he did proclaim to them as good news,

Acts 17:18 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Certain philosophers of the Epicureans - These were the followers of Epicurus, who acknowledged no gods except in name, and absolutely denied that they exercised any government over the world or its inhabitants; and that the chief good consisted in the gratification of the appetites of sense. These points the Epicureans certainly held; but it is not clear that Epicurus himself maintained such doctrines.

And of the Stoics - These did not deny the existence of the gods; but they held that all human affairs were governed by fate. They did not believe that any good was received from the hands of their gods; and considered, as Seneca asserts, that any good and wise man was equal to Jupiter himself. Both these sects agreed in denying the resurrection of the body; and the former did not believe in the immortality of the soul.

Epicurus, the founder of the Epicurean sect, was born at Athens, about a.m. 3663, before Christ 341.

Zeno, the founder of the Stoic sect, was born in the isle of Cyprus, about thirty years before Christ. His disciples were called Stoics from the Στοα, a famous portico at Athens, where they studied. Besides these two sects, there were two others which were famous at this time; viz. the Academics and the Peripatetics. The founder of the first was the celebrated Plato; and the founder of the second, the no less famous Aristotle. These sects professed a much purer doctrine than the Epicureans and Stoics; and it does not appear that they opposed the apostles, nor did they enter into public disputations with them. Against the doctrines taught by the Epicureans and Stoics, several parts of St. Paul's discourse, in the following verses, are directly pointed.

What will this babbler say? - The word σπερμολογος, which we translate babbler, signifies, literally, a collector of seeds, and is the "name of a small bird the lives by picking up seeds on the road." The epithet became applied to persons who collected the sayings of others, without order or method, and detailed them among their companions in the same way. The application of the term to prating, empty, impertinent persons, was natural and easy, and hence it was considered a term of reproach and contempt, and was sometimes used to signify the vilest sort of men.

A setter forth of strange gods - Ξενων δαιμονιων, Of strange or foreign demons. That this was strictly forbidden, both at Rome and Athens, see on Acts 16:21 (note).

There was a difference, in the heathen theology, between θεος, god, and δαιμων, demon: the θεοι, were such as were gods by nature: the δαιμονια, were men who were deified. This distinction seems to be in the mind of these philosophers when they said that the apostles seemed to be setters forth of strange demons, because they preached unto them Jesus, whom they showed to be a man, suffering and dying, but afterwards raised to the throne of God. This would appear to them tantamount with the deification of heroes, etc., who had been thus honored for their especial services to mankind. Horace expresses this in two lines, 2 Epist. i.:5: -

Romulus, et Liber pater, et cum Castore Pollux,

Post ingentia facta, deorum in templa recepti.

"Romulus, father Bacchus, with Castor and Pollux, for their eminent services, have been received into the temples of the gods."

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

philosophers.

Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

1 Corinthians 1:20,21 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world...

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world...

encountered.

Acts 6:9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians...

Mark 9:14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.

Luke 11:53 And as he said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently...

babbler. or, base fellow.

Proverbs 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of your words.

Proverbs 26:12 See you a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

Jesus.

Acts 17:31 Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained...

Acts 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light to the people...

Romans 14:9,10 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living...

1 Corinthians 15:3,4 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures...

Library
April 24 Evening
The eyes of all wait upon thee.--PSA. 145:15. He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.--The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.--Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.--Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters,
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

The Man who is Judge
...He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.'--ACTS xvii. 31. I. The Resurrection of Jesus gives assurance of judgment. (a) Christ's Resurrection is the pledge of ours. The belief in a future life, as entertained by Paul's hearers on Mars Hill, was shadowy and dashed with much unbelief. Disembodied spirits wandered ghostlike and spectral in a shadowy underworld. The belief
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Immortality of the Soul, and a Future State.
--Inter silvas academi quærere verum. Hor. lib. II. epist. 2. v. 45. To search out truth in academic groves. THE course of my last speculation [3] led me insensibly into a subject upon which I always meditate with great delight, I mean the immortali
Joseph Addison—The Evidences of the Christian Religion, with Additional Discourses

Repentance and Restitution.
"God commandeth all men everywhere to repent."--Acts xvii. 30. Repentance is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Bible. Yet I believe it is one of those truths that many people little understand at the present day. There are more people to-day in the mist and darkness about Repentance, Regeneration, the Atonement, and such-like fundamental truths, than perhaps on any other doctrines. Yet from our earliest years we have heard about them. If I were to ask for a definition of Repentance, a great
Dwight L. Moody—The Way to God and How to Find It

Cross References
Acts 4:2
They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

Acts 5:42
Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

Acts 17:31
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead."

Acts 17:32
When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject."

1 Corinthians 1:20
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

1 Corinthians 4:10
We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!

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