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Acts 17:3

Context
17:3 explaining and demonstrating 1  that the Christ 2  had to suffer and to rise from the dead, 3  saying, 4  “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 5 

Acts 17:18

Context
17:18 Also some of the Epicurean 6  and Stoic 7  philosophers were conversing 8  with him, and some were asking, 9  “What does this foolish babbler 10  want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.” 11  (They said this because he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) 12 

1 tn BDAG 772 s.v. παρατίθημι 2.b has “demonstrate, point out” here.

2 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:31.

3 sn The Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead. These two points (suffering and resurrection) would have been among the more controversial aspects of Paul’s messianic preaching. The term translated “had to” (δεῖ, dei) shows how divine design and scripture corresponded here.

4 tn The Greek words used here (καὶ ὅτι, kai {oti, “and that”) mark the switch from indirect to direct discourse. Contemporary English requires the use of an introductory verb of speaking or saying to make this transition.

5 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:31. The identification of the Messiah with Jesus indicates Paul was proclaiming the fulfillment of messianic promise.

6 sn An Epicurean was a follower of the philosophy of Epicurus, who founded a school in Athens about 300 b.c. Although the Epicureans saw the aim of life as pleasure, they were not strictly hedonists, because they defined pleasure as the absence of pain. Along with this, they desired the avoidance of trouble and freedom from annoyances. They saw organized religion as evil, especially the belief that the gods punished evildoers in an afterlife. In keeping with this, they were unable to accept Paul’s teaching about the resurrection.

7 sn A Stoic was a follower of the philosophy founded by Zeno (342-270 b.c.), a Phoenician who came to Athens and modified the philosophical system of the Cynics he found there. The Stoics rejected the Epicurean ideal of pleasure, stressing virtue instead. The Stoics emphasized responsibility for voluntary actions and believed risks were worth taking, but thought the actual attainment of virtue was difficult. They also believed in providence.

8 tn BDAG 956 s.v. συμβάλλω 1 has “converse, confer” here.

9 tn Grk “saying.”

10 tn Or “ignorant show-off.” The traditional English translation of σπερμολόγος (spermologo") is given in L&N 33.381 as “foolish babbler.” However, an alternate view is presented in L&N 27.19, “(a figurative extension of meaning of a term based on the practice of birds in picking up seeds) one who acquires bits and pieces of relatively extraneous information and proceeds to pass them off with pretense and show – ‘ignorant show-off, charlatan.’” A similar view is given in BDAG 937 s.v. σπερμολόγος: “in pejorative imagery of persons whose communication lacks sophistication and seems to pick up scraps of information here and there scrapmonger, scavenger…Engl. synonyms include ‘gossip’, ‘babbler’, chatterer’; but these terms miss the imagery of unsystematic gathering.”

11 tn The meaning of this phrase is not clear. Literally it reads “strange deities” (see BDAG 210 s.v. δαιμόνιον 1). The note of not being customary is important. In the ancient world what was new was suspicious. The plural δαιμονίων (daimoniwn, “deities”) shows the audience grappling with Paul’s teaching that God was working through Jesus.

12 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.



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