Hath made of one blood - In AB, some others, with the Coptic, Ethiopic, Vulgate, Itala, Clement, and Bede, the word αἱματος, blood, is omitted. He hath made of one (meaning Adam) all nations of men; but αἱμα, blood, is often used by the best writers for race, stock, kindred: so Homer, Iliad, vi. ver. 211:
Ταυτης τοι γενεης τε και αἱματος ευχομαι ειναι .
I glory in being of that same race and blood.
So Virgil, Aen. viii. ver. 142, says;
Sic genus amborum scindit se Sanguine ab uno.
Thus, from one stock, do both our stems divide.
See many examples of this form in Kypke. The Athenians had a foolish notion that they were self-produced, and were the aboriginals of mankind. Lucian ridicules this opinion, Αθηναιοι φασι τους πρωτους ανθρωπους εκ της Αττικης αναφυναι, καθαπερ τα λαχανα . The Athenians say that the first men sprung up in Attica, like radishes. Luc. Philo-pseud. 3.
To dwell on all the face of the earth - God in his wisdom produced the whole human race from one man; and, having in his providence scattered them over the face of the earth, by showing them that they sprang from one common source, has precluded all those contentious wars and bloodshed which would necessarily have taken place among the nations of the world, as each in its folly might have arrogated to itself a higher and more excellent origin than another.
And hath determined the times before appointed - Instead of προτεταγμενους καιρους, the times before appointed, ABDE, and more than forty others, with both the Syriac, all the Arabic, the Coptic, Ethiopic, MS. Slavonian, Vulgate, and Itala, read προστεταγμενους καιρους, the appointed times. The difference between the two words is this: προτασσειν signifies to place before others; but προστασσειν is to command, decree, appoint. The προστεταγμενοι καιροι, are the constituted or decreed times; that is, the times appointed by his providence, on which the several families should go to those countries where his wisdom designed they should dwell. See Genesis 10:5-32; and see Pearce and Rosenmuller.
And the bounds of their habitations - Every family being appointed to a particular place, that their posterity might possess it for the purposes for which infinite wisdom and goodness gave them their being, and the place of their abode. Every nation had its lot thus appointed by God, as truly as the Israelites had the land of Canaan. But the removal of the Jews from their own land shows that a people may forfeit their original inheritance, and thus the Canaanites have been supplanted by the Jews; the Jews by the Saracens; the Saracens by the Turks; the Greeks by the Romans; the Romans by the Goths and Vandals; and so of others. See the notes on Genesis 11:1-32 (note).
And hath made of one blood - All the families of mankind are descended from one origin or stock. However different their complexion, features, or language, yet they are derived from a common parent. The word blood is often used to denote “race, stock, kindred.” This passage affirms that all the human family are descended from the same ancestor; and that, consequently, all the variety of complexion, etc., is to be traced to some other cause than that they were originally different races created. See Malachi 2:10. The design of the apostle in this affirmation was probably to convince the Greeks that he regarded them all as brethren; that, although he was a Jew, yet he was not enslaved to any narrow notions or prejudices in reference to other people. It follows from the truth here stated that no one nation, and no individual, can claim any pre-eminence over others in virtue of birth or blood. All are in this respect equal; and the whole human family, however they may differ in complexion, customs, and laws, are to be regarded and treated as brethren. It follows, also, that no one part of the race has a right to enslave or oppress any other part, on account of difference of complexion. No one has a right because:
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not colored like his own; and having power
T‘ enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause to
Doom and devote him as his lawful prey.
For to dwell - To cultivate and until the earth. This was the original command Genesis 1:28; and God, by his providence, has so ordered it that the descendants of one family have found their way to all lands, and have become adapted to the climate where he has placed them.
And hath determined - Greek: ὁρίσας horisasHaving fixed, or marked out a boundary. See the notes on Romans 1:4. The word is usually applied to a field. It means here that God “marked out,” or “designated in his purpose,” their future abodes.
The times before appointed - This evidently refers to the dispersion and migration of nations. And it means that God had, in his plan, fixed the times when each country should be settled, and the rise, the prosperity, and the fall of each nation. The different continents and islands have not, therefore, been settled by chance, but by a wise rule, and in accordance with God‘s arrangement and design.
And the bounds of their habitation - Their limits and boundaries as a people. By customs, laws, inclinations, and habits he has fixed the boundaries of their habitations, and disposed them to dwell there. We may learn:
(1)That the revolutions and changes of nations are under the direction of infinite wisdom;
(2)That people should not be restless and dissatisfied with the place where God has located them;
(3)That God has given sufficient limits to all, so that it is not needful to invade others; and,
(4)That wars of conquest are evil.
God has given to people their places of abode, and we have no right to disturb those abodes, or to attempt to displace them in a violent manner. This strain of remark by the apostle was also opposed to all the notions of the Epicurean philosophers, and yet so obviously true and just that they could not gainsay or resist it.
Thus persecution followed the teachers of truth from city to city. The enemies of Christ could not prevent the advancement of the gospel, but they succeeded in making the work of the apostles exceedingly hard. Yet in the face of opposition and conflict, Paul pressed steadily forward, determined to carry out the purpose of God as revealed to him in the vision at Jerusalem: “I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Acts 22:21. AA 233.1
Paul's hasty departure from Berea deprived him of the opportunity he had anticipated of visiting the brethren at Thessalonica. AA 233.2
On arriving at Athens, the apostle sent the Berean brethren back with a message to Silas and Timothy to join him immediately. Timothy had come to Berea prior to Paul's departure, and with Silas had remained to carry on the work so well begun there, and to instruct the new converts in the principles of the faith. AA 233.3Read in context »
In former years the apostle had publicly proclaimed the faith of Christ with winning power, and by signs and miracles he had given unmistakable evidence of its divine character. With noble firmness he had risen up before the sages of Greece and by his knowledge and eloquence had put to silence the arguments of proud philosophy. With undaunted courage he had stood before kings and governors, and reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, until the haughty rulers trembled as if already beholding the terrors of the day of God. AA 462.1
No such opportunities were now granted the apostle, confined as he was to his own dwelling, and able to proclaim the truth to those only who sought him there. He had not, like Moses and Aaron, a divine command to go before the profligate king and in the name of the great I AM rebuke his cruelty and oppression. Yet it was at this very time, when its chief advocate was apparently cut off from public labor, that a great victory was won for the gospel; for from the very household of the king, members were added to the church. AA 462.2
Nowhere could there exist an atmosphere more uncongenial to Christianity than in the Roman court. Nero seemed to have obliterated from his soul the last trace of the divine, and even of the human, and to bear the impress of Satan. His attendants and courtiers were in general of the same character as himself—fierce, debased, and corrupt. To all appearance it would be impossible for Christianity to gain a foothold in the court and palace of Nero. AA 462.3Read in context »
See Paul at Athens before the council of the Areopagus, as he meets science with science, logic with logic, and philosophy with philosophy. Mark how, with the tact born of divine love, he points to Jehovah as “the Unknown God,” whom his hearers have ignorantly worshiped; and in words quoted from a poet of their own he pictures Him as a Father whose children they are. Hear him, in that age of caste, when the rights of man as man were wholly unrecognized, as he sets forth the great truth of human brotherhood, declaring that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” Then he shows how, through all the dealings of God with man, runs like a thread of gold His purpose of grace and mercy. He “hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.” Acts 17:23, 26, 27. Ed 67.1
Hear him in the court of Festus, when King Agrippa, convicted of the truth of the gospel, exclaims, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” With what gentle courtesy does Paul, pointing to his own chain, make answer, “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.” Acts 26:28, 29. Ed 67.2
Thus passed his life, as described in his own words, “in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” 2 Corinthians 11:26, 27. Ed 67.3Read in context »
The experience of the apostle Paul in meeting the philosophers of Athens has a lesson for us. In presenting the gospel before the court of the Areopagus, Paul met logic with logic, science with science, philosophy with philosophy. The wisest of his hearers were astonished and silenced. His words could not be controverted. But the effort bore little fruit. Few were led to accept the gospel. Henceforth Paul adopted a different manner of labor. He avoided elaborate arguments and discussion of theories, and in simplicity pointed men and women to Christ as the Saviour of sinners. Writing to the Corinthians of his work among them, he said: MH 214.1
“I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.... My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. MH 214.2
Again, in his letter to the Romans, he says: MH 215.1Read in context »