Download Our New Romans Study Guide When You Subscribe to BST PLUS!

Acts 17:21

21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

Read Acts 17:21 Using Other Translations

(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
(It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)

What does Acts 17:21 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Acts 17:21

For all the Athenians
The natives of Athens, who were born and lived there, and were inhabitants of the city, and free of it:

and strangers which were there;
who came there from several parts of the world, to get wisdom and knowledge, to learn the several arts and sciences, and to attend the several sects of philosophers they made choice of:

spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some
new thing;
that is, they did so for the most part; and this was the complexion and taste of the generality of them; and with this agrees what Demosthenes himself says of them F13,

``we, says he (for the truth shall be said), sit here, (ouden poiountev) , "doing nothing"----inquiring in the court, (ei ti legetai newteron) , "whether any new thing is said."''

The character of such persons is given, and they are described in a very lively manner by Theophrastus F14. The Jewish doctors, at this time, were much of the same cast in their divinity schools; the usual question asked, when they met one another, was, (vwdx hm) , "what new thing" have you in the divinity school today F15?


F13 Respons. ad Philippi Epistolam.
F14 Ethic. character. p. 13.
F15 T. Hieros. Taanith, fol. 75. 4. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 14. fol. 212. 4.
California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice