Acts 17:25

25 nor is he served by human hands, 1as though he needed anything, since he himself 2gives to all mankind 3life and breath and everything.

Acts 17:25 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 17:25

Neither is worshipped with men's hands
Or "served" with them; or "ministered unto" by them, as the Syriac version renders it: and the sense is, that men by worshipping God do not give anything to him, that can be of any use or service to him; he, being God all sufficient, stands in need of nothing; for external worship is not here intended by worshipping with men's hands, in distinction from, and opposition to, internal worship, or to the worship of God with the heart; but that whether it be with the one or with the other, or both, nothing is given to God, as adding any thing to his essential glory and happiness:

as though he needed anything;
for he does not, he is "El Shaddai", God all sufficient; nor can anything be given to him, he has not; or otherwise all perfection would not be in him: but that he cannot be indigent of anything, appears from hence,

seeing he giveth to all life and breath;
or "the breath of life", as the Ethiopic version renders it; this God breathed into man at first, and he became a living soul; and every animate creature, everyone that has life and breath, have them from God; he gives them to them, and continues them:

and all things;
that are enjoyed by them, and are necessary for their subsistence, and for the comfort of life, and for both their use and profit, and for their delight and pleasure; wherefore he that gives them all things, cannot want anything himself, nor receive anything at their hands. This clause is left out in the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions.

Acts 17:25 In-Context

23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.'What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.
24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,

Cross References 3

  • 1. Psalms 50:8-12; [1 Chronicles 29:14, 16; Job 22:2]
  • 2. 1 Timothy 6:17; James 1:5, 17
  • 3. Genesis 2:7; Genesis 7:22; Job 33:4; [Job 27:3; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Zechariah 12:1]; See ver. 28
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.