Acts 17:26

26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.

Acts 17:26 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 17:26

And hath made of one blood
That is, of one man's blood; the Vulgate Latin version reads, "of one"; and the Arabic version of De Dieu reads, "of one man"; of Adam, the first parent of all mankind, and who had the blood of all men in his veins: hence the Jews F21 say,

``the first man was (Mlwe lv wmd) , "the blood of the world";''

and this by propagation has been derived from him, and communicated to all mankind. They also say F23, that

``the reason why man was created alone (or there was but one man created) was, on account of families, that they might not be stirred up one against another;''

that is, strive and contend with one another about pre-eminence: and they add,

``that the righteous might not say we are the sons of the righteous, and ye are the sons of the wicked.''

And it is a certain truth that follows upon this, that no man has any reason to vaunt over another, and boast of his blood and family; and as little reason have any to have any dependence upon their being the children of believers, or to distinguish themselves from others, and reject them as the children of unbelievers, when all belong to one family, and are of one man's blood, whether Adam or Noah: of whom are

all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth;
for from Adam sprung a race of men, which multiplied on the face of the earth, and peopled the world before the flood; these being destroyed by the flood, and Noah and his family saved, his descendants were scattered all over the earth, and repeopled it: and this is the original of all the nations of men, and of all the inhabitants of the earth; and stands opposed to the fabulous accounts of the Heathens, which the apostle might have in his view, that men at first grew up out of the earth, or after the flood were formed of stones, which Deucalion and Prometheus threw over their heads; and particularly the Athenians boasted that they sprung out of the earth, which Diogenes ridiculed as common with mice and worms. But the apostle ascribes all to one blood:

and hath determined the times before appointed;
how long the world he has made shall continue; and the several distinct periods, ages, and generations, in which such and such men should live, such and such nations should exist, and such monarchies should be in being, as the Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman, and how long they should subsist; as also the several seasons of the year, as seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night; and which are so bounded, and kept so distinct in their revolutions, as not to interfere with, and encroach upon each other; and likewise the several years, months, and days of every man's life; see ( Job 7:1 ) ( 14:5 ) to which may be added, the times of the law and Gospel; the time of Christ's birth and death; the time of the conversion of particular persons; and all their times of desertion, temptation, affliction, and comfort; the times of the church's sufferings, both under Rome Pagan and Rome Papal; of the holy city being trodden under foot, of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, and of their being killed, and their bodies lying unburied, and of their resurrection and ascension to heaven, ( Revelation 2:10 ) ( 12:6 ) ( Revelation 11:2 Revelation 11:3 Revelation 11:9 Revelation 11:11 ) ( Revelation 11:12 ) the time of antichrist's reign and ruin, ( Revelation 13:5 ) and of Christ's personal coming, and the day of judgment, ( 1 Timothy 6:15 ) ( Acts 17:31 ) and of his reign on earth for a thousand years, ( 20:4-6 ) . All these are appointed times, and determined by the Creator and Governor of the world:

and the bounds of their habitation;
where men shall dwell, and how long they shall continue there the age or distinct period of time, in which every man was, or is to come into the world, is fixed and determined by God; nor can, nor does anyone come into the world sooner or later than that time; and also the particular country, city, town, and spot of ground where he shall dwell; and the term of time how long he shall dwell there, and then remove to another place, or be removed by death. And to this agrees the Ethiopic version, which renders the whole thus, "and hath appointed his times, and his years, how long they shall dwell"; see ( Deuteronomy 32:8 ) to which the apostle seems to refer.


F21 Caphtor, fol. 37. 2.
F23 T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 22. 2.

Acts 17:26 In-Context

24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples,
25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.
26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.
28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Greek From one; other manuscripts read From one blood.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.