Acts 14:17

ESV Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
NIV Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.'
NASB yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.'
CSB although he did not leave himself without a witness, since he did what is good by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons and filling you with food and your hearts with joy."
NLT but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.'
KJV Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.

What does Acts 14:17 mean?

Paul and Barnabas are in a tough situation. They are in Lystra, trying to share the message that Jesus of Nazareth has come to offer forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. When a man born crippled hears their message and believes, God, through Paul, heals him. The crowd immediately forgets the message, focuses on the miracle, and decides Paul is the Greek god Hermes and Barnabas is Zeus. The only logical response, in their minds, is to offer sacrifices to the pair (Acts 14:8–13).

Now, Paul and Barnabas must convince the crowd they're not Greek gods, Greek gods are "vain things" (Acts 14:15), and there is a Creator God who has blessed them their entire lives.

Paul's message here reflects themes later scholars will refer to as "the book of nature," displayed in God's creation, and His "common grace," a concept Paul will also use with pagan philosophers in Athens (Acts 17:24–31). The "book of nature" is a theological term for what Paul will later write in Romans 1:19–21. The majesty, beauty, and benevolence of nature should be evidence enough that there is an all-powerful and benevolent Creator God.

God's common grace provides rain on the just and unjust, ensuring proper conditions for crop growth (Matthew 5:45; Genesis 8:22). And yet mankind is very adept at ignoring the evidence and developing theories that justify their desire to deny the existence and authority of Creator God. In the times of the Bible, people worshiped gods that were not gods, thinking a proper sacrifice would bring rain or fertility. Today, we take God's gift of science—designed to explain some of the wonders of His creation and based in an assumption that there is a God of order who created it all—and twist it to try to prove our existence doesn't require Him.

The false Greek gods, generations removed from their cruel ancestors who created the cosmos, bring uncertainty, fear, and violence. Presupposing God does not exist leaves people with no purpose in life except the survival of their genetic material. The Creator of the Universe, however, is a personal, loving Father who not only offers common grace to maintain life on earth but saving grace that offers eternal life, forgiveness, and relationship. Paul doesn't get the chance to share this God much longer. Soon, antagonists will arrive, and Paul will be stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19). Denying God's existence makes wise people fools (Romans 1:22–23).
What is the Gospel?
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