Acts 17:27

ESV that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
NIV God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
NASB that they would seek God, if perhaps they might feel around for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
CSB He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
NLT 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.
KJV 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:

What does Acts 17:27 mean?

A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers are hearing from Paul in Athens. He is connecting their altar to "the unknown god" and the words of their poets to the true Creator God who will judge mankind. He has already compared the unknown god to the Creator of the world who is too magnificent to be confined in human-built temples and too powerful to need anything from humans. In fact, this God determines where and when individual people as well as empires will exist (Acts 17:22–26).

Paul now brings this mighty God closer to His creation. God's plan in establishing nations is to encourage people to seek Him. As he will say in his letter to the Romans:
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse" (Romans 1:19–20).
Paul will go on to show that God can't be far away because even the Greek poets have said that God gives people life. Further, the poets say that we are His offspring. But if we are, it is foolish to think God could be represented by an immobile statue designed by human imagination and made by human hands (Acts 17:28–29). To worship such an idol is ignorant foolishness; once people realize this, they must repent (Acts 17:30; Romans 1:22–23). Such affront against God will not go unjudged (Acts 17:31).

The Epicureans, in particular, find this hard to take. Like most Greeks, they believed the gods were far off, for the most part uninterested in human affairs. Faithful sacrifices may keep them occupied and even occasionally entice them to give blessings, but the gods don't go out of their way to seek relationships with humans. Furthermore, Epicureans did not believe in the soul, judgment after death, or the resurrection of the dead. They lived for sufficient food, comfort, and friends to live a peaceful, balanced life. In fact, these philosophers were probably closet atheists who didn't take the gods seriously, anyway. Some mock Paul as he walks away, some want to hear more, and a handful accept Jesus' offer of forgiveness (Acts 17:32–34).
What is the Gospel?
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