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In Him We Live And Move

Acts 17:28: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Albert Barnes* NT Commentary on Acts 17:28:

For in him we live. The expression in him evidently means by him; by his originally forming us, and continually sustaining us. No words can better express our constant dependence on him. He is the original Fountain of life; and he upholds us each moment. A similar sentiment is found in Plautus, (5, 4, 14:) O Jupiter, who dost cherish and nourish the race of man; by whom we live, and with whom is the hope of the life of all men. It does not appear, however, that Paul intended this as a quotation; yet he doubtless intended to state a sentiment with which they were familiar, and with which they would agree.

And move. Doddridge translates this, And are moved. It may, however, be in the middle voice, and be correctly rendered as in our version. It means that we derive strength to move from him; an expression denoting constant and absolute dependence. There is no idea of dependence more striking than that we owe to him the ability to perform the slightest motion.

And have our being. And are. This denotes that our continued existence is owing to him. That we live at all is his gift; that we have power to move is his gift; and our continued and prolonged existence is his gift also. Thus Paul traces our dependence on Him from the lowest pulsation of life to the highest powers of action and of continued existence. It would be impossible to express in more emphatic language our entire dependence on God.

The sentiment which he quotes was found substantially in several Greek poets.

Nehemiah 9:6: Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

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