Acts 17:26 – The Family of Man



Acts 17:26 – The Family of Man

Article description: The family of man is one, and the Bible was right about this issue 2000 years ago!

When Paul proclaimed the gospel of Christ in Athens, Greece, he set forth a number of profound truths regarding the Creator (the God not known by the Greeks—Acts 17:23). One of these truths is the fact that the human family shares a common origin. The apostle declared: ”… he [God] made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26, ASV). [Note: the KJV “one blood” is not supported by the best manuscript evidence.]

Of special interest here is the expression “of one.” It translates the Greek ex henos, literally “out of one male”—henos being a masculine form. The allusion is obviously to the Genesis record and our ancestry in Adam. And so, circle the term “of” and in your margin note: Out of. Then mark “one” and record: Masculine; one man, Adam.

In his inspired affirmation of the unity of humankind, Paul was contradicting the philosophy of ancient culture. The Greeks entertained a disposition of ethnic exclusiveness—all others were barbarians (barbaros—cf. Rom. 1:14), and similarly the Egyptians referred to non-Egyptians as the berber (W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary, I, p. 98). The apostle’s presentation undermined this ideology, because unfounded ethnic distinctions are to be obliterated “in Christ” (cf. Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11).

Actually, Paul’s declaration was ahead of our own time. As late as World War II, the Red Cross segregated “Negro blood” from “Caucasian blood” for transfusion purposes, believing there was a genetic distinction between the races (Ashley Montagu, Human Heredity, p. 58). It is now scientifically known that all human beings are just that—humans.

The family of man is one, and the Bible was right about this issue 2000 years ago!

–Wayne Jackson

© 2002 by Christian Courier Publications.

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