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.
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.
For in him we live and move and exist.
- (ASV) and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation;
- (BBE) And he has made of one blood all the nations of men living on all the face of the earth, ordering their times and the limits of their lands,
- (CEV) From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be.
- (EMTV) And He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell upon all the face of the earth, and He ordained their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
- (ERV) God began by making one man, and from him he made all the different people who live everywhere in the world. He decided exactly when and where they would live.
- (ESV) And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
- (GW) From one man he has made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth. He has given them the seasons of the year and the boundaries within which to live.
- (ISV) From one man he made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth, fixing the seasons of the year and the national boundaries within which they live,
- (JUB) and has made of one blood all the lineage of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and has determined the seasons (which he has limited) and the bounds of their habitation;
- (KJV) And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
- (LITV) And He made every nation of men of one blood, to live on all the face of the earth, ordaining fore-appointed seasons and boundaries of their dwelling,
- (MKJV) And He has made all nations of men of one blood to dwell on all the face of the earth, ordaining fore-appointed seasons and boundaries of their dwelling,
- (MSG) Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living
- (NLT) 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.
- (PICKERING) And from one blood He made every ethnic nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
- (RV) and he made of one every nation of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation;
- (TLB) He created all the people of the world from one man, Adam, and scattered the nations across the face of the earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and when. He determined their boundaries.
- (TLV) From one He made every nation of men to live on the face of the earth, having set appointed times and the boundaries of their territory.
I have given you a comparison of translations to ponder over until the next Gems. I have said in class many times when there is considerable variation between the translations something is going on behind the text. Significant differences between the versions indicate difficulty in the text in the original language. Not only that but here we have some important concepts that we need to think about.
- What was Paul saying here?
- Have we got the message right?
I am sure you can come up with your own questions on this one. But here are some to start you off:
- Is it true that all the nations came from one man, Adam?
- Why do some translations have “blood” and some have “nations”?
- Does God really determine the boundaries and the times of nations?
- What is the meaning of nations seeking after God and feeling their way toward Him?
There are some very interesting concepts expressed in these verses. Some I am sure you will want to take issue with. Many times when it comes to statements in the Bible there is depth beneath the surface of a simple statement. The approach of many of us when confronted with an enigmatic statement is to back off and leave it alone. As some young people have told me in Deeper Bible, the depth of the Bible fries their brain. For those of you who are speakers or readers of English as a second language, enigmatic means: mysterious, puzzling, inexplicable, baffling, confusing, impenetrable, unexplainable, incomprehensible.
Well my challenge to you is not to leave it as though it were unknowable. That’s the time to dig deeper. I owe my Greek Professor Basil Brown for the challenge he gave us as a class at first year, second year and third year level to keep going deeper. He would say “there is gold here class, but you have to dig for it”. Some Gems ago I quoted Einstein as saying, it’s not that I am a genius, it’s just that I stay with the question longer. That’s the secret. Stay on top of the puzzle until you understand it better. The depth of the Bible is really unfathomable. It is mind boggling how deep the Word of God is. Rabbis say each verse has seventy facets, like a jewel and can be interpreted in four different ways. That scares some people off. But my advice and the advice of my mentors is to strap on an aqualung and keep going down. Suffice to say at this point there is a significant contrast in this section between out of one blood / man / nation [ex henos haimatos] He made every nation [pan ethnos anthropos] “out of one” “every ethnos of man”. This section is full of interesting ideas. Allow me leave you with a favourite new author’s comments as my quote for this Gem.
The ocean is so deep in places that no person, however capable a swimmer, could survive its extremities. But when the ocean touches the land, the water is so shallow and the waves lapping the beach are so gentle that even a toddler can safely play there. Like the ocean, the Bible’s depths can never be fathomed. Even after a lifetime of study, the most brilliant theologians admit they’ve only begun to plumb its depths. The Bible can be intimidating and yet approachable at the same time.Deron Spoo