“For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”
King James Version (KJV)
17:23 I found an altar - Some suppose this was set up by Socrates, to express in a covert way his devotion to the only true God, while he derided the plurality of the heathen gods, for which he was condemned to death: and others, that whoever erected this altar, did it in honour to the God of Israel, of whom there was no image, and whose name Jehovah was never made known to the idolatrous Gentiles. Him proclaim I unto you - Thus he fixes the wandering attention of these blind philosophers; proclaiming to them an unknown, and yet not a new God.
Ac 17:23 THE UNKNOWN GOD. Besides thousands of altars and statues of deities whom they named, this altar was dedicated to the "Unknown", as if to some deity whose presence they felt, but whom they did not comprehend. This Unknown, he announces, I declare to you. Ancient writers speak of altars at Athens to the unknown God, or gods. Such an introduction was well calculated to fix the attention of his critical audience.