In Acts 11:20, of the words Ἕλληνας and Ἑλληνιστάς, which reading is more probable according to textual criticism? Which reading is more probable according to context? What is the meaning of each word?

2 Answers 2


Ἕλληνας or Hellene = Greeks. Ἑλληνιστάς refers to Hellenist, simply someone who is Greek in language and culture but was not from Greek ancestry (i.e. American Chinese who was born and has lived his/her whole life in the US). While some of the Hellenist might be of Jewish ancestry, some were not. This is consistent with the vision received by Peter in Chapter 10, that God is willing to reveal himself to the gentiles (non-Jewish).


If we take DBAG at face value then Ἑλληνιστάς refers to "Greek speaking Jews" then in context Ἕλληνας" is the most likely reading:

Acts 11:19-20 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.

Why would the writer say as they travelled they preached to the Jews, but some preached to the Jews who spoke Greek? That seems a little redundant to me

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