In the CSB it appears that they are:

[Act 15:17 CSB] (17) "so the rest of humanity may seek the Lord -- even all the Gentiles who are called by my name -- declares the Lord who makes these things

In the NLT the gentiles are a subset:

[Act 15:17 NLT] (17) so that the rest of humanity might seek the LORD, including the Gentiles--all those I have called to be mine. The LORD has spoken--

[Act 15:17 MGNT] (17) ὅπως ἂν ἐκζητήσωσιν οἱ κατάλοιποι τῶν ἀνθρώπων τὸν κύριον καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἐφ’ οὓς ἐπικέκληται τὸ ὄνομά μου ἐπ’ αὐτούς λέγει κύριος ποιῶν ταῦτα

What makes this ambiguous perhaps is καὶ can be use as "and" or "even".


[Amo 9:12 NASB] (12) That they may possess the remnant of Edom And all the nations who are called by My name," Declares the LORD who does this.

Brenton LXX 12 (LXX 1:11) that the remnant of men, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, may earnestly seek , saith the Lord who does all these things.

[Amo 9:12 LXX] (12) ὅπως ἐκζητήσωσιν οἱ κατάλοιποι τῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἐφ᾽ οὓς ἐπικέκληται τὸ ὄνομά μου ἐπ᾽ αὐτούς λέγει κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ ποιῶν ταῦτα

This is from the Dead Sea scrolls of Amos 9:

12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations who are called by my name,” says Yahweh who does this.

  • I don't see a difference in the translations. "Even" can mean "including". Consider this sentence: "I have invited everyone to my party, even Fred." So I disagree with you that the CSB translation implies identity of groups. I would read both the Greek and the translations as a focus on a particular group within a larger set. Aug 5, 2019 at 20:25
  • Yes, "even can mean including" but how would it work here because it would make the elect to be "Fred". Even Fred?
    – Ruminator
    Aug 5, 2019 at 20:34
  • I'm not sure what your idea of "the elect" is, so I may be missing the point. But to continue the analogy I'm saying it doesn't make the elect to be Fred. It makes the elect to include Fred. That's the whole point. The sets are not the same. He's naming all who are saved, then he's zooming in to emphasise a subset of the total group. Aug 5, 2019 at 21:30
  • It is my understanding that when when you use the word kai as "even" from koine it is a parallelism where the second is the same as the first, not suggesting that the second is an unappealing choice. "Fred" is the 144,000 first fruits, "the lost sheep of Israel", the bride of Christ. The rest of mankind are the gentiles.
    – Ruminator
    Aug 5, 2019 at 21:39

2 Answers 2


An overly literal translation of Acts 15:17ab might read:

So that the rest/remnant of mankind might seek out the Lord

Even all the nations/gentiles upon whom has been called the name of me over them

[The second phrase might be even better rendered as "all the nations upon whom my name has been invoked/called" suggesting those who are called to take the name of the Lord.]

In the above, "even" translates the word καὶ (kai), which in this context could function either as a marker of synthetic parallelism, or, as a marker of an explicative clause for the purpose of explaining what goes before. (See BDAG, #1c and #1b.)

In either case, because the verse is a quote (via the LXX) from Hebrew, it definitely a parallelism and so "rest/remnant of mankind" is parallel to "all the nations/gentiles". Many versions also more compactly render, "upon whom has been called the name of me over them" as simply "who are called by my name", or, "who bear my name", or similar, because they correctly recognise this as an Aramaic idiom (See Cambridge Commentary, see James 2:7). However, this English version could be misunderstood as only apply to those who had decided to become Christians rather than all those called to become Christians, but this is a subtle point that should no delay us here.

Therefore, it appears that "the rest of mankind" and "all the nations who are called by may name" (ie, Christians, Acts 11:26, etc) are two ways of expressing the same group.

  • Why can't it be a simple "and"?
    – Ruminator
    Aug 5, 2019 at 23:19
  • 1
    It could be but this does not convey all the possible meaning in the original. In fact, BDAG actually suggests that in such constructions, it could be translated "namely", or, "and so", "that is", etc. The problem with "and" in English is it functions as a cumulative co-ordinating conjunction and so separates the list into different categories rather than allowing synthetic parallelism.,
    – user25930
    Aug 5, 2019 at 23:32

If what macsmusings suggests is correct (and I think he is) then Amos (as quoted and used by James in Acts 15) would be referring exclusively to the lost sheep of Israel who were absorbed into the nations - the 144,000 that God promised to send hunters to fish out and hunters to hunt for in the hills:

[Eze 34:11-16 NASB] (11) For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. (12) "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. (13) "I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. (14) "I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. (15) "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord GOD. (16) "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.

God's name being upon them refers to God' promise to resurrect Israel:

[Eze 37:11-14, 26-27 NASB] (11) Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.' (12) "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. (13) "Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. (14) "I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it," declares the LORD.'" ... (26) "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. (27) "My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.

The "remnant of men" is the "gentiles on whom my name is called", which is the remnant of Israel's northern kingdom and southern kingdom united into one "stick".

[Eze 37:24-28 NASB] (24) "My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. (25) "They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. (26) "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. (27) "My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. (28) "And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever."'"

  • My answer to this question should not be construed as making any comment about the interpretation of Amos 9:11, 12; the interpretation of this OT passage is a separate matter as it has been changed when it arrived in the NT.
    – user25930
    Aug 6, 2019 at 1:04
  • I clarified the answer. Also, in the LXX it is clearly "and".
    – Ruminator
    Aug 6, 2019 at 1:09

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