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Acts 10

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Peter and Cornelius

1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of 1what was known as the Italian Cohort,
2 a devout man 2who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.
3 3About the ninth hour of the day[a]4he saw clearly in a vision 5an angel of God come in and say to him, "Cornelius."
4 And he stared at him in terror and said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms 6have ascended 7as a memorial before God.
5 And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter.
6 He is lodging 8with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea."
7 When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him,
8 and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Peter's Vision

9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, 9Peter went up 10on the housetop about 11the sixth hour[b] to pray.
10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into 12a trance
11 and saw 13the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.
12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.
13 And there came a voice to him: "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."
14 But Peter said, "By no means, Lord; 14for I have never eaten anything that is 15common or 16unclean."
15 And the voice came to him again a second time, 17"What God has made clean, do not call common."
16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
17 Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what 18the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, 19the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood at the gate
18 and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there.
19 And while Peter was pondering 20the vision, 21the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you.
20 Rise and go down and 22accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them."
21 And Peter went down to the men and said, "I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?"
22 And they said, "Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and 23God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by 24a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and 25to hear what you have to say."
23 So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and 26some of 27the brothers from Joppa accompanied him.
24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and 28fell down at his feet and 29worshiped him.
26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, 30"Stand up; I too am a man."
27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered.
28 And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew 31to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but 32God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.
29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me."
30 And Cornelius said, 33"Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at 34the ninth hour,[c] and behold, 35a man stood before me in bright clothing
31 and said, 'Cornelius, 36your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.
32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.'
33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord."

Gentiles Hear the Good News

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that 37God 38shows no partiality,
35 but 39in every nation anyone who fears him and 40does what is right is acceptable to him.
36 As for 41the word that he sent to Israel, 42preaching good news of 43peace through Jesus Christ (44he is Lord of all),
37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, 45beginning 46from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed:
38 how 47God anointed Jesus of Nazareth 48with the Holy Spirit and with 49power. He went about doing good and healing all 50who were oppressed by the devil, 51for God was with him.
39 And 52we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. 53They put him to death by hanging him on a tree,
40 but 54God raised him on 55the third day and made him to 56appear,
41 57not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as 58witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
42 And 59he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify 60that he is the one appointed by God to be judge 61of the living and the dead.
43 62To him 63all the prophets bear witness that 64everyone who believes in him receives 65forgiveness of sins 66through his name."

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

44 While Peter was still saying these things, 67the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.
45 And the believers from among 68the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because 69the gift of the Holy Spirit 70was poured out even on the Gentiles.
46 For they were hearing them 71speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared,
47 72"Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit 73just as we have?"
48 And he 74commanded them 75to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

Acts 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

Cornelius directed to send for Peter. (1-8) Peter's vision. (9-18) He goes to Cornelius. (19-33) His discourse to Cornelius. (34-43) The gifts of the Holy Spirit poured out. (44-48)

Verses 1-8 Hitherto none had been baptized into the Christian church but Jews, Samaritans, and those converts who had been circumcised and observed the ceremonial law; but now the Gentiles were to be called to partake all the privileges of God's people, without first becoming Jews. Pure and undefiled religion is sometimes found where we least expect it. Wherever the fear of God rules in the heart, it will appear both in works of charity and of piety, neither will excuse from the other. Doubtless Cornelius had true faith in God's word, as far as he understood it, though not as yet clear faith in Christ. This was the work of the Spirit of God, through the mediation of Jesus, even before Cornelius knew him, as is the case with us all when we, who before were dead in sin, are made alive. Through Christ also his prayers and alms were accepted, which otherwise would have been rejected. Without dispute or delay Cornelius was obedient to the heavenly vision. In the affairs of our souls, let us not lose time.

Verses 9-18 The prejudices of Peter against the Gentiles, would have prevented his going to Cornelius, unless the Lord had prepared him for this service. To tell a Jew that God had directed those animals to be reckoned clean which were hitherto deemed unclean, was in effect saying, that the law of Moses was done away. Peter was soon made to know the meaning of it. God knows what services are before us, and how to prepare us; and we know the meaning of what he has taught us, when we find what occasion we have to make use of it.

Verses 19-33 When we see our call clear to any service, we should not be perplexed with doubts and scruples arising from prejudices or former ideas. Cornelius had called together his friends, to partake with him of the heavenly wisdom he expected from Peter. We should not covet to eat our spiritual morsels alone. It ought to be both given and taken as kindness and respect to our kindred and friends, to invite them to join us in religious exercises. Cornelius declared the direction God gave him to send for Peter. We are right in our aims in attending a gospel ministry, when we do it with regard to the Divine appointment requiring us to make use of that ordinance. How seldom ministers are called to speak to such companies, however small, in which it may be said that they are all present in the sight of God, to hear all things that are commanded of God! But these were ready to hear what Peter was commanded of God to say.

Verses 34-43 Acceptance cannot be obtained on any other ground than that of the covenant of mercy, through the atonement of Christ; but wherever true religion is found, God will accept it without regarding names or sects. The fear of God and works of righteousness are the substance of true religion, the effects of special grace. Though these are not the cause of a man's acceptance, yet they show it; and whatever may be wanting in knowledge or faith, will in due time be given by Him who has begun it. They knew in general the word, that is, the gospel, which God sent to the children of Israel. The purport of this word was, that God by it published the good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ. They knew the several matters of fact relating to the gospel. They knew the baptism of repentance which John preached. Let them know that this Jesus Christ, by whom peace is made between God and man, is Lord of all; not only as over all, God blessed for evermore, but as Mediator. All power, both in heaven and in earth, is put into his hand, and all judgment committed to him. God will go with those whom he anoints; he will be with those to whom he has given his Spirit. Peter then declares Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the proofs of it. Faith has reference to a testimony, and the Christian faith is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on the testimony given by them. See what must be believed concerning him. That we are all accountable to Christ as our Judge; so every one must seek his favour, and to have him as our Friend. And if we believe in him, we shall all be justified by him as our Righteousness. The remission of sins lays a foundation for all other favours and blessings, by taking that out of the way which hinders the bestowing of them. If sin be pardoned, all is well, and shall end well for ever.

Verses 44-48 The Holy Ghost fell upon others after they were baptized, to confirm them in the faith; but upon these Gentiles before they were baptized, to show that God does not confine himself to outward signs. The Holy Ghost fell upon those who were neither circumcised nor baptized; it is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. They magnified God, and spake of Christ and the benefits of redemption. Whatever gift we are endued with, we ought to honour God with it. The believing Jews who were present, were astonished that the gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also. By mistaken notions of things, we make difficult for ourselves as to the methods of Divine providence and grace. As they were undeniably baptized with the Holy Ghost, Peter concluded they were not to be refused the baptism of water, and the ordinance was administered. The argument is conclusive; can we deny the sign to those who have received the things signified? Those who have some acquaintance with Christ, cannot but desire more. Even those who have received the Holy Ghost, must see their need of daily learning more of the truth.

Cross References 75

  • 1. Matthew 27:27; Mark 15:16; John 18:3, 12
  • 2. ver. 22; Acts 13:16, 26
  • 3. See Acts 3:1
  • 4. ver. 17, 19
  • 5. See Acts 8:26
  • 6. Revelation 8:4; [Psalms 141:2; Daniel 10:12]
  • 7. Matthew 26:13; Mark 14:9; [ver. 31; Hebrews 6:10]
  • 8. Acts 9:43
  • 9. For ver. 9-32, see Acts 11:5-14
  • 10. [2 Kings 23:12; Jeremiah 19:13; Jeremiah 32:29; Zephaniah 1:5]; See 1 Samuel 9:25
  • 11. Psalms 55:17
  • 12. Acts 22:17
  • 13. See John 1:51
  • 14. Ezekiel 4:14; Daniel 1:8
  • 15. ver. 28
  • 16. Leviticus 11:2-47; Leviticus 20:25; Deuteronomy 14:4-20
  • 17. Rom. 14:2, 14, 20; 1 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:15; [Matthew 15:11; Mark 7:15, 19; 1 Corinthians 10:25]
  • 18. ver. 3
  • 19. ver. 7, 8
  • 20. [See ver. 17 above]
  • 21. See Acts 8:29
  • 22. [Acts 15:7-9]
  • 23. See ver. 2
  • 24. See Mark 8:38
  • 25. Acts 11:14
  • 26. ver. 45; [Acts 11:12]
  • 27. See John 21:23
  • 28. Acts 16:29; Daniel 2:46
  • 29. See Matthew 8:2
  • 30. Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:8, 9; [Acts 14:15]
  • 31. [Acts 11:3; John 4:9; John 18:28; Galatians 2:12]
  • 32. [ver. 35]; See ver. 14, 15
  • 33. ver. 9, 23, 24
  • 34. See Acts 3:1
  • 35. [Acts 1:10]
  • 36. See ver. 4
  • 37. [ver. 28; Acts 15:19; Deuteronomy 1:17; Romans 3:29]; See Deuteronomy 10:17
  • 38. Proverbs 24:23; James 2:1, 9; [Jude 16]
  • 39. [See ver. 34 above]
  • 40. Isaiah 64:5
  • 41. Acts 13:26; Psalms 107:20; Psalms 147:18, 19
  • 42. Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15; Ephesians 2:17
  • 43. See Luke 2:14
  • 44. Romans 10:12; [Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16]; See Acts 2:36; Matthew 28:18
  • 45. Luke 24:47
  • 46. Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14
  • 47. [Matthew 3:16; John 1:32, 33]; See Acts 4:26
  • 48. [Acts 1:2; Acts 2:22; Matthew 12:28; Luke 4:18; Romans 1:4]
  • 49. [Luke 6:19]
  • 50. See Matthew 4:24; Luke 13:16
  • 51. See John 8:29; John 10:38
  • 52. ver. 41; See Acts 2:32; Luke 24:48
  • 53. Acts 5:30
  • 54. See Acts 2:24
  • 55. See Luke 9:22
  • 56. Acts 1:3
  • 57. [John 14:21, 22]
  • 58. ver. 39
  • 59. See Acts 1:2
  • 60. Acts 17:31; Acts 24:25; John 5:22, 27; 2 Corinthians 5:10; See Matthew 16:27
  • 61. 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5; [Romans 14:9, 10; 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17]
  • 62. Acts 26:22; Romans 3:21; [Jeremiah 31:34]
  • 63. Acts 3:18, 24; Luke 24:27
  • 64. Acts 11:17; Acts 13:38; Acts 15:9; Romans 9:33; Romans 10:11; Galatians 3:22
  • 65. Acts 5:31
  • 66. Acts 2:38; Acts 4:12; John 20:31; 1 John 2:12
  • 67. Acts 11:15; Acts 15:8; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; See Acts 2:4
  • 68. ver. 23; [Acts 11:2]
  • 69. See Acts 2:38
  • 70. See Acts 2:17
  • 71. See Mark 16:17
  • 72. Acts 8:36
  • 73. Acts 2:4; Acts 11:17; Acts 15:8
  • 74. [1 Corinthians 1:14-17]
  • 75. Acts 2:38; See Acts 8:12, 16

Footnotes 3

Acts 10 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.