Acts of Apostles 10:1-48

10  Now there was a man in Caes·a·reʹa named Cornelius, an army officer in what was called the Italian unit.  He was a devout man who feared God together with all his household, and he made many gifts of mercy to the people and made supplication to God continually.  About the ninth hour+ of the day, he saw plainly in a vision an angel of God come in to him and say: “Cornelius!”  Cornelius stared at him, terrified, and asked: “What is it, Lord?” He said to him: “Your prayers and gifts of mercy have ascended as a remembrance before God.+  So now send men to Jopʹpa and summon a man named Simon who is called Peter.  This man is staying as a guest with* Simon, a tanner who has a house by the sea.”  As soon as the angel who spoke to him left, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who were his attendants,  and he related everything to them and sent them to Jopʹpa.  The next day as they were continuing on their journey and were approaching the city, Peter went up to the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10  But he became very hungry and wanted to eat. While they were preparing the meal, he fell into a trance+ 11  and saw heaven opened and something* descending like a great linen sheet being let down by its four corners on the earth; 12  and in it were all sorts of four-footed animals and reptiles* of the earth and birds of heaven. 13  Then a voice said to him: “Get up, Peter, slaughter* and eat!” 14  But Peter said: “Not at all, Lord, because I have never eaten anything defiled and unclean.”+ 15  And the voice spoke again to him, the second time: “Stop calling defiled the things God has cleansed.” 16  This happened a third time, and immediately it* was taken up into heaven. 17  While Peter was still perplexed about what the vision he had seen could mean, just then the men sent by Cornelius asked where Simon’s house was and stood there at the gate.+ 18  They called out and inquired whether Simon who was called Peter was a guest there. 19  As Peter was still pondering over the vision, the spirit+ said: “Look! Three men are asking for you. 20  So get up, go downstairs and go with them, not doubting at all, because I have sent them.” 21  Then Peter went downstairs to the men and said: “Here I am, the one you are looking for. Why are you here?” 22  They said: “Cornelius,+ an army officer, a righteous and God-fearing man who is well-reported-on by the whole nation of the Jews, was given divine instructions by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” 23  So he invited them in and had them stay as his guests. The next day he got up and went off with them, and some of the brothers from Jopʹpa went with him. 24  The following day he entered into Caes·a·reʹa. Cornelius, of course, was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25  As Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell down at his feet, and did obeisance to him. 26  But Peter lifted him up, saying: “Rise; I too am just a man.”+ 27  As he conversed with him, he went in and found many people assembled. 28  He said to them: “You well know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or approach a man of another nation,+ and yet God has shown me that I should call no man defiled or unclean.+ 29  So I came, really without objection, when I was sent for. Therefore, I ask you why you sent for me.” 30  Then Cornelius said: “Four days ago counting from this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour; just then a man in bright clothing stood in front of me 31  and said: ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been favorably heard, and your gifts of mercy have been remembered before God.+ 32  Therefore, send to Jopʹpa and call for Simon who is called Peter. This man is a guest in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’+ 33  I then sent for you at once, and you were kind enough to come here. So now we are all present before God to hear all the things you have been commanded by Jehovah to say.” 34  At this Peter began to speak, and he said: “Now I truly understand that God is not partial,+ 35  but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.+ 36  He sent out the word to the sons of Israel to declare to them the good news of peace+ through Jesus Christ—this one is Lord of all.+ 37  You know the subject that was talked about throughout all Ju·deʹa, starting from Galʹi·lee+ after the baptism that John preached:+ 38  about Jesus who was from Nazʹa·reth, how God anointed him with holy spirit+ and power, and he went through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil,+ because God was with him.+ 39  And we are witnesses of all the things he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; but they did away with him by hanging him on a stake.+ 40  God raised this one up on the third day+ and allowed him to become manifest,* 41  not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after his rising from the dead.+ 42  Also, he ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness+ that this is the one decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.+ 43  To him all the prophets bear witness,+ that everyone putting faith in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”+ 44  While Peter was still speaking about these matters, the holy spirit came upon all those hearing the word.+ 45  And the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also on people of the nations. 46  For they heard them speaking in foreign languages and magnifying God.+ Then Peter responded: 47  “Can anyone deny water to prevent these from being baptized+ who have received the holy spirit just as we have?” 48  With that he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.+ Then they requested him to stay for some days.


Or “being entertained by.”
Lit., “some sort of object (vessel).”
Or “creeping things.”
Or “sacrifice.”
Lit., “the object (vessel).”
Or “to become visible; to be seen.”

Study Notes

an army officer: Or “a centurion.” A centurion was in command of about 100 soldiers in the Roman army.

what was called the Italian unit: This was probably a cohort, so named to distinguish it from the regular Roman legions. A cohort in full strength consisted of about 600 men, that is, about one tenth of the number in a legion. (See study note on Mt 26:53.) There is verification that the Second Italian Cohort of Roman Citizen Volunteers (Latin, Cohors II Italica voluntariorum civium Romanorum) was present in Syria in 69 C.E., and some have suggested that this was the Italian unit mentioned here.

About the ninth hour of the day: That is, about 3:00 p.m.​—See study note on Mt 20:3.

Simon, a tanner: A tanner worked with the hides of animals, using a lime solution to remove any fur or traces of flesh and fat. Then he treated the hide with a potent liquor so that it could be used to make articles of leather. The tanning process smelled bad and required a great deal of water, which may explain why Simon lived by the sea, likely on the outskirts of Joppa. According to the Mosaic Law, a person who worked with the carcasses of animals was ceremonially unclean. (Le 5:2; 11:39) Therefore, many Jews looked down on tanners and would hesitate to lodge with one. In fact, the Talmud later rated the tanner’s profession as lower than that of a dung collector. However, Peter did not let prejudice keep him from staying with Simon. Peter’s open-mindedness in this case makes an interesting prelude to the assignment that came next​—visiting a Gentile in his home. Some scholars consider the Greek word for “tanner” (byr·seusʹ) to be a surname of Simon.

the housetop: The roofs of houses were flat and were used for many purposes, including storage (Jos 2:6), rest (2Sa 11:2), sleep (1Sa 9:26), festivals for worship (Ne 8:16-18), and as a private place to pray. When Peter prayed on the rooftop, he was not being like the hypocrites who made sure that they were seen while praying. (Mt 6:5) A parapet around the flat roof likely hid him from view. (De 22:8) The roof was also a place to relax and escape street noise in the evening.​—See study note on Mt 24:17.

about the sixth hour: That is, about 12:00 noon.​—See study note on Mt 20:3.

a trance: The Greek word ekʹsta·sis (from ek, meaning “out of,” and staʹsis, meaning “standing”) refers to a person’s being cast out of his normal state of mind because of amazement, astonishment, or a vision from God. The Greek word is rendered “ecstasy” (Mr 5:42), “amazement” (Lu 5:26), and “overwhelmed with emotion” (Mr 16:8). In the book of Acts, the word is connected with divine action. Apparently, the holy spirit would, at times, superimpose on a person’s mind a vision or a picture of God’s purpose while the person was in a state of deep concentration or a sleeplike condition. An individual in a trance would be oblivious of his physical surroundings and would be receptive to a vision.​—See study note on Ac 22:17.

was given divine instructions: The Greek verb khre·ma·tiʹzo appears nine times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (Mt 2:12, 22; Lu 2:26; Ac 10:22; 11:26; Ro 7:3; Heb 8:5; 11:7; 12:25) In most occurrences, the word has a clear connection with things having divine origin. For example, the verb is here used together with the expression “by a holy angel.” At Mt 2:12, 22, it is used in connection with divinely inspired dreams. The related noun khre·ma·ti·smosʹ appears at Ro 11:4, and most lexicons and translations use such renderings as “divine pronouncement; divine response; God’s reply; the answer of God.” Here at Ac 10:22, one translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J18 in App. C4) reads “was given a command of Jehovah.”​—See study note on Ac 11:26.

did obeisance to him: Or “bowed down to him; prostrated himself to him; paid him homage.” When Jesus was on earth, people did obeisance to him, and he did not reprove them. (Lu 5:12; Joh 9:38) This was because Jesus was the heir to the throne of David and was rightfully honored as a king. (Mt 21:9; Joh 12:13-15) Also, in the Hebrew Scriptures, people are said to bow down when meeting prophets, kings, or other representatives of God, who accepted the honor. (1Sa 25:23, 24; 2Sa 14:4-7; 1Ki 1:16; 2Ki 4:36, 37) However, when Cornelius bowed down to Peter and did obeisance to him, Peter refused to accept this honor and told him: “Rise; I too am just a man.” (Ac 10:26) The teachings of Christ apparently introduced new standards of conduct between human servants of God. Jesus taught his disciples: “One is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. . . . Your Leader is one, the Christ.”​—Mt 23:8-12.

how unlawful it is for a Jew: The Jewish religious leaders in Peter’s day taught that anyone who entered a Gentile’s home would become ceremonially unclean. (Joh 18:28) However, the Law given through Moses made no specific injunction against this type of association. In addition, the wall separating Jews from Gentiles was removed when Jesus gave his life as a ransom and the new covenant was established. In doing so, Jesus made “the two groups one.” (Eph 2:11-16) Yet, even after Pentecost 33 C.E., the early disciples were slow to grasp the significance of what Jesus had done. In fact, Jewish Christians took many years to free themselves of the attitudes that were promoted by their former religious leaders and that were embedded in their culture.

at the ninth hour: That is, about 3:00 p.m.​—See study note on Mt 20:3.

Jehovah: Most Greek manuscripts use the term “the Lord” (Greek, tou Ky·riʹou) here. However, as explained in App. C, there are several reasons to believe that the divine name was originally used in this verse and later replaced by the title Lord. Therefore, the name Jehovah is used in the main text.​—See App. C3 introduction; Ac 10:33.

is not partial: The Greek phrase for “is not partial” could literally be rendered “is not one who takes (receives; accepts) faces.” God, who is impartial, does not judge by outward appearance, favoring people because of their race, nationality, social standing, or any external factors. Imitating God’s impartiality means, not making surface judgments, but paying attention to the character and qualities of others, particularly qualities that reflect those of our impartial Creator.

the sons of Israel: Or “the people of Israel; the Israelites.”​—See Glossary, “Israel.”

a stake: See study note on Ac 5:30.

the holy spirit came upon all those hearing the word: This is the only reported instance when holy spirit was poured out on disciples before baptism. Additionally, Peter is here taking an active role in the conversion of Cornelius and his family, none of whom were Jews. So Peter was using the third of “the keys of the Kingdom of the heavens,” opening up the preaching work and the prospect of entering God’s Kingdom to the vast field of Gentiles​—those who were not Jews, Jewish proselytes, or Samaritans. Peter had used the first of those keys to open up the same hope to the Jews and Jewish proselytes, and the second, to the Samaritans.​—Ac 2:22-41; 8:14-17; see study note on Mt 16:19.

the circumcised believers: Or “the faithful ones of those circumcised.” That is, Jewish Christians.​—Ac 10:23.

in foreign languages: Lit., “in tongues.” This miracle gave visible evidence that God was now extending the heavenly calling to Gentiles. Just as at Pentecost, Jehovah used holy spirit to show clearly that this new arrangement had his backing. This convincing evidence could be both seen and heard.​—See study note on Ac 2:4.