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Acts 10:23-48

Context
10:23 So Peter 1  invited them in and entertained them as guests.

On the next day he got up and set out 2  with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa 3  accompanied him. 10:24 The following day 4  he entered Caesarea. 5  Now Cornelius was waiting anxiously 6  for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 10:25 So when 7  Peter came in, Cornelius met 8  him, fell 9  at his feet, and worshiped 10  him. 10:26 But Peter helped him up, 11  saying, “Stand up. I too am a mere mortal.” 12  10:27 Peter 13  continued talking with him as he went in, and he found many people gathered together. 14  10:28 He said to them, “You know that 15  it is unlawful 16  for a Jew 17  to associate with or visit a Gentile, 18  yet God has shown me that I should call no person 19  defiled or ritually unclean. 20  10:29 Therefore when you sent for me, 21  I came without any objection. Now may I ask why 22  you sent for me?” 10:30 Cornelius 23  replied, 24  “Four days ago at this very hour, at three o’clock in the afternoon, 25  I was praying in my house, and suddenly 26  a man in shining clothing stood before me 10:31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your acts of charity 27  have been remembered before God. 28  10:32 Therefore send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter. This man is staying as a guest in the house of Simon the tanner, 29  by the sea.’ 10:33 Therefore I sent for you at once, and you were kind enough to come. 30  So now we are all here in the presence of God 31  to listen 32  to everything the Lord has commanded you to say to us.” 33 

10:34 Then Peter started speaking: 34  “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, 35  10:35 but in every nation 36  the person who fears him 37  and does what is right 38  is welcomed before him. 10:36 You know 39  the message 40  he sent to the people 41  of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace 42  through 43  Jesus Christ 44  (he is Lord 45  of all) – 10:37 you know what happened throughout Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 46  10:38 with respect to Jesus from Nazareth, 47  that 48  God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He 49  went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, 50  because God was with him. 51  10:39 We 52  are witnesses of all the things he did both in Judea 53  and in Jerusalem. 54  They 55  killed him by hanging him on a tree, 56  10:40 but 57  God raised him up on the third day and caused him to be seen, 58  10:41 not by all the people, but by us, the witnesses God had already chosen, 59  who ate and drank 60  with him after he rose from the dead. 10:42 He 61  commanded us to preach to the people and to warn 62  them 63  that he is the one 64  appointed 65  by God as judge 66  of the living and the dead. 10:43 About him all the prophets testify, 67  that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins 68  through his name.”

The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit

10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on 69  all those who heard the message. 70  10:45 The 71  circumcised believers 72  who had accompanied Peter were greatly astonished 73  that 74  the gift of the Holy Spirit 75  had been poured out 76  even on the Gentiles, 10:46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising 77  God. Then Peter said, 10:47 “No one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, 78  can he?” 79  10:48 So he gave orders to have them baptized 80  in the name of Jesus Christ. 81  Then they asked him to stay for several days.

1 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Peter) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

sn When Peter entertained them as guests, he performed a culturally significant act denoting acceptance.

2 tn Or “went forth.”

3 sn Some of the brothers from Joppa. As v. 45 makes clear, there were Jewish Christians in this group of witnesses.

4 tn Grk “On the next day,” but since this phrase has already occurred in v. 23, it would be redundant in English to use it again here.

5 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi).

map For location see Map2 C1; Map4 B3; Map5 F2; Map7 A1; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

6 tn Normally προσδοκάω (prosdokaw) means “to wait with apprehension or anxiety for something,” often with the implication of impending danger or trouble (L&N 25.228), but in this context the anxiety Cornelius would have felt came from the importance of the forthcoming message as announced by the angel.

7 tn Grk “So it happened that when.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

8 tn Grk “meeting him.” The participle συναντήσας (sunanthsa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

9 tn Grk “falling at his feet, worshiped.” The participle πεσών (peswn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

10 sn When Cornelius worshiped Peter, it showed his piety and his respect for Peter, but it was an act based on ignorance, as Peter’s remark in v. 26 indicates.

11 tn BDAG 271 s.v. ἐγείρω 3 has “raise, help to rise….Stretched out Ac 10:26.”

12 tn Although it is certainly true that Peter was a “man,” here ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") has been translated as “mere mortal” because the emphasis in context is not on Peter’s maleness, but his humanity. Contrary to what Cornelius thought, Peter was not a god or an angelic being, but a mere mortal.

13 tn Grk “And he”; the referent (Peter) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

14 tn Or “many people assembled.”

15 tn Here ὡς (Jws) is used like ὅτι (Joti) to introduce indirect discourse (cf. BDAG 1105 s.v. ὡς 5).

16 tn This term is used of wanton or callously lawless acts (BDAG 24 s.v. ἀθέμιτος).

17 tn Grk “a Jewish man” (ἀνδρὶ ᾿Ιουδαίῳ, andri Ioudaiw).

18 tn Grk “a foreigner,” but in this context, “a non-Jew,” that is, a Gentile. This term speaks of intimate association (BDAG 556 s.v. κολλάω 2.b.α). On this Jewish view, see John 18:28, where a visit to a Gentile residence makes a Jewish person unclean.

19 tn This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo").

20 tn Possibly there is a subtle distinction in meaning between κοινός (koinos) and ἀκάθαρτος (akaqartos) here, but according to L&N 53.39 it is difficult to determine precise differences in meaning based on existing contexts.

sn God has shown me…unclean. Peter sees the significance of his vision as not about food, but about open fellowship between Jewish Christians and Gentiles.

21 tn Grk “Therefore when I was sent for.” The passive participle μεταπεμφθείς (metapemfqei") has been taken temporally and converted to an active construction which is less awkward in English.

22 tn Grk “ask for what reason.”

23 tn Grk “And Cornelius.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

24 tn Grk “said.”

25 tn Grk “at the ninth hour.” Again, this is the hour of afternoon prayer.

26 tn Grk “and behold.” The interjection ἰδού (idou) is difficult at times to translate into English. Here it has been translated as “suddenly” to convey the force of Cornelius’ account of the angel’s appearance.

27 tn Or “your gifts to the needy.”

28 sn This statement is a paraphrase rather than an exact quotation of Acts 10:4.

29 tn Or “with a certain Simon Berseus.” Although most modern English translations treat βυρσεῖ (bursei) as Simon’s profession (“Simon the tanner”), it is possible that the word is actually Simon’s surname (“Simon Berseus” or “Simon Tanner”). BDAG 185 s.v. βυρσεύς regards it as a surname.

30 tn Grk “you have done well by coming.” The idiom καλῶς ποιεῖν (kalw" poiein) is translated “be kind enough to do someth.” by BDAG 505-6 s.v. καλῶς 4.a. The participle παραγενόμενος (paragenomeno") has been translated as an English infinitive due to the nature of the English idiom (“kind enough to” + infinitive).

31 tn The translation “we are here in the presence of God” for ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ πάρεσμεν (enwpion tou qeou paresmen) is given by BDAG 773 s.v. πάρειμι 1.a.

32 tn Or “to hear everything.”

33 tn The words “to say to us” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Cornelius knows Peter is God’s representative, bringing God’s message.

34 tn Grk “Opening his mouth Peter said” (a Semitic idiom for beginning to speak in a somewhat formal manner). The participle ἀνοίξας (anoixa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

35 tn Grk “God is not one who is a respecter of persons,” that is, “God is not one to show partiality” (cf. BDAG 887 s.v. προσωπολήμπτης). L&N 88.239 translates this verse “I realize that God does not show favoritism (in dealing with people).” The underlying Hebrew idiom includes the personal element (“respecter of persons”) so the phrase “in dealing with people” is included in the present translation. It fits very well with the following context and serves to emphasize the relational component of God’s lack of partiality. The latter is a major theme in the NT: Rom 2:11; Eph 2:11-22; Col 3:25; Jas 2:1; 1 Pet 1:17. This was the lesson of Peter’s vision.

36 sn See Luke 24:47.

37 tn Or “shows reverence for him.”

38 tn Grk “works righteousness”; the translation “does what is right” for this phrase in this verse is given by L&N 25.85.

sn Note how faith and response are linked here by the phrase and does what is right.

39 tn The subject and verb (“you know”) do not actually occur until the following verse, but have been repeated here because of the requirements of English word order.

40 tn Grk “the word.”

41 tn Grk “to the sons.”

42 sn Peace is a key OT concept: Isa 52:7; Nah 1:15; also for Luke: Luke 1:79; 2:14; Acts 9:31. See also the similar phrase in Eph 2:17.

43 tn Or “by.”

44 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

45 sn He is Lord of all. Though a parenthetical remark, this is the theological key to the speech. Jesus is Lord of all, so the gospel can go to all. The rest of the speech proclaims Jesus’ authority.

46 tn Or “proclaimed.”

47 sn The somewhat awkward naming of Jesus as from Nazareth here is actually emphatic. He is the key subject of these key events.

48 tn Or “how.” The use of ὡς (Jws) as an equivalent to ὅτι (Joti) to introduce indirect or even direct discourse is well documented. BDAG 1105 s.v. ὡς 5 lists Acts 10:28 in this category.

49 tn Grk “power, who.” The relative pronoun was replaced by the pronoun “he,” and a new sentence was begun in the translation at this point to improve the English style, due to the length of the sentence in Greek.

50 tn The translation “healing all who were oppressed by the devil” is given in L&N 22.22.

sn All who were oppressed by the devil. Note how healing is tied to the cosmic battle present in creation. Christ’s power overcomes the devil and his forces, which seek to destroy humanity.

51 sn See Acts 7:9.

52 tn Grk “And we.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

53 tn Grk “the land of the Jews,” but this is similar to the phrase used as the name of the province of Judea in 1 Macc 8:3 (see BDAG 1093-94 s.v. χώρα 2.b).

54 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

55 tn Grk “in Jerusalem, whom they killed.” The relative pronoun was replaced by the pronoun “him” and a new sentence was begun in the translation at this point to improve the English style, due to the length of the sentence in Greek.

56 tn Or “by crucifying him” (“hang on a tree” is by the time of the 1st century an idiom for crucifixion). The allusion is to the judgment against Jesus as a rebellious figure, appealing to the language of Deut 21:23. The Jewish leadership has badly “misjudged” Jesus.

57 tn The conjunction “but” is not in the Greek text, but the contrast is clearly implied in the context. This is technically asyndeton, or lack of a connective, in Greek.

58 tn Grk “and granted that he should become visible.” The literal Greek idiom is somewhat awkward in English. L&N 24.22 offers the translation “caused him to be seen” for this verse.

59 tn Or “the witnesses God had previously chosen.” See Acts 1:8.

60 sn Ate and drank. See Luke 24:35-49.

61 tn Grk “and he.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

62 tn The verb διαμαρτύρομαι (diamarturomai) can mean “warn,” and such a meaning is highly probable in this context where a reference to the judgment of both the living and the dead is present. The more general meaning “to testify solemnly” does not capture this nuance.

63 tn The word “them” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

64 tn Grk “that this one is the one,” but this is awkward in English and has been simplified to “that he is the one.”

65 tn Or “designated.” BDAG 723 s.v. ὁρίζω 2.b has “the one appointed by God as judge” for this phrase.

66 sn Jesus has divine authority as judge over the living and the dead: Acts 17:26-31; Rom 14:9; 1 Thess 5:9-10; 1 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5.

67 tn Or “All the prophets testify about him.” Although modern English translations tend to place “about him” after “testify” (so NIV, NRSV) the phrase “about him” has been left at the beginning of v. 43 for emphatic reasons.

68 sn Forgiveness of sins. See Luke 24:47; also Acts 14:23; 19:4; 9:42; 11:17; 16:31. The gospel is present in the prophetic promise, Rom 1:1-7. The message is in continuity with the ancient hope.

69 tn Or “came down on.” God now acted to confirm the point of Peter’s speech.

70 tn Or “word.”

71 tn Grk “And the.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

72 tn Or “The Jewish Christians”; Grk “The believers from the circumcision.”

73 sn The Jewish Christians who were with Peter were greatly astonished because they thought the promise of the Spirit would be limited only to those of Israel. God’s plan was taking on fresh dimensions even as it was a reflection of what the prophets had promised.

74 tn Or “because.”

75 tn That is, the gift consisting of the Holy Spirit. Here τοῦ πνεύματος (tou pneumato") is a genitive of apposition; the gift consists of the Spirit.

76 sn The gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out. Compare the account in Acts 2, especially 2:33. Note also Joel 2:17-21 and Acts 11:15-18.

77 tn Or “extolling,” “magnifying.”

78 tn Grk “just as also we.” The auxiliary verb in English must be supplied. This could be either “have” (NIV, NRSV) or “did” (NASB). “Did” is preferred here because the comparison Peter is making concerns not just the fact of the present possession of the Spirit (“they received the Spirit we now possess”), but the manner in which the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house received the Spirit (“they received the Spirit in the same manner we did [on the day of Pentecost]”).

79 tn The Greek construction anticipates a negative reply which is indicated in the translation by the ‘tag’ question, “can he?” The question is rhetorical. Peter was saying these Gentiles should be baptized since God had confirmed they were his.

80 tn The Greek construction (passive infinitive with accusative subject) could be translated either “he ordered them to be baptized” or “he ordered that they be baptized,” but the implication in English in either case is that Peter was giving orders to the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house, telling them to get baptized. It is much more likely in the context that Peter was ordering those Jewish Christians who accompanied him to baptize the new Gentile converts. They would doubtless have still had misgivings even after witnessing the outpouring of the Spirit and hearing the tongues. It took Peter’s apostolic authority (“ordered”) to convince them to perform the baptisms.

81 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.” Jesus’ right to judge as the provider of forgiveness is highlighted here.



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