Acts 10 Commentary

Acts chapter 10 commentary & Bible study

Acts Chapter 10 Commentary Bible Study


Acts 10:6-11 Simon the Tanner
Acts 10:12-15 Clean and Unclean Animals
Acts 10:16-23 Peter's Vision
Acts 10:24-33 Peter and Cornelius
Acts 10:34-35 Fear of God
Acts 10:36-41 Lord of All
Acts 10:42-48 Holy Spirit Falls
Acts 10 Bible Study Questions (Handout)
ACTS 10:1-2  1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.

What is "the Italian Regiment" (Acts 10:1)?
σπειρης (speires), the original word translated "Regiment," meant one-tenth of a Roman legion, which at full strength had 6,000 soldiers. So a regiment, which is also called a "cohort," had 600 soldiers. The Roman army drew regiments from across its empire; the Italian Regiment was one drawn from Italy.

What is a "centurion" (Acts 10:1)?
Each Roman regiment/cohort's 600 soldiers were organized into 6 "centuries" of 100 soldiers, comparable to a "company" in the modern army. A centurion was the officer in charge of a century of 100 soldiers and therefore comparable to a company commander or captain in today's army.

What was Cornelius doing in "Caesarea" (Acts 10:1)?
Caesarea, the region's largest and the most strategic port city, was the capital of the Roman province of Judea, and therefore the home of the Roman governor and the home base of his military garrison.

To which "people" (Acts 10:2) did Cornelius give alms generously?
It wasn't to the Italian soldiers under his command. They received a base salary of 225 denarii (1 denarius was the standard wage for 1 day's worth of labor back then), plus a share of the booty from the battles won, so they didn't need alms. Cornelius was "a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, ... and prayed to God always" (Acts 10:2), so the context points to Cornelius giving alms to the poor Jews, the people of the God he feared and prayed to.

What is meant by Cornelius being a man who "feared God" (Acts 10:2)?
See Proselyte.

ACTS 10:3-5  3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” 4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, Lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.

What time did the angel come to Cornelius?
The hours were counted from sunrise, which was deemed to be at 6 AM, so "ninth hour" (Acts 10:3) was 3 PM.

Why did Cornelius call the angel, "Lord" (Acts 10:4)?
Used in the narrow sense, κυριε (kyrie), the original Greek word, refers to God. Used in the general sense, however, it addressed anyone whom the speakers wished to acknowledge as having authority over them. The sight and the first word of the angel of God were such that Cornelius, a Roman army captain, became "afraid" (Acts 10:4) and immediately expressed submission.

How must Cornelius have given "alms" (Acts 10:2)?
For them to "have come up for a memorial before God" (Acts 10:4), he must have given them "in secret" as God had commanded: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." (Matthew 6:1-4)

How must Cornelius have "prayed" (Acts 10:2)?
For his prayers to "have come up for a memorial before God" (Acts 10:4), he must have prayed as God had commanded: “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." (Matthew 6:5-6)

Had the angel come to answer Cornelius' prayers?
He came to tell Cornelius to send men to fetch "Peter" (Acts 10:5), whom God will use to deal with his prayers.

How do you pray and give alms?