Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,B.—CONCURRING DIVINE REVELATIONS CONDUCT PETER FROM JOPPA TO THE ROMAN CENTURION CORNELIUS IN CESAREA, TO WHOM HE PROCLAIMS CHRIST; AND WHEN THE GIFT OF THE HOLT GHOST IS IMPARTED TO CORNELIUS AND OTHER GENTILE HEARERS, PETER DIRECTS THAT THEY SHOULD BE BAPTIZED
§ I. The devout Roman centurion Cornelius, at Cesarea, is induced by the appearance of an angel to send to Joppa for Peter
1There was [But]1 a certain man in Cesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which [who] gave much alms to the people [(of Israel)]; and prayed to [besought]God always. 3He saw [Saw (om. He)] in a vision evidently [distinctly], about2 the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming [entering] in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4And [But] when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And [But] he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine almsare come up for a memorial before3 God. 5And now send men to Joppa, and call for one [a certain]4 Simon, whose surname is Peter: 6He [This one] lodgeth with one [a certain] Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side [by the sea]: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do [om. he shall … to do]5. 7And [But] when the angel which [who] spoke unto Cornelius [him]6 was departed, he called two of his household [om. household] servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on himcontinually; 8And when he had declared [related] all these things [om. these things] unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
ACTS 10:1, 2. A certain man in Cesarea.—This city (Cæsarea Palestinæ), situated on the Mediterranean, and provided with an excellent harbor, which was visited by many vessels, was built by Herod the Great. It was inhabited chiefly by Pagans, but several thousand Jews also resided in it. At a somewhat later period, it was permanently occupied by the Roman procurators, and is hence called by Tacitus (Hist. II. 79) Judææ caput. Cornelius was the commander (centurio) of the Italian band (cohors), which, without doubt, received that name in order to distinguish it from other troops that had been levied in Palestine, or Syria, and then been incorporated with the Roman army. The Italian band consisted of natives of Rome, or, at least, of Italians, and these formed the nucleus of the garrison. The procurator had, probably at that time already, established himself in Cesarea, since the Roman garrison lay there. This centurion Cornelius was, doubtless, himself also an Italian by descent. Luke describes his character as that of a devout man (εὐσεβής, the most general term, which may be applied even to a strictly pagan form of devoutness), and of a man who feared God with all his house (the phrase: φοβ. τὸν θεόν denoting that fear of God, of which the one true God is the object). These sentiments he manifested, partly, by diligence in offering prayer and supplications to God, and, partly, by habitually performing acts of charity for the Israelites (ὁ λαός, the people of Israel [as in Acts 10:42; Acts 26:17, 23; 28:17]). Thus he resembled the centurion of Capernaum, who also loved the people of Israel, and built a synagogue for them with his own means (Lu. 7:5.). Such generosity is a beautiful and touching trait of character, not merely in general, in an experienced soldier, but, in particular, in a Roman, when it appears in his intercourse with the Jews, who were subject to Rome, and were, commonly, a despised people.—The whole account allows us to assume that Cornelius, like many of his contemporaries, was dissatisfied with the pagan religion which he had inherited, and, as an inquirer, had turned to the faith of Israel, and to the knowledge and worship of the one true God. We are not surprised that he gained the esteem of all the Jews. Still, the narrative before us affords no grounds for assuming that he was a proselyte, in the strict sense of that term, as it is generally supposed (Grotius; Neander and others); for he is regarded in the whole course of the narrative (Acts 10:28; Acts 11:1) as being, in a legal and social respect, nothing but a heathen. He had simply turned, in an entirely voluntary manner, to Judaism, with respect to his mode of thinking and his domestic worship, without attaching himself to it outwardly by any decisive act.
ACTS 10:3–6. He saw in a vision … an angel of God.—The angel appeared to him about the ninth hour (3 o’clock, P. M. [see above, 2:14, 15. c.]), or the third hour of prayer, which the devout pagan probably observed of his own accord, in company with the Jews. He then saw in a vision (that is, by an internal process, of which God was the author, but, in other respects, distinctly, φανερῶς, not by a deception of the senses) an angel of God, who entered the chamber, and addressed him by name. [“The popular idea of winged angels is derived from the cherubim, (Exod. 25:20) and seraphim (Isai. 6:2) but is never suggested by any of the narratives of angelic visits to this world and its inhabitants.” J. A. Alexander, ad loc.)—TR.]. Cornelius looks up, gazes attentively at the form before him, is alarmed by the unexpected and dazzling [Acts 10:30] appearance, and replies to the address by respectfully asking a question. The angel informs him that his prayers and alms were always remembered before God (ἀνέβησαν εἰς μνημόσυνον—[i.e.] γενησόμεναι μνημόσυνον [comp. the word in Matth. 26:13], that is: ‘they have ascended to heaven, like the smoke of the sacrifices, so that they remind God of thee.’). [See below, DOCTR. and ETH. No. 3.—TR.].—And now Cornelius is commanded to send to Joppa [see EXEG. note on Acts 9:36], for Peter, in order that the latter may conduct him onward in the way of salvation. (The term Σίμωνά is used, as the apostle was yet unknown to the Roman). The house, and the man whose guest the apostle is (ξενίζεται, hospitatur), are indicated with sufficient precision, [“παρὰ θαλάσσαν, on account of his business, for which water was needed. (de Wette).—TR.]
ACTS 10:7, 8. He called two, etc.—Cornelius without delay obeys the instructions which he had received, and calls two of his servants (οἰκέτης, generally a more honorable appellation than δοῦλος) who, as belonging to his οι̇͂κος, feared God, Acts 10:2, and also a devout soldier (εὐσεβής, see, above, Acts 10:2), selecting them from the whole number of his personal attendants (as orderly officers). He communicates to them without reserve (ἄπαντα) all that referred to the appearance which he had seen, and sends them with the necessary instructions to Joppa.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. That all the circumstances connected with this conversion of the first pagan, were controlled and shaped exclusively by divine Providence, is apparent from the fact (without referring to others) that Cornelius was brought into contact, not with the evangelist Philip, who was much nearer to him (since he undoubtedly resided already at the time in Cæsarea, according to Acts 8:40, compared with Acts 21:8), but with Peter, who was not on the spot. It was so ordered, that the first pagan should be baptized and received into the Church, not by an ordinary member of the church, [see above, DOCTR. and ETH. No. 3, on 9:10–19.—TR.], nor by an evangelist like Philip, but by one of the Twelve themselves, and, indeed, by that one, who had, by his words and deeds, become the most prominent of their number.
2. The angel who appeared to Cornelius, was not appointed to be himself the agent of the conversion of the latter, but was simply commissioned, as a messenger from heaven, to convey the command of God, that Peter should be called. It was, accordingly, Peter who first proclaimed the Gospel to him, and received him into the church of Christ. According to the decree of God and the method which He established, repentance and the remission of sins were to be preached to all nations in the name of Jesus, so that it is the Word of the Gospel, and, indeed, the word to which men bear witness, that is the appointed means of salvation. No case ever occurred in which an angel was sent for the purpose of converting a soul, and no man should ever allow his faith to be dependent on such an extraordinary appearance from the higher world.
3. A high value is attributed to the prayers and alms of Cornelius, not only in the description of his character furnished by the historian, but also in the message of the angel. The first place is assigned by Luke, Acts 10:2, to the alms, but by the angel, Acts 10:4, to the prayers, since God first looks at the heart. The message of the angel, indeed, connects this revelation of God, which will lead to the salvation of the Roman, with those devout works. Does this fact imply a meritoriousness of works, a meritum ex congruo, according to the Romish view? [According to the Scholastics, who follow Thomas Aquinas, a work acquires meritum ex or de congruo (meritum congrui), when it proceeds from the free will of man, but meritum ex condigno, when it is wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The former—they explain—is not meritoriousness in an absolute sense, but there is a certain congruitas or suitableness in the divine recognition and recompense which it receives, and by which, ultimately, salvation is merited. (CHEMN. Exam. Conc. Trid. I. Loc. IX. § 1. p. 179. Berlin. 1861).—TR.]. We answer in the negative, for the following reasons: (a) These works, viewed as external works, have no value of their own, but derive it from the devoutness of the heart, from which they proceed as their source; (b) Even the fear of God, from which the good deeds performed by Cornelius for the people of God, like his diligent prayers, proceeded, depended for its own existence on the grace and the revelation of God under the old covenant, which came to meet him, and had already sought him after afar. [“Nihil enim precibus conseqi potuit quin fides præcibus consequi potuit quin fides præcederet, quæ sola nobis ad orandum janum aperit.” (CALVIN, ad loc..)—TR.]. It was with the susceptibility of Cornelius for the truth, and with his faithful application of the knowledge which had hither to been imparted to him, that God was well pleased. He who us faithful in tha what is least, will be intrusted with that which is much. Cornelius demonstrates this faithfulness—by his immediate compliance with the instruction which he had received, Acts 10:7.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See below, (Acts 10:9–23.)
Acts 10:1. η̇͂ν [text. rec.] after τις is omitted in all the principal MSS. [A. B. C. E. G., and Cod. Sin.], and was only inserted by those who did not perceive that ει̇͂δεν, in Acts 10:3, is the verb belonging to Acts 10:1 and 2. [Omitted by Lach. Tisch. And Alf., as well as τε in Acts 10:2 after ποιῶν, which occurs in G. but not in A. B. C. E, Cod. Sin. etc.—TR.]
Acts 10:3. The reading ὡσεὶ περί is found, it is true, in A. B. C. E., and has been preferred by Lachmann, but ὡσεί without περί is attested by G., as well as by Chrysostom and Oecumenius; περί is by no means necessary, and is probably an interpolation. [περί is omitted in text. rec.; Alf. reads ὡσεὶ περὶ with A. B. C. E. The reading in Cod. Sin. is ὡς (corrected by a later hand: ὡσει) περί. De Wette and Meyer regard περί as a gloss.—TR.]
Acts 10:4. [In place of ἐνώπιον after μνημ., as in text. rec. and C. E. G., Lach., Tisch. and Alf. with A. B. read ἔμπροσθεν, the less usual word. The latter is also the reading of Cod. Sin.—The words εἰς μνημόσυν. were originally omitted in Cod. Sin., but added by a later hand.—TR.]
Acts 10:5. The insertion of τινα after Σίμωνα, is better attested than the omission [in text. rec.] of the word. It is found not only in A. B. C, but also in many ancient versions [Syr. Vulg.]; it probably seemed [to copyists] to be inappropriately employed in the case of the apostle who was so widely known. [Adopted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf. but omitted in Cod. Sin.—TR.]
Acts 10:6. The concluding words: οὖτος λαλήσει σοι, τί σε δεῖ ποιεῖν, in text. rec. [from Erasmus], are undoubtedly spurious. They are wanting in all the MSS. of the first rank [A. B. C. E. G. and Cod. Sin.] and in ancient versions, and were derived from Acts 10:32 below, and Acts 9:6. [Omitted by Lachm. Tisch. and Alf. and also in Cod. Amiatinus of the Vulg., although inserted in the usual printed text of the latter.—TR.]
Acts 10:7. [The text. rec. after λαλῶν reads τῷ Κορνηλίῳ with G., for which αὐτῷ (adopted by Lach., Tisch., Stier and Th., Alf.) occurs in A. B. C. E. Cod. Sin. Syr. Vulg.—αὐτοῦ after οἰκ. of text. rec. and G. is omitted in A. B. C. E. Cod. Sin., and by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.—TR.]
On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:§ II. Before the message reaches Peter, God commands him, in a symbolical manner, during a trance, not to consider any thing as unclean which He has cleansed. The messengers of Cornelius arrive immediately afterwards, and communicate his invitation to Peter
9 [But] On the morrow [next day], as they [those]7 went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10And he became very [om. very] hungry, and would have eaten [wished to eat]; but while they8 made ready [for him], he fell into a trance [a trance came upon him]9 , 11And saw [he sees] heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him [om. unto him]10 , as it had been [as] a great sheet [large linen cloth] knit [tied]11 at the four corners [at the four ends], and let down to [upon] the earth: 12Wherein were all manner of [were all] fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things [fourfooted and creeping beasts of the earth]12, and fowls of the air [birds , of heaven]. 13And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14But Peter said, Not so, [By no means, O] Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is [om. that is] common or [and]13 unclean. 15And the voice spake unto him again the second time [And again spake the second time a voice unto him], What God hath cleansed, that call [make] not thou common. 16This was done [happened] thrice: and the vessel was received [taken] up again [up immediately]14 into heaven. 17Now while Peter doubted [was uncertain] in himself15 what this vision which he had seen should mean [might be], behold16 , the men which [who] were sent from [by] Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate [at the door], 18And called, and asked whether Simon, which [who] was surnamed Peter, were [om. were] lodged there. 19[But] While Peter thought [was reflecting]17 on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three [om. three]18 men seek thee. 20Arise therefore [But (ἀλλὰ) arise], and get thee [go] down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for19 I have sent them. 21Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said [Then Peter went down and said to the men]20 , Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore [for which] ye are come? 22And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by [received a divine command from] a holy angel to send for thee into [to] his house, and to hear words of [from] thee. a. 23Then called he them in, and lodged them.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Acts 10:9. a. On the morrow [next day].—Cesarea was, according to the statement of Edrisi (WINER: Realw.), thirty Roman miles distant from Joppa, that is, about six [German] geographical miles. [One Roman mile =1,000 paces = 5,000 Roman feet = 8 stadia = 4,800 Greek feet = ⅕ [German] geographical mile. Seventy-five Roman miles were equal to one degree.” VON RAUMER: Palæstina, p. 21.—TR.].—The whole distance [nearly 35 miles, according to some authorities] was, consequently, a long day’s journey. The messengers of the Roman, (to whom the angel appeared about 3 o’clock, P. M.), departed immediately afterwards, as we may infer from Acts 10:7, or, at least, in the evening of the same day; they reached the vicinity of the city on the next day about the sixth hour, Acts 10:9, that is, at 12 o’clock, or noon, when Peter went on the housetop, and saw the vision. On their return, when Peter accompanied them, they again spent more than one day on their journey, Acts 10:23, 24.
b. Peter went up upon the housetop to pray.—Luther’s translation of δῶμα is Söller [from the Latin, solarium, a sunny place (Heyse).—TR.], and other interpreters have also supposed the word to be [here] synonymous with ὑπερῷον; but Luke would have employed this word here as well as elsewhere, if he had meant an upper chamber. Δῶμα properly signifies the house, or a part of it; it is true that it never denotes the roof, when it stands alone, but the phraseology ἐπὶ τ. δ. indicates that the roof is meant. And, indeed, the vision in which Peter saw the heaven opened, and a certain object descending from heaven, clearly shows that he was in the open air, that is, on the flat roof of the dwelling, whither many persons repaired, who desired to perform their religious exercises in retirement. It was to this spot that the apostle ascended, in order to offer prayer, when the sixth hour—one of the three times appointed for daily prayer—had arrived. We can easily understand that at this hour Peter should experience hunger; but while the inmates (αὐτῶν), the family or domestics of the tanner Simon, were preparing the food, the ἔκστασις occurred.
ACTS 10:10–12. He fell into a trance.—During this trance, which transported him suddenly, and with irresistible power (ἐπʼ αὐτόν), he saw, heard, and answered,—but all occurred in a state in which his ordinary consciousness, and his perception of the material world around him, were suspended, and his soul was susceptible only of a view of the appearance which God granted to him. He sees heaven opened, and a vessel resembling a large linen cloth descending, which was tied at the four ends, and by these lowered down. We are thus led to conceive that this vessel was held fast above by the four corners, and let down in such a manner that Peter, in the ecstatic state of his soul, could gaze into it, and observe its entire contents, namely, all four-footed and creeping animals of the earth, and birds of the air. And here we are not, with Kuinoel, to explain πάντα as equivalent to “varii generis (animalia),” but as denoting precisely the whole number of animals. The objection that this view of the case would involve a manifest impossibility, is of no weight, since the whole refers to a vision, and not to an objective appearance: prospectum hunc humano modo non debemus metiri, quia ecstasis Petro alios oculos dabat. (Calvin). All animals are meant except fishes, which could not well be exhibited in the dry cloth [the word θῦσον Acts 10:13 implying that all the animals are alive (Meyer).—TR.]. The assumption of some interpreters (Kuinoel, and others) that the animals were exclusively those which were Levitically unclean, is altogether arbitrary, and in opposition to the universal character of πάντα with the article.
ACTS 10:13–16. Rise; kill, and eat.—The word ἀναστάς does not necessarily imply that Peter lay during the trance, or was on his knees, as, possibly, while he had been engaged in prayer, but is simply a summons to perform an act. The exhortation that he should kill (θύω does not here signify to sacrifice) and eat, refers primarily to his hunger at the moment, but it also gives him the privilege of taking at his pleasure, without carefully distinguishing between Levitically clean and unclean animals. But Peter declines very decidedly, Acts 10:14, to do such an act, and appeals to his strict observance of the precepts referring to this subject (comp. Lev. Acts 11, Acts 10:4, 13, 23). The term of address, κύριε, is respectful, but as little presupposes that Christ speaks with him, as does the question of Saul: τίς εῖ̓, κύριε, Acts 9:5. When the voice was heard the second time, it said: What God hath cleansed (made clean, declared to be clean) that call not thou (the antithesis is: the great God) common, (that is, Do not declare it to be unclean and profane, nor treat it as such). [“The declarative sense of these verbs is Hebraistic; comp. טִמֵּא , טִהֵר, Lev. 13:3, 6.” (de Wette).—TR.]. After the offer had been made thrice, (ἐπὶ τρίς, i.e., unto the third time), the vessel was immediately taken up to heaven. The aorist ἀνελήφθη, and also εὐθύς, inform us that the removal was rapid, whereas the descent occurred slowly and perceptibly, Acts 10:11.
ACTS 10:17, 18. Now while Peter doubted in himself.—The apostle did not at once clearly perceive the meaning which the vision was designed to convey to him; he was in doubt (διηπόρει), and for some time seriously reflected on it (διενθυμουμένου, Acts 10:19). But an actual occurrence furnished him with the solution of the mystery, when the call to proceed to the pagan Cornelius reached him. The revelation granted to him referred not only directly to articles of food, (and to the act of partaking without scruple, in company with heathens, of such food as they would prepare for him), but also to these heathens themselves; God had cleansed them, and Peter was taught that, in consequence of it, he should not regard them as unclean and profane, nor avoid them as unholy persons. The animals which had been exhibited to him, were symbols of human beings, and, indeed, of all mankind, in so far as all the animals of the earth had been placed before his eyes. Hence the distinction between the clean and the unclean among men (according to the Levitical standard), that is to say, between Jews and Gentiles, was now to be brought to an end by God’s own cleansing interposition. The words ἐν ἑαυτῷ before διηπόρει, at the same time, imply that Peter is now no longer in an ecstatic state, but has come to himself, that is, he is restored to the regular and ordinary state both of consciousness in general, and also of self-consciousness.
ACTS 10:19–21. Behold,—men seek thee.—Peter was still absorbed in deep meditation on the meaning of the vision, when the messengers of Cornelius were already standing before the gate of the house and inquiring for him. [“ἐπὶ τ. πυλ., at the gate, see 12:13; 14:13; only palaces had portals or vestibules, Matth. 26:71.” (de Wette).—TR.]. He did not hear the voices of the strangers, but the Spirit of Christ informed him by an internal communication, that men were present who sought him; he is commanded to go down and unhesitatingly accompany them on their journey, since they had been sent by the Lord himself, [“ἐγώ, Acts 10:20, emphatically; Chrysostom very properly here calls attention to the κύριον (adj.) and the ἐξουσία of the Spirit.” (Meyer.)—TR.]. If we should assume that while Peter was on the roof, he heard the call of the men, and had seen and recognized them as pagans, and should add other imaginary details (as Neander does [Hist. of the Planting, etc. Vol. I. Sect. II. ad. loc.]), we would do violence to the narrative, which traces the whole to supernatural and not to natural causes. Two flights of stairs usually conducted to the roof, one in the interior of the house and one on the street; Peter probably chose the latter, and, after presenting himself to the men, inquired respecting the object of their visit.
ACTS 10:22, 23. And they said.—The description which the messengers of Cornelius give of their master, when they reply, is worthy of notice, as peculiarly appropriate when proceeding from them. Instead of εὐσεβής, Acts 10:2, we now have δίκαιος, a term descriptive precisely of that trait of character, with which the dependants of the man would be best acquainted from experience. And when they state that the centurion enjoyed the esteem of all the Jews, the mention of this fact was eminently judicious, both in reference to themselves, who were pagans, it is true, but doubtless were favorably inclined to the Israelites, and also in reference to Peter, to whom they thus intended to recommend their master. The term χρηματίζομαι, which, in the language of heathens, was applied to oracles and other sayings of the gods, is also well suited to the circumstances, without having precisely a profane sound, when it occurs in the language of the New Testament. [In the Sept. in the sense of divinum responsum do, oraculum edo. loquor, e. g., Jer. 26:2; 30:2; Job 40:3 (Engl. Acts 10:8), etc. (SCHLEUSNER: Lexic. in LXX.).—In the N. T. Matth. 2:12; Hebr. 8:5, etc. See ROB. Lex. N. T. ad verb.—TR.]. The full explanation, moreover, which is connected with μεταπέμψασθαι, (and is designed indirectly to excuse Cornelius for not taking the trouble to come to Peter himself, but rather expecting the latter to seek him), corresponds fully to the situation.—Peter is himself a guest in this house, but he now introduces others, who are also lodged. The circumstance that he invites them as guests, before he journeys with them, is already a result of the revelation which had been granted to him.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The revelation which Peter received in a vision, while he was in an ecstatic state, refers to missions among heathens. It was not specially intended to announce the abrogation of the Levitical laws of purification in favor of Judæo-Christians; this view is contradicted by the whole historical connection in which the narrative stands, and by the nature of the causes and their results which it describes. Its immediate purpose was to remove positively and forever, by virtue of a divine decision, all scruples from the mind of Peter (comp. Acts 10:20, μηδὲν διακρινόμενος), which might prevent him from establishing direct communications with Gentiles with a view to the preaching of the Gospel. For the conversion of Cornelius, which was at hand, by no means constituted the exclusive object of this communication, which was rather intended to establish a certain principle. The apostles could never have doubted, in view of the prophecies of the Old Testament, and the express commands and promises of Jesus, that pagans would be converted and enter into the kingdom of Christ, and, indeed, Peter himself already intimates the conversion of the Gentiles, in his address, Acts 2:39, and subsequently, Acts 3:25, 26. But of the fact that heathens could be directly admitted into the church of Christ, the apostles had, as far as it appears, at this time no conception. They supposed, on the contrary, as we cannot doubt, that Gentiles could become Christians only on the condition that they previously united with the people of Israel, that is, that they would become incorporated with the people of God by circumcision, and thus subject themselves to the Levitical laws and the entire Mosaic system. It was precisely this prejudice which needed a refutation, and which also received it by means of a divine revelation. The main import of this vision was, accordingly, no other than the following: ‘What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.’ (Acts 10:15). The many animals which Peter was permitted to see in the vision, were unquestionably lowered down from heaven, and yet only that which is clean and good can descend from heaven. We have here a symbol of those pagans whom God himself has cleansed by the operations of his grace, and placed in an acceptable state. The truth communicated by the vision refers primarily to the souls of pagans: this evidently appears, partly, from the language of Peter in Acts 10:28 ff.,—partly, from the concluding verses of the present chapter (according to which the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius, and their baptism occurred only after this act of God had been performed)—partly, from the course of argument adopted by Peter in Acts 11:15–17—and, partly, from a later reference of the same apostle to this fact in Acts 15:8 ff. (where Peter declares that God bore witness in favor of these heathen persons by giving them the Holy Ghost, without making any difference whatever between them and Israelites, inasmuch as he purified their hearts by faith, καθαρίσας, comp. with ἃ ὁ θεὸς ἐκαθάρισε, of 10:15.). But the vision, nevertheless, referred, at the same time, to the Levitical laws respecting meats and purification, although only in so far as it was necessary for the purpose of removing the scruples of conscience of devout Judæo-Christians with regard to social intercourse with devout heathens, and to the partaking of their food. The divine communication purported only, as it is obvious, that, for the sake of those persons whom God had cleansed, their articles of food should not be regarded as unclean, but it did not declare that, with respect to the people of Israel themselves, and even with respect to converted Israelites, the Mosaic laws in general, referring to meats, should at once be abolished. But in any case in which God himself, the Holy One, has interposed with a cleansing influence, and declared that any object is well pleasing to him, man is not allowed to regard such object as still unclean and profane, or believe it to be a duty to avoid it altogether, and, for God’s sake, withdraw from it.
2. The Spirit, Acts 10:19, 20, furnished the apostle with the interpretation of the mysterious appearance, by applying it practically to the men sent by Cornelius, who at that moment arrived with their message. The Spirit spoke to Peter, as previously to Philip (8:29), by an internal revelation and impulse. But when the Spirit says: ‘I have sent these men,’ he speaks not in His name, but in the name of God, who had, by his angel, commanded Cornelius to send messengers to Joppa.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
ACTS 10:1. There was a certain man in Cesarea.—The subject hitherto had been the founding of the Church in Judea, Galilee and Samaria, which was accomplished at first amid the baptism of fire of the Holy Ghost, and then amid the bloody baptism of martyrdom. This Church had enjoyed peace during a certain period, and now the second part of the great work assigned to it—the conversion of the Gentiles—was to begin. (K. H. Rieger).—Peter, who had first preached ‘the word of reconciliation’ [2 Cor. 5:19] to Israel, on the morning of the day of Pentecost, is now appointed by the Lord to proclaim salvation in Christ to the first fruits of the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius. (Leonh. and Sp.).—A centurion.—The common saying does not always apply: Nulla fides pietasque viris, qui castra sequuntur. The military profession in itself, and the fear of God, are not antagonistic, since the former is not against the rules established by Christ, but rather maintains internal peace, and protects against external aggression. But how little the soldiers of our day, in general, resemble the centurion! He was devout, and feared God, but they are often ungodly and unbelieving. He gave alms, but they often rob and plunder; he prayed always, but they utter such curses that heaven and earth might tremble. (Starke).—Cornelius, a Roman by birth and education, had, nevertheless, no heart for the gods of Rome; he was one of the children of Japheth, who, in the conquered tents of Shem, are themselves conquered by the God of Shem. (Besser).—A heathen, a Roman, a soldier, a centurion—all barriers, apparently, against divine grace, but it penetrated through them all.
ACTS 10:2. A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house.—A house receives its greatest ornament, when the head and all the members of the family alike know and fear God, and when the former diligently instructs and encourages the latter. Gen. 18:19. (Starke).—Gave much alms … praying to God.—There may have possibly been some dependence on works here; still, this man honestly endeavored to depart from unrighteousness, to serve God actively according to the measure of his knowledge (alms), and to make progress in the attainment of salvation (prayer). It would be wrong to reject the works of such people unconditionally, and put them on the same level with coarse pharisaic minds. We should indeed admonish them not to be satisfied with the mere effort to cease to do evil and learn to do well, since it is only by grace that God forgives sin and bestows salvation, but we should also take care that we do not reject the right use of the law, in as far as it is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ [Gal. 3:24], and still constitutes a rule of life oven for believers [From Ap. Past.].
ACTS 10:3. About the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God.—It was the hour of evening prayer. Hours of prayer are truly hours of grace, when the angels of God are most of all prompt in coming.
ACTS 10:4. Thy prayers and thine alms are come up.—Nothing ascends to God as a sweet savour, except that which came from him, was wrought by him, and was done for his sake. Phil. 2:13. (Quesnel).—The acceptable sacrifices of the new covenant: I. The prayer of faith;. II. The alms of love.
ACTS 10:5. Send … to Joppa, and call for … Simon.—Not the angels, but the ordinary ministers of the word are the agents by whom we are conducted to regeneration and to faith. The good angels do not despise God’s ordinance and servants, but direct men to seek them, and adhere to them; he who turns others away from them is not a good angel and messenger. (Starke).—The circumstance that Cornelius is commanded to call Peter, and that Peter is thus required to go to him, shows the more clearly that Cornelius did not turn to Judaism, but that the kingdom of God was turning to the Gentiles. (Rieger).—Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance [Mt. 25:29]. We could wish that such would be the experience of many a respectable family of our own times, in which religion, but yet no vital Christianity is found, and wherein there dwell the fear of God and integrity, but not yet grace and peace in Christ Jesus.
ACTS 10:6. He lodgeth with … a tanner.—The house of a tanner could adequately provide for Peter, but his present pretended successor [in Rome] would scarcely deem a palace sufficient. (Rieger).
ACTS 10:7, 8. Called two of his servants … declared all these things unto them … sent them.—Cornelius owed it to his devout and affectionate mode of governing his household, that he was now not at a loss for persons whom he could trust on such an occasion. What a becoming confidential intercourse the fear of God can establish in a family! The greatest lord cannot secure the respect and love which the head of a family acquires, who devoutly rules his house. Even if this fact is not observed on ordinary occasions, it will be revealed in critical times. (Rieger).
ACTS 10:9. Peter went up upon the housetop to pray.—When thou prayest, enter into thy closet [Mt. 6:6]: I. That thou mayest not seek the praise of men; II. That thou mayest enjoy the blessing which solitude affords.—About the sixth hour.—It was the quiet, dreamy hour, of which the ancients said: “Pan sleeps.” But the living God, who keepeth Israel, neither slumbers nor sleeps at this hour, but watches over his people, and listens to their prayer. And a faithful servant of God can be wakeful in spirit even at this hour, and watch unto prayer [1 Pet. 4:7].—The sixth hour, the mid-day hour of prayer, not only of the Jews, but also of the primitive Christians.—Fixed hours of prayer may lead to an abuse, if we regard prayer at any other time as superfluous, and begin to observe those hours only as a matter of custom; but when they are wisely employed, they bring a rich blessing with them; they remind us, when the clock strikes, of the duty of prayer, which we are apt to forget, and the thought: ‘Many are now praying with me,’ adds to the fervor of the devotions of the individual.—Prayer, the heavenly attendant of the Christian during the whole day: I. In the morning; II. At noon; III. In the evening [Ps. 55:17].
ACTS 10:10. He became very hungry.—We enjoy the temporal gifts of God in a proper manner, only when we have previously, like Peter, in faith opened the mouth in prayer to God; while we thus partake of them, we taste and see that the Lord is good [Ps. 34:8]. Our God is, and ever remains, our best host. (Ap. Past.).—While they made ready, he fell into a trance.—The wants of the body must remain silent, when a revelation from heaven is given. Thus, about the same hour of noon, when the disciples brought food to Jesus, as he sat at Jacob’s well, he said: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, etc.” [John 4:6, 8, 34], and Paul says: “I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry.” Phil. 4:12.
ACTS 10:11–13. And saw heaven opened.—This vision was intended to teach the apostle that heathens also should be partakers of the grace of the gospel. The Lord had, it is true, commanded his apostles, already at his ascension, to go into all the world, and make disciples of all nations; but the old prejudice that the Jews enjoyed the preference, and that pagans could attain to baptism only through circumcision, and to Christianity only through Judaism, was so deeply rooted in the heart of Peter, that a special revelation was needed, in order to remove it. (From Ap. Past.).—Kill, and eat.—If we desire to “eat,” that is, to enjoy the pleasures which our office affords, we must not refuse to “kill,” that is, to endure those things that are burdensome to flesh and blood. First, work, then enjoyment; first, repentance, then grace. (From Ap. Past.).
ACTS 10:14. But Peter said, Not so, Lord.—The same Peter who, on a previous occasion [John 13:6 ff.], would not consent that the Lord should wash his sinful servant’s feet, cannot even now believe that He is able to cleanse that which was unclean according to Jewish principles. On both occasions, the same doubts appear respecting the condescension of divine love, and the all-sufficiency of divine grace.—The best persons are often so much attached to externals and to ceremonies, that they do not at once abandon them, even when they receive a divine command. (Starke).—Nevertheless, the Christian should watch over his heart, as the Jew watches over his mouth! Let nothing that is unclean, enter into it. (Quesnel).
ACTS 10:15. What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.—These words, I. Rebuke that legal timidity, which regards much as unclean in nature, in social life, in art and science, that God, nevertheless, designs to sanctify by his Spirit, and render useful in his kingdom. II. They rebuke that pride, and that carnal delicateness, which, either haughtily or effeminately, avoid all contact with sinners, and all condescension to the weak, who are, nevertheless, included in the mercy of God, and are also to be prepared for his kingdom.—What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common; but, again, call not that clean, which is common in the eyes of God!—Although the distinction which God had made, in the ceremonial law, between things clean and unclean, has been abolished, so that in the new covenant all things are pure to the pure [Tit. 1:15], the distinction which God has made in the moral law between things clean and unclean, nevertheless remains in force. We are not permitted to call light darkness, but, at the same time, we are not permitted to call darkness light. A pastor especially, should manifest a holy zeal against all that is unclean, whether it be found in himself or in others. Even the converted are to be thus addressed: ‘Touch not any unclean thing; lay apart all filthiness [Jam. 1:21]; let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’ [2 Cor. 7:1]. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 10:16. This was done thrice.—What manifold means God must employ, before his servants fully understand him! So, too, the servants of Christ must persevere in teaching and exhorting, and not grow weary of the frequent repetition of the same truth. It is even yet necessary that the vision of Peter should continually be presented to us anew, for doctrine, for reproof, for comfort and exhortation.—The sheet knit at the four corners, or, ‘God hath concluded all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all’ [Rom. 11:32].—All manner of beasts in Noah’s ark, and all manner of beasts in the vessel descending from heaven—two majestic images of the universality of saving grace.—What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common—a royal manifesto of evangelical liberty and grace, directed, I. Against Jewish traditions; II. Against a Pharisaic pride of caste; III. Against the monkish flight from the world (contempt of marriage, etc.); IV. Against puritanical censoriousness.—The vision of Peter on the housetop, a mirror for missions among the heathen, showing, I. Their heavenly origin, Acts 10:11; II. Their vast field, Acts 10:12; III. The severe labor, Acts 10:13; IV. The doubts and difficulties attending them, Acts 10:14; V. The divine promise bestowed on them, Acts 10:15.
ACTS 10:17. Now while Peter doubted in himself.—We should neither accept nor reject any professed revelation of divine things, or inspiration, without due investigation. (Starke).—Behold, the men … stood before the gate.—The concurrence of internal suggestions and external events, often unfolds to us the will of God. (Rieger).
ACTS 10:18. Called and asked, etc.—So wisely does God direct and govern all things, that they call, who are themselves to be called; comp. Acts 16:9. (Starke).
ACTS 10:19, 20. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, etc.—Light is given to him who is upright, and seeks God in simplicity of heart. (Quesn.).—Doubting nothing.—When the Spirit of God calls, we must promptly engage in labors from which our flesh and blood instinctively shrink. (Starke).
ACTS 10:21. Behold, I am he whom ye seek.—Thus speaks a faithful servant of Him, who himself says: ‘If ye seek me with all the heart, I will be found of you.’ [Jer. 29:13, 14].—And even if they are strangers, who call that servant, if their call is unwelcome, and if he is asked to go forth at night on a dangerous road, he does not delay, when the call is addressed to him in the name of the Lord.
ACTS 10:22. They said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, etc.—The love with which these servants speak of their master, is an honorable testimony for them too, as well as for him.—And to hear words of thee.—Cornelius was to hear the words of Peter, not to see miracles wrought by him. The chief business of a pastor or teacher consists in preaching the word. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 10:23. Then called he them in.—We ought to do good to them that have obtained like precious faith with us [2 Pet. 1:1]; and a bishop. especially, should be sober, of good behavior, and given to hospitality. 1 Tim. 3:2. (Starke).
ON THE WHOLE SECTION.—The best family government; when it is, I. Founded on the fear of God (when the head of the family is an example for all its members); II. Administered in love (which frees every command from harshness, and every service from bitterness of feeling).
The faithful head of a family; he is, I. In the presence of God, a devout household priest; II. In the bosom of the family, an affectionate father; III. To those without, a generous host.
The house that fears God, the abode of his blessing: I. Above the house heaven is opened; prayers ascend, God’s angels enter in; II. In the house dwell order and love; the same spirit in the old and the young, in those that rule, and those that obey; III. From the house a blessing proceeds; it confers temporal benefits, and affords an edifying example.
The house of the pagan Cornelius, a model and a rebuke for many a Christian house: I. In the former, the fear of God, and prayer—in the latter, life without God and prayer; II. In the former, union and love among all the inmates—in the latter, coldness and indifference, or strife and enmity; III. In the former, liberality and mercy—in the latter, avarice, or love of pleasure; IV. In the former, the Lord’s angels of blessing, and the salvation of heaven—in the latter, a curse on the house, and temporal and eternal destruction.
The messengers of Cornelius the centurion, standing at Peter’s door, or, Proud paganism humbly knocking at the gates of Christ’s kingdom of grace: I. The great gulf which was to be passed
Roman pride, and Jewish prejudice; II. The heavenly power which opened the way—in the case of the centurion, the drawing of the Father to the Son [John 6:44]; in the case of the apostle, the Spirit of truth who maketh free [John 8:32; 16:13], and the constraining love of Christ [2 Cor. 5:14]; III. The happy meeting—the humble request of the messengers, and the kind reception given by Peter.
The message sent from Cesarea to Joppa: I. An evidence of the poverty of heathenism; II. An honorable testimonial for the Gospel; III. A glorious witness to the wonderful love and power of God, “who will have all men to be saved, etc.” [1 Tim. 2:4].
[The religious character of Cornelius: I. “A Centurion” (temporal occupations—their consistency with religion); II. A “devout man” (nature of devoutness—in the mind, heart, conscience, will, walk); III. “Feareth God” (fear of God—nature, origin, influence); IV. “With all his house” (family religion—how maintained); V. “Gave much alms to the people” (practical illustrations of a devout spirit—objects of benevolence); VI. “Praying to God always” (persevering prayer, the medium of communication with the source of life); VII. What lacked he yet? (Mt. 19:20; Mark 10:21, “Jesus loved him”; Luke 18:22: “yet lackest thou one thing”.) The subsequent narrative shows that the centurion yet lacked, externally, personal union with the church; internally, a knowledge of, and a living faith in, the crucified and exalted Redeemer.—TR.]
Acts 10:9. ἐκείνων [text. rec.] in B. C. Vulg. and some fathers was exchanged for αὐτῶν [of A. E. G. and Cod. Sin.], which seemed to be a more appropriate reference to the persons who had just been mentioned; but the former should be preferred with Tischendorf [Lach. and Alf.].
Acts 10:10. a. Here, on the contrary, αὐτῶν is far better attested [A. B. C. E. Cod. Sin. Lach. Tisch. Alf.] than ἐκείνων [of text. rec. with G.].
Acts 10:10. b. ἐγένετο in A. B.C. [and Con. Sin.] is recommended by Griesbach, and adopted by Lach. and Tisch. [and Alf.]; it was [doubtless the original reading, but was] exchanged for ἐπέπεσεν [of E. G. and text. rec.], which seemed to be better suited both to ἕκστασις and the preposition ἐπί, as well as to the conception of an overpowering influence exerted from above. [Meyer prefers ἐπέπ.—TR.]
Acts 10:11. a. The reading ἐπ̓ ἀυτόν [text. rec.] after καταβαῖνον occurs only in G. and is wanting in the most important MSS. [A. B. E. Cod. Sin.], and in many ancient versions [Syr. Vulg.]; it is, without doubt, spurious. [Omitted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.—TR.]
Acts 10:11. b. The words δεδεμένον καὶ [text. rec.] are wanting in some MSS. [A. B. Cod. Sin. and Vulg., but found in G.]; hence Lachm., and, at an earlier period, Tisch. cancelled them. But they were probably omitted in conformity to Acts 11:5, where no various reading exists, while, in this verse, they are genuine. [Alford is doubtful, and inserts the words in the text, but in brackets.—TR.]
Acts 10:12. The position of τῆς γῆς after ἑρπετά [as in A. B. C. E. Cod. Sin. Syr. Vulg.] is most fully attested. [It is adopted by Lach., Tisch., and Alf.—The words: καὶ τὰ θηρία, of text. rec. and G., are omitted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf., (as an addition from Acts 11:6) in conformity to A. B. E. Cod. Sin. Vulg.—Tr.]
Acts 10:14. καὶ, in place of ἤ [which occurs in C. D. E. G. and text. rec.] is found in A. B. [and Cod. Sin.] and in a number of ancient versions and fathers, and is, therefore, preferred by Lach. and Tisch. [and Alf.].
Acts 10:16. εὐθύς, in place of πάλιν [of G. and text. rec.], is most fully sustained [A. B. C. E. Cod. Sin. Vulg.], and would not have been substituted for the more obvious πάλιν [if it had not been the original reading], while the reverse could easily occur, [εὐθυς in Lach. Tisch. and Alf.].
Acts 10:17. a. Bornemann has inserted ἐγένετο after ἑαυτῷ, although it is supported by only one MS., D., and is altogether superfluous. [Omitted by other editors, in accordance with Cod. Sin. etc.—TR.]
Acts 10:17. b. καί before ἰδού is omitted by Lachmann, in conformity to A. B. [and Cod. Sin.], as well as some minuscules and versions; but if it was originally written, it may have appeared [to copyists] to be unnecessary. [Found in C. D. E. G. and adopted by Tisch. and Alf.—TR.]
Acts 10:19. a. The compound διενθυμ. [adopted by Lach. Tisch. Stier, etc. Alf.] is most satisfactorily attested [A. B. C. D. E. G. Cod. Sin.], and is to be preferred to the more simple form ἐνθυμ. (text. rec.).
Acts 10:19. b. τρεῖς (Acts 11:11) is, indeed, supported by some important MSS. [A. C. E. Cod. Sin. Vulg., and adopted by Lachm.]; still, it is, without doubt, a later addition, [omitted in D. G. II.]; this view is confirmed by the fact that B. has σύο; see Acts 10:7. [Omitted by Tisch. and Alf.—TR.]
Acts 10:20. ὅτι is found in all the authorities [A. B. C. D. E. II. Cod. Sin.,] except a single one, G., which reads διότι [ὅτι in Lach. Tisch. and Alf.—TR.]
Acts 10:21. A single uncial MS., II., and some minuscules and fathers, insert, after τοὺς ἅνδρας, the following: τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους ἀπὸ τοῦ Κορνηλίου πρὸς αὐτόν; but these words [inserted in text. rec.] occur with many variations, and are assuredly a later addition. [Omitted in A. B. C. D. E. G. Cod. Sin. Vulg., and by later critics generally; “an explanatory interpolation, Acts 10:21 beginning an ecclesiastical portion” (Alf.), and evidently transferred from Acts 10:17.—TR.]
And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.§ III. Peter accompanies the messengers to Cesarea, and, after being informed of the revelation which Cornelius had received, preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ in his house; and, as the Holy Ghost was immediately poured out upon the Gentile hearers, he at once directs that they should be baptized
CHAPTER 10:23–48 (23b-48)
23b And [But] on the morrow [next day], Peter [he (om. Peter) arose and]21 went away [forth] with them, and certain [of the] brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24And the morrow [on the day] after they [he]22 entered into Cesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen [relatives] and near [intimate] friends. 25And as Peter was coming in23 , Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him [om. him]. 26But Peter took [raised] him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. 27And as he talked with him [And amid friendly converse], he went in, and found many that were [had] come together. 28And he [; and] said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing [Ye know how unlawful it is] for a man that is a Jew to keep company [to attach himself] or come [go] unto one of another nation [unto a foreigner]; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29Therefore [also, χαὶ] came I unto you [om. unto you] without gainsaying [objection], as soon as [when] I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent [on what account] ye have sent for me? 30And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting24 until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in [a] bright clothing [garment], 31And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of [are remembered before] God. 32Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged [lodges] in the house of one Simon a tanner [of the tanner Simon] by the sea side [by the sea]: who, when he cometh, shall [will] speak unto thee.25 33Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art [hast] come. Now therefore are we all here present before God26 , to hear all things that are commanded thee of God [by the Lord]27 . 34Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, [:]
Of a truth [In truth] I perceive [comprehend] that God is no respecter of persons: 35But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with [acceptable to] him. 36The word which28 God [he] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) [om. parenthetical marks.] 37That word, I say [That] ye know, which was published [took place] throughout all Judea, and began [beginning]29 from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth [Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him] with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of [overpowered by] the devil; for God was with him. 39And we are30 witnesses of all things which he did both [om. both] in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree [whom they also hanged on the wood (cross) and slew]: 40Him God raised up [on] the third day, and shewed him openly [and made him manifest]; 41Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which [he himself who]31 was ordained of [appointed by] God to be the [a] Judge of quick [the living] and [the] dead. 43To him [To this one] give all the prophets witness, that through, his name whosoever [every one who] believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which [all who] heard the word [discourse]. 45And they of the circumcision which believed [And the believers who were of the circumcision] were astonished, [here om. were astonished] as many as came with Peter, [were astonished,] because [om. because] that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47Can any man forbid [the] water, that these should not be baptized, which [who] have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.32 Then prayed [besought] they him to tarry certain [some] days.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
ACTS 10:23b. On the morrow [next day, he (Peter) arose].—Peter waited until the next morning before he departed with the messengers of Cornelius, who, doubtless, needed some hours of repose. Six men, who belonged to the Christian congregation in Joppa, and whose precise number Luke afterwards states, in Acts 11:12, voluntarily accompanied him; they were, possibly, encouraged by the apostle himself to do so. They accordingly constituted a small caravan of ten men. But they required more than one day in order to complete a journey of thirty Roman miles [see above, EXEG. Acts 10:9. a.—TR.], and, consequently, did not reach Cesarea until the following day, that is, the fourth day (Acts 10:30) after the intimation which Cornelius had received from the angel.
ACTS 10:24. And Cornelius waited for them.—He could easily calculate that they would arrive on this day, and awaited, with deep interest and reverence, the appearance of the apostle with his own messengers (αὐτούς). He had, besides, in view of such a highly valued visit, which God had arranged, invited both his relatives and also certain intimate friends, all of whom, without doubt, entertained sentiments resembling his own, and were susceptible of religious impressions. The centurion could, therefore, truly say (Acts 10:33): ‘We are present before God, whom we remember, and to whom we devoutly look up.’.—When, therefore, Peter and his nine travelling companions arrived, they found not only the entire household (Acts 10:2) of Cornelius, but also many relatives and friends assembled, who already formed quite a numerous household congregation.
ACTS 10:25, 26. And as Peter was coming in, namely, into the house of Cornelius (ἐγένετο τοῦ εἰςελθεῖν; this phrase is analogous to the Hebrew, but unprecedented in this form.). [For τοῦ see note 3 above, appended to the text. “Τοῦ is critically sustained, but cannot be compared with the usus loquendi mentioned by Gesenius [(Lehrgeb. p. 786 f.), as the phraseology would in that case be: ἐγέν. ὁ Πετ. τοῦ εἰςελθεῖν. We have here a case in which the use of the infin. with τοῦ is carried beyond all bounds, etc. Bornem. declares the whole clause to be spurious, etc.” (WINER: Gram. N. T. § 44. 4. ult. 6th ed., p. 293.). “We cannot admit of any comparison with the Hebrew ויְהִי־ לָבו̇א (‘the sun was on the point of setting,’ Rödiger’s Gesenius, § 132. 3. Obs. 1.), Gen. 15:12, (GES. Lehrg. p. 787), as here וַיְהַי does not stand absolutely, but is attended by its nominative, and as, moreover, the Sept. never imitates this and similar phrases by employing ἐγένετο τοῦ, etc.” (Meyer, ad loc.).—TR.]. The master of the house went forward and met Peter, showing him the utmost respect, and even offering worship, in the proper sense, by prostrating himself; this act was, strictly speaking, equivalent to that of divine adoration. (The term employed is προςεκύνησεν, but the object itself, namely, αὐτόν, is not mentioned, from monotheistic delicacy.). [“Non addit Lucas, eum. Euphemia.” (Bengel.).—TR.]. The spurious addition to Acts 10:25 (see above, note 3, appended to the text) is remarkable; according to this statement, Cornelius does not await the apostle in his own dwelling, and meet him there, but, on being informed by a servant that Peter is approaching the city, he leaves his house and meets him on the way. Such a statement frees the narrator from any embarrassment which he might be supposed to feel in saying, in direct terms, προςεκύνησεν αὐτόν.—The Roman regards Peter as an ambassador of God, and does not hesitate to pay him divine honor, which act may have been facilitated by the pagan practice of deifying men. But Peter, who did not for one moment tolerate such idolatrous honors, directed him to arise, and raised him up, since he, too, (κἀγὼ αὐτός) was, like Cornelius, simply a human being.
ACTS 10:27. And as he talked with him, he (Peter) went in, that is, into the apartment in which those whom Cornelius had invited, were assembled.—The same word (εἰςελθεῖν, είςῆλθε) occurs both in Acts 10:25 and here, without any specification; in the former case it refers to Peter’s entrance into the house, in the latter, to his entrance into a certain apartment. The apostle here found a large number of persons assembled (πολλούς)—a large field white already to harvest [John 4:35].
ACTS 10:28, 29. Ye know, etc.—Peter at once addresses, in general terms, the persons whom he finds assembled, and, while he speaks very frankly of his appearance in the house of a pagan, desires them to state the reason for which they had called him. He does not question Cornelius in particular, but addresses all who are present, and seemingly assumes that all entertained the same sentiments, and that the centurion had sent for him in the name of all. He premises that they are doubtless aware that a Jew ought not to enter into such relations with a foreigner (in a spirit of forbearance employing the word ἀλλοφύλῳ rather than the term heathen), as to become intimately connected with him (κολλᾶσθαι), to come to him, or to enter his house. ’Αθέμιτον is nefas, not allowed; the forms ἀθέμιστος and ἀθέμιτος are used interchangeably even in classical Greek.—The Mosaic law does not contain a direct and literal prohibition of this kind, nor does it agree in spirit with such a principle. But rabbinical Judaism did unquestionably carry the principle of separation to such an extreme, as to decree: Prohibitum est Judæo solum esse cum Ethnico, itinerari cum Ethnico, etc. LIGHTFOOT: Horæ Hebr. ad Matth. 18:17. And we have an evidence of this in the fact that, in the age of Jesus, the Jews believed that they became Levitically unclean by entering the house of a heathen; see John 18:28. There were, no doubt, exceptions to this rule, but Peter is speaking of the custom and the established rule. He declares, however, at the same time that God had shewed him (ἔδειξεν denoting the symbolical but distinct vision) that he was not at liberty to call any man common or unclean, or treat him as such, and avoid him (ἄνθρωπον being used with an emphasis indicating and establishing the principle of universality [as the antithesis of particularism, or a particular regard for the chosen people.—TR.]). In obedience to the divine directions—he adds—he had offered no objections, but had come at once, as soon as the call had reached him. He now desires to receive a more precise statement than the messengers had given him (Acts 10:22), of the motive of his hearers when they sent the invitation. [Κοινός, ceremonially unclean, defiled; comp. Mark 7:2, and the verb, Mark 7:15, and Mt. 15:11.—TR.]
ACTS 10:30–33. Four days ago I was fasting.—Cornelius first gives a detailed account of the instructions which he had received from the angel, and then requests Peter to communicate to him and his assembled friends, all that he, as a messenger of God, had been commissioned to say, Acts 10:30–33. The language: ἀπὸ τετάρτης ἡμέρας μέχρι ταύτης τῆς ὥρας, has been differently interpreted, both with respect to the terminus a quo and to the terminus ad quem. (a.) ’Απὸ τετ. ἡμ. cannot mean: on the fourth day previously, that is, four days before the appearance of the angel (de Wette, Neander), for, in that case, the day itself, which had become so important, would not be specified at all. The sense can only be the following: quarto abhinc die, four days ago, reckoned back from to-day; an analogous mode of expression, referring to measures of distance, occurs in John 11:18; 21:8; Rev. 14:20. This is the interpretation which Chrysostom had already given to the passage, and it has since been generally adopted. (b). The terminus ad quem: μέχρι ταύτης τῆς ὥρας, does not mean: until to-day and the present hour (Bengel), for Cornelius does not intend to relate any circumstances that occurred between the appearance of the angel and the arrival of Peter, but refers exclusively to that day and its great event—the appearance of the angel; and, indeed, if the former had been the sense, ἥμην [which cannot possibly reach to the present time (Alf.)] would not have been employed.—But Cornelius describes not only the time in which the angel appeared to him, but also the condition and state of preparation in which he was, precisely at that time. He was fasting and praying—he says—when, about the ninth hour [the same hour of the day as the one in which he was then addressing Peter, ταύτης] an angel, clothed with a bright garment, suddenly stood before him, and delivered the message that God had heard his prayer, and graciously remembered his alms [here, unlike Acts 10:4. each noun has its proper verb. (Alf.).—TR.]. Cornelius adds that the angel had instructed him to send to Joppa for Peter, who would speak to him, that is, instruct him, in the name of God; he concludes with the remark that all were now present, looking up to God, and ready to listen devoutly to all that Peter should say to them in accordance with the divine command.
ACTS 10:34.—Then Peter opened his mouth; these words [as in 8:35] inform us, with great solemnity, that the following address contains important truths. The address itself, consists of three parts: 1. The introduction, Acts 10:34, 35, stating that all men, without regard to national distinctions, may alike be received into the kingdom of God, provided that they fear Him, and do that which is right; 2. A brief exhibition of the life and work of Jesus, extending to the judgment, Acts 10:36–42; 3. The assurance, supported by the prophetic word, that through Christ, every one who believes in him, shall receive remission of sins, Acts 10:43.
ACTS 10:35.—Of a truth I perceive [In truth, I comprehend].—’Επʼ ἀληθείας; truth is the foundation, [ἐπί, WINER, Gram. § 47.5. g.—TR.] so that Peter’s knowledge rests on the truth, and, indeed is truth. Καταλαμβάνω, act. means, at times, to convict, since he who convicts the guilty person, as it were obstrictum tenet; καταλαμβάνομαι, pass., means: I am convicted, convinced, intellectually overpowered by the force of the facts and testimony, i.e., I recognize and comprehend that God does not act with partiality, in choosing men for his kingdom. See below, DOCTR. and ETH. No. 2.
ACTS 10:36–38. The word.—The construction, in these three verses, in which Peter assumes that the principal facts in the life of Jesus, are not entirely unknown to his hearers, is somewhat loose. There are three successive introductory clauses [accusatives], to every one of which ὑμεῖς οἲδατε belong, as the governing words. The object which the hearers already know in general, is specified in a threefold manner: (a) as the word of a certain message from God, τὸν λόγον etc. Acts 10:36; (b) as an historical event, τὸ γενόμενον ῥῆμα etc. Acts 10:37; (c) as the personality of Jesus of Nazareth, ’Ιησοῦν τὸν etc. Acts 10:38. [This is the view of Meyer, who says: “οῦ̓τος … κύριος is parenthetical. For Peter has already ὑμεῖς οἴδατε in his mind, when he says τὸν λόγον, but he interrupts himself by introducing the words: οῦ̓τος … κύριος. He then resumes the thought of Acts 10:36, and amplifies it, but now at once introduces ὑμεῖς οἴδατε, and then connects his further remarks, by saying ’Ιησοῦν τ. ἀ. Ναζ., which words are in apposition.”—TR.]. We have here undeniably a climax. Peter presupposes that although his hearers are pagans, they could not be entirely unacquainted with the history of Jesus, in view of their residence in Cesarea, and of their religious sentiments and susceptibilities. Hence, as he assumes, they must have had a certain amount of knowledge respecting this history, in three respects: (a) as a word, which concerned the Israelites; (b) as an event in the country in which they themselves resided; (c) lastly, as the appearance of the divine personality of Jesus of Nazareth. With regard to grammatical points, there is no reason for connecting τὸν λόγον of Acts 10:36 in the same construction with Acts 10:34 ff., and making it dependent on καταλαμβάνομαι, as Tischendorf does, who places a comma after ἐστί in Acts 10:35, which is also done by de Wette, Baumgarten, Lange [and Alford, while Knapp, Lachman and Stier place a full stop there, in accordance with Meyer.—TR.]. This construction [τ. λόγ. dependent on καταλ.] cannot possibly be adopted, without offering violence to the whole, whereas the construction, according to which λόγον, ῥῆμα, ’Ιησοῦν, depend on οἴδατε, although exhibiting an accumulation and pressure of clauses, nevertheless corresponds fully to the highly excited emotions and sentiments, which, at the moment, control the soul of the speaker. In this manner we explain the intermediate clause [“parenthesis,” WINER, § 62. 3. ult.; § 63.2. d.—TR.]: οῦ̓τος ἐστι πάντων κύριος; when Peter mentions the name of Jesus for the first time in the presence of these hearers, he feels himself constrained to testify that HE is a Lord over all (πάντων, not neuter, but masculine), namely, over Gentiles as well as Jews; he is especially led to add these words, as he said that the glad tidings [εὐαγγ.] of peace (salvation), proclaimed through Jesus, had been sent by God to the Israelites. He does not wish that the Gentiles should suppose that they were less favored, and therefore declares that the Prophet through whom God proclaimed this message of peace, was, at the same time a Lord over all men. He proceeds, in Acts 10:38, to speak of Jesus personally, as mentioned above, and describes both his terrestrial origin (ὁ ἀπὸ Ναζ.), and also his celestial endowment with the Holy Ghost and power (ἔχρισεν etc. being intended to explain the name Xριστός in Acts 10:36), in consequence of which he performed healing and redeeming works; the concluding words of Acts 10:38, describe his intimate union and fellowship with God.—Καταδυναστεύω is: potentia mea opprimo, tyrannidem exerceo in aliquem.
ACTS 10:39–41. And we are witnesses.—In Acts 10:39 ff., Peter speaks of the death and resurrection of Jesus, of his commands which were addressed to the apostles, and of his future return to judgment. The word καί between ὃν and ἀνεῖλον [see above, note 10, appended to the text], can scarcely be supposed to indicate the other persecutions to which Jesus had been exposed, and which were followed by his crucifixion (Meyer), but is probably introduced merely for the reason that an additional leading fact in the history is next stated—his death on the cross, followed by his resurrection. [De Wette and Winer (Gram. § 66. 3. ult.) assign to it the force of etiam or adeo.—TR.]. The words μάρτυσι, etc. [Acts 10:41] imply that the witness concerning Jesus referred preëminently to his resurrection, and it is precisely to this point that the intermediate clause: οἵτινες συνεφάγομεν, etc. alludes. This latter clause is not, with Bengel, to be extended to the three years of the public ministry of Jesus, but is to be restricted to the forty days which intervened between his resurrection and ascension; for the circumstance that the disciples did eat and drink with the Risen One [Lu. 24:41–43; John 21:12–15], qualified them to bear witness from personal knowledge, concerning the actual, corporeal life of the Saviour after his resurrection. The choice of the apostles or witnesses [προ in προκεχειρ., referring to their early appointment as future witnesses of the resurrection (Meyer)], is here ascribed by Peter to the Lord, inasmuch as the call which they received through Jesus, was a choice made by God himself.
ACTS 10:42, 43. And he commanded us.—The nominative of παρήγγειλεν seems to be Jesus, rather than God. The last commission which the risen Redeemer gave to the apostles, required them, 1. to proclaim to the people of Israel (ὁ λαός the Jewish people) and, 2. to testify (namely, to all men, without the restriction appended to κηρῦξαι), that he was himself appointed [ὁρίζω here, to appoint, name; WAHL, ad verb.—TR.] by God, as the Judge of the living and the dead. The latter phrase, again, involves the conception of universality, referring to all mankind, and to all ages of the world. But the most distinct statement of the truth that there is salvation in Christ for all, occurs in Acts 10:43, at the close of the address; ‘Every one [πάντα τὸν π.] who believes in him, will receive the forgiveness of sins.’ Peter declares that such is the unanimous testimony of all the prophets, evidently assuming that Cornelius and his friends were not, at that time, unacquainted with the predictions of the prophets of Israel.
ACTS 10:44–46. While Peter yet spake these words, and before he had concluded his discourse, the Holy Ghost fell on all his hearers. ’Επέπεσεν does not necessarily denote a visible descent (modo conspicuo, as Bengel explains it), but merely the sudden manifestation of a higher power, the influence of which proceeded from above. That the operations of the Holy Ghost were perceptible (not, indeed, visible, but, certainly, audible), appears from Acts 10:46: these pagans could be heard, as they spake with tongues and highly extolled God. Their utterances consisted of humble, hearty, and inspired praises and thanks, which they offered to God for his grace. The manner in which they spake, is described as a γλώσσαις λαλεῖν. It should be here carefully noticed that ἑτέραις is not appended, as in Acts 2 Acts 10:4, comp. with Acts 10:6, 8, 11: we must, on the contrary, assume, that the meaning of the narrator is the following:—These hearers spake with tongues after the manner of the Corinthian Christians [see above, notes on Acts 2:9–11.—TR.], that is, they spake in an elevated, devotional frame of mind, and employed language which deviated from the intelligible mode of expression adopted in common life. The observation of this fact made (Acts 10:45) an extraordinary impression on the Judæo-Christians (οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς πιστοί) who had accompanied Peter; ἐξέστησαν, they were almost deprived of all self-possession—so great was their wonder when they saw that the gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out also on the Gentiles. It is obvious that their thoughts did not dwell on the persons before them, considered as individuals, but rather on their general character as heathens, and that they deduced from a concrete fact the general principle that the heathens (τὰ ἔθνη, def. article) could receive the Holy Ghost.
ACTS 10:47, 48. Can any man forbid [the, τὸ] water, etc.?—Peter at once makes the practical application:—If these men have received the Holy Ghost as well as we, that is, believers belonging to Israel (καθὼς καὶ ἡμεῖς), who then can refuse the water, so that they shall not be baptized?—The peculiar form of expression occurring in the question, sounds as if a conscious and energetic will were ascribed to the baptismal water, somewhat in the following sense:—If no one was able to hinder the Spirit from coming upon these people, then no one can keep back the water which purposes to flow upon them unto baptism. Or, in other words:—Every scruple respecting the baptism of these heathens, is practically removed by their baptism with the Spirit. [This is the only instance in which the outpouring of the Spirit preceded Baptism; it was intended to remove all hesitation on the part of the Judæo-Christians who attended Peter, respecting the reception of the pagans, and the propriety of immediately administering baptism to them.—Bengel very correctly says: Non dicit: Jam habent Spiritum, ergo aqua carere possunt. (Meyer).—TR.]. Peter accordingly gives directions that they should be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. He did not himself administer the rite, but assigned the duty to some one of the Christians who had come with him.—Luke relates, at the close, that Cornelius and his friends besought the apostle to remain for some time with them, and we may assume that this request was not denied [particularly, as he is charged in Acts 11:3, with having sat at the table with them. (Meyer).—TR.]. During this prolonged visit, further instructions respecting the Christian faith and life, were, without doubt, imparted to the new converts.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The honorable reception which Cornelius gave to the apostle, expressed alike his deep humility, and the high degree of esteem with which he regarded Peter as a true ambassador of God. Still, a certain element was betrayed in that reception which was not genuine and healthy—it was the delusion that Peter was, nevertheless, more than a human being. Here already lay concealed the germ of the worship of the saints—a worship offered to human beings, which belongs to God alone, which derogates from the honor that is due exclusively to the triune God, and which, with respect to the way of salvation, leads Christendom astray. It is, moreover, remarkable that in this case, which is the first in which more than the honor due to a man, is offered to a servant of God, it is precisely a heathen who performs the act. The whole system, indeed, of the worship of the saints, as it was gradually developed in the ancient church, is essentially of heathen origin, and is a relapse into heathenism. Peter declines to receive such excessive honors, raises up the kneeling man, and plainly declares, that he, the worshipped one, was, like the worshipper, only a human being; and thus, in accordance with the maxim: Principiis obsta, he at once resisted, when the first evil symptoms appeared, and protested against an error, which at a later period, assumed a most serious character. Thus we have here already, in the earliest period of the history of the apostles, a solemn warning against that paganizing worship of the saints, which confounds that which is divine, with that which is human.
2. It is well known that the introductory words, in the discourse of Peter, Acts 10:34, 35, have often been so interpreted, as to teach that all religions are of equal value, that faith, as contradistinguished from morality, is not indispensable, and that, with respect to the salvation of the soul, all that is specifically Christian, is of no importance. But the attempt to find a palliation of indifference on the subject of religion in this passage, betrays, as even de Wette judges, “very great exegetical frivolity”; both the words themselves, and also the whole connection of the discourse, as well as of the narrative of which they form a part, decidedly pronounce against such an interpretation. For the main point in the whole transaction is nothing less than the conversion of Cornelius, or the admission of himself, his household, and his friends, into the church of Christ. But their admission encounters a very serious difficulty; it is, namely, by no means clear that these persons, who are pagans, can, without further ceremony, and yet with a good conscience, and in a manner that could be acceptable before God, be received into the Christian Church. Is it not, rather, necessary that they should previously be incorporated by circumcision with the people of Israel? The removal of this difficulty by a divine interposition, constitutes the central point, the specific significance, of the whole occurrence. If the language in Acts 10:34, 35, meant that a heathen, a Jew, and a Christian, were altogether alike in the eyes of God, and that any one of them could as easily be saved as another, provided that he was honorable and upright in his conduct, then Peter should have simply allowed Cornelius to remain what he was—a heathen—without leading him to Christ. Hence, the interpretation to which we adverted above, is at variance alike with the context of Acts 10:34, 35, and with the whole narrative, of which these verses constitute an integral portion.—If we, next, consider the terms which are employed in Acts 10:34, 35, we find a negative, and then a positive proposition before us. The negative is the following: God does not regard the person (οὐ προςωπολήπτης ὁ θεός), that is, his judgment of a man is not influenced by any accidental external qualities or circumstances, but is decided by the internal, essential, moral, personal character of the individual. As the judge ought to be influenced, not by wealth or poverty, the station, power, and connections of the respective parties before him, but by justice and moral facts, so, too, as Peter here says, God does not regard the external relations of persons, their external advantages or disadvantages. Now all this seems, at first view, to be of little significance, and to involve a trivial truth, which every sensible Israelite must have already known; and, in general, Peter had long since been well acquainted with it. But we, too, know many a truth, which nevertheless becomes clear to the mind only at a later period, under peculiar circumstances, and through the illumination of the Spirit of God; it then appears to us in a new and very bright light, especially when it receives an application with which we had not been previously acquainted. Such was now the case of Peter, when the leadings and revelations of God fully convinced him, that He made no difference between Jews and Gentiles with respect to His grace in Christ and the admission into his kingdom; so that the circumstance that an individual belonged to the people of God was only of an external nature. That circumcision without the fear of God, did not profit an Israelite, the prophets had already frequently and emphatically declared. But that, on the other hand, the want of circumcision and of subjection to the Mosaic law, did no injury to the Pagan, and was no hinderance to his acquisition of full citizenship in the church of Christ, was an application of a well-known truth which nevertheless took even Peter by surprise. And the knowledge which he now acquired, in addition, concerning sin and grace, and the old and new covenants, made this an ever memorable period in his history.—Further, the positive proposition is the following: In every nation he who fears God and practises righteousness, is acceptable to Him. The words ἐν παντὶ ἔθνει already make a special application of the previous negative proposition, the terms of which were somewhat more general; we now have a reference to the question of nationality, or to the distinction between Israel and heathen, nations. It is here important to form a correct view as well of the subject as of the predicate of the proposition. The subject is: Every one that fears God, and practises righteousness, of whatever nation he may be. Two moral qualifications are here specified, and no process of interpretation is honestly conducted, by which the one is actually absorbed by the other, as when, for instance, the devout sentiments which constitute the fear of God, are identified with integrity in our conduct towards our neighbor. The indifferentistic mode of interpretation is inclined to adopt the latter view. [Indifferentism is variously defined, but, in all its forms, it is represented as being a want of earnestness in appreciating doctrinal truth; see Lange’s article on the subject in HERZOG: Real-Encyk. VI. 657 ff.—TR.]. Peter says, on the one hand, that where the fear of God and righteous conduct are found, no national advantages are requisite, but, on the other hand, he presupposes that such a disposition constitutes absolutely the indispensable condition on which the favor of God depends. Hence he alone can reach the great end in view—i.e. acceptance with God—who has attained this moral qualification, whether the way to it had been direct or circuitous, provided that it led through repentance and conversion (μετάνοια). This great end is expressed in the predicate: θεκτὸς αὐτῷ ἐστιν, literally, acceptabilis Deo est, that is, he is in such a state that God can, and will accept and receive him, namely, into His kingdom, so that he may be saved. The whole context clearly shows that admission into the pale of Christianity is here meant. Even if, however, we do not take δεκτός exclusively in the sense of acceptable, but rather in that of acceptus, gratus, in which sense it certainly occurs elsewhere in the New Testament (Lu. 4:19, 24; 2 Cor. 6:2; Phil. 4:18), we can, in that case, too, judging from the apostle’s whole mode of thought and feeling, connect with the word only the conception of God’s good pleasure in Christ. Accordingly, Peter ascribes to every one who fears God and is righteous, of whatever nation he may be, only the capability of being saved through Christ, but not the fitness to be saved without Christ. Bengel has very justly called attention to the parallel case in Acts 15:14; at the apostolic council, James, when referring to the present occurrence, and, perhaps, also to the present passage, uses the following language concerning God: λαβεῖν ἐξ ἐθνῶ λαὸν ἐπὶ τῳ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ scil. ʼΙμσαῦ; his term, λαβεῖν, corresponds to δεκτός, i.e., Peter’s term. The great point here is the reception of the Gentiles among the people of God through Christ—a reception that conforms, to the divine will. And, in view, of all the facts, Bengel has expressed himself very happily: Non indifferentismus religionum, sed indifferentia nationum hic asseritur.
3. The testimony of Peter in this missionary discourse respecting the Person of Christ is less detailed than that which refers to His Work; still, it is sufficiently comprehensive. He indicates, on the one hand, the human nature of Jesus Christ, by applying to him the name: Jesus of Nazareth; for the Redeemer’s origin and human descent are designated by the term. He says of Jesus, on the other hand, ὁ θεός ῆ̓ν μετʼ αὐτοῦ, Acts 10:38. This is language, it is true, which might possibly be employed in reference to a prophet and servant of God [ch. 7:9; Acts 18:10], and does not necessarily predicate any thing of Jesus that is altogether peculiar; still, the expression may be used in a sense which assigns a preëminent position to him.—God was with him, namely, not merely temporarily, but permanently; not merely externally, but internally. Bengel thinks that the apostle spoke parcius, pro auditorum captu, de rnajestate Christi. At least a certain divine majesty of Christ, (particularly in his state of exaltation), towering above all that is human, is indirectly revealed in Peter’s remarks on the Work of Christ. He is πάντων κύριος Acts 10:36, and is appointed by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead—both a position and an office which presuppose the Deity of Christ.
4. Peter describes the Work of Christ with great fulness, and in a very instructive manner. He assigns the first place to the prophetic office of Jesus. God has—he says—proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ; thus the welcome message of peace, that is, the word or the doctrine of Christ, is prominently presented, Acts 10:36; but he mentions, at the same time, the acts of Jesus, or the benefits which he conferred in healing the sick and demoniacs. The act was in harmony with the word; the latter announced peace and salvation, the former (comp. ῶ̓ν ἐποίησεν, Acts 10:39) procured salvation and peace. Jesus—he says—was an eminent prophet in deeds and words; his doctrine proclaimed saving truth, and wherever he personally appeared, in the whole country, he furnished effectual aid, restoring the sick to health, and freeing those who groaned under the tyranny of Satan by which they were held captive. The act imparts new efficacy to the word, insomuch that if Christ would cease today actually to bestow reconciliation, salvation, peace and liberty on souls that are bound, his word of the Gospel would no longer be received in faith.—The sacerdotal office of Christ is indicated in Acts 10:43: every one who believes in him, receives the remission of sins through his name. Peter does not, it is true, explain the mode by which this result is produced. But it must be remembered that he here appears simply in the character of a missionary herald, and does not intend to explain the grounds of an acknowledged truth, or exhibit its connection with others. But the remission of sins through his name, that is, through his Person, when it is acknowledged and confessed, unmistakably presupposes that He is personally the medium through whom divine grace and forgiveness are obtained, or, in other words, he is the author of this reconciliation.—Finally, the kingly office of Christ is set forth partly in Acts 10:36: πάντων κύριος, partly in Acts 10:42: κριτὴς ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν. He is highly exalted above all, as the Lord of all men, Jews and Gentiles, and all are therefore bound to honor and obey him. Thus Christ possesses a kingdom which he governs, and this kingdom embraces all mankind. It is the crown of this glory that He is appointed to be the Judge of the world; as he is the Judge even of the dead, his kingly power extends to the lower world, and comprehends alike the generations of those who died long ago, and of those who shall yet be born.
5. The article of faith to which the whole discourse ultimately refers, is stated in Acts 10:43:—Every one receives the remission of sins through Jesus Christ, who believes in him. The feature of universality by which the whole discourse is distinguished, strikingly re-appears in the word πάντα. This concluding sentence conveys a threefold truth—it refers to the human race, to the Mediator, and to the way of salvation. It bears witness indirectly that all men are sinners, since it offers forgiveness to all, and thus declares that all need forgiveness. It distinctly announces, in the next place, that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator and Reconciler, and that no one can obtain forgiveness and the grace of God except through Him. It shows clearly and unmistakably, in the last place, that faith in Christ, or a confiding acceptance of the Redeemer, is the direct, and, indeed, the only way to forgiveness or to salvation in general, of which forgiveness is the central point. Thus the whole Christian system of faith lies in this one sentence in nuce.
6. The most important and significant fact in the whole narrative was undoubtedly the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the hearers. It was the direct and positive evidence of God himself that these persons were acceptable to him, and that they belonged to Christ. The gift of the Holy Ghost is, according to the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, the highest blessing that can be obtained in the kingdom of Christ. Inferior gifts cannot be denied to him on whom this exalted blessing, which, from the nature of the case, God alone can give, has been bestowed. But it now appears that God has given his Holy Spirit to these people, although they are yet heathens, and thereby He has cleansed and sanctified them. What God has cleansed, that no man is permitted to regard as unclean, and treat as profane. Hence, even the strictest Israelite is now required to consider these Gentiles as clean, and as consecrated to God.—Baptism is the consecrating rite by which an individual is admitted into the Church of Christ and to the grace of God, through the water and the Spirit. As baptism with water, does not suffice without the gift of the Holy Ghost, so, too, the baptism with the Spirit ought not to remain alone, that is, without being associated with baptism with water. [See above EXEG. notes on Acts 10:47, 48.—TR.]. The gift of the Spirit usually follows baptism with water, in the order of time (comp. Acts 2:38)—sometimes, after a comparitively long interval, and as the result of special prayer combined with the imposition of hands (Acts 8:15–17). In this case, the Holy Spirit, who manifests his influence where he listeth (John 3:8), comes upon the hearers, even before they are baptized; but no man is now at liberty to offer opposition to the water of baptism, for, otherwise, he would “be found to fight against God” (θεομάχος, comp. Acts 5:39).—This outpouring of the Spirit on pagan hearers, is, accordingly, an unmistakable divine declaration, that it is not necessary that pagans should first be incorporated with the people of Israel through circumcision and the adoption of the law, before they could, with propriety, be received into the Messianic church of Jesus.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
ACTS 10:23b. Certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.—A pastor acts judiciously, (particularly in cases in which weak minds might entertain scruples), when he allows his course of action, of the agreement of which with the word of God he is convinced, to be open to the inspection of all. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 10:24. And had called together his kinsmen and near friends.—The desire that others should share in our spiritual gifts, is the great characteristic of love and friendship. (Starke).—We impoverish ourselves when we share our earthly goods with others; but the more liberally we impart our spiritual riches to them in love, the more abundantly we ourselves become endowed with them. (Quesnel).—It is very proper to exhort awakened souls not to permit even their nearest friends and connections to withdraw them from the kingdom of God; nevertheless, their intercourse with the latter should not only not be entirely discontinued, but rather, be employed as the means of extending the kingdom of Christ. (Ap. Past.).—We are often only too reserved towards one another in spiritual things, and would often find others more accessible than we had supposed them to be. (Rieger).
ACTS 10:25, 26. Cornelius—fell down at his feet—But Peter took—saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.—It was when Peter made the confession: ‘I am a sinful man,’ that he was received into the service of Jesus, and was appointed to be a fisher of men [Lu. 5:8, 10; Mt. 4:19]. And now, when such a successful draught in the house of Cornelius awaited him, he again recalls the fact to mind, and tells others too, that he is also a man. (Rieger).—Cornelius offered too much honour to a living, bodily and distinctly seen saint; but who is it that worships doubtful, fictitious and painted saints? (Starke).—The man who permits others to kiss his foot, is neither Peter’s true successor, nor has he Peter’s humble mind. (id.).—We can see in this instance how soon awakened souls can go too far, when they place too much confidence in those who are merely God’s instruments, and pay them too much honor. Such a reception gives a true servant of God pain, and not pleasure; he gladly decreases, in order that Christ may increase [John 3:30]. (Ap. Past.).—The language of Peter: ‘I myself also am a man,’ a rebuke of every tendency in the church to deify men: I. In the Roman Catholic church, when worship is offered (a) to the saints in heaven; (b) to the pretended successor of Peter on earth. II. In the evangelical church, (a) when ministers entertain exaggerated views of the office, or indulge in vanity and self-applause; (b) when reformers or favorite preachers and pastors are regarded with an idolatrous feeling—a conversion of the congregation to men, and not to the living God.
ACTS 10:28. God hath shewed me.—This conviction of Peter that he appeared before them, not in his own name, but in the name and by the command of God, greatly strengthened him, and freed him from any scruples of conscience which he might have entertained when he disregarded Jewish traditions and Jewish customs. (Leonh. and Sp.).—I should not call any man common or unclean.—The excellency of the faith that a divine spark of life exists in every human soul: I. Its firm foundation: (a) the creation of man (in the image of God—all, the descendants of one human pair); (b) redemption (God will have all men to be saved, [1 Tim. 2:4]—Christ sent the apostles to all nations); (c) experience (in the heathen world—in pastoral ministrations among criminals, etc.); II. Its blessed influences: (a) in forming Christian views of the world and studying history in general; (b) in maintaining a Christian intercourse with others in common life; (c) in discharging the duties of the Christian ministry.
ACTS 10:29. Therefore came I … without gainsaying.—This is the holy silence of faith, when, without resisting God, we willingly undertake to do all that he commands. (Calvin).—I ask, therefore, etc.—As the physician questions his patient, in order that he may adopt the proper mode of treatment, so the teacher questions his hearers respecting the state of their souls, in order that he may ascertain their spiritual wants. Do they need instruction in doctrine, or counsel, or consolation, or admonitions? (Starke).—Fidelity to the duties of our office demands that, in our spiritual labors, we should not consume time with unprofitable conversation, but, at the earliest moment, take up the subject which is of most importance. (Quesn.).—People are often, at the present day, entirely too delicate, and imagine that the pastor should know their spiritual wants, and offer appropriate instructions and consolations, without asking any direct questions; but the partial suppression of the facts, or the stifling of the truth, often prevents the suitable remedy from being employed. (Rieger).
ACTS 10:30. Cornelius said, … I was fasting until this hour.—A modest account of our conduct, when the latter has been correct, is not inconsistent with humility, but may be often necessary in vindicating ourselves, or may tend to edify others. (From Starke).—In the house of Cornelius, fasting, prayer, and alms, were not dead works of the law, but fruits meet for repentance, ripening in the depths of an humble soul that loved God, and longed for an assurance of his grace. (Leonh. and Sp.).—On this account St. Luke first of all mentions the fact, to the praise of Cornelius, that he had been devout, and had feared God (Acts 10:2), and, only afterwards, adds that he had been like a good tree which brings forth good fruit; but such fruit was well-pleasing to God, on account of his faith; hence, the angel, too, praises Cornelius for his faith, and when he directs him to send to Joppa, and call Peter, he conducts him from faith in that Christ who was to come, to faith in Christ, who had already come. (Luther).—In bright clothing.—The angels bear with them, when they appear, the signs and livery of their purity and sincerity. (Quesnel).—The bright clothing of the angels may remind a teacher, who is likewise called an angel of God in the Holy Scriptures [Mark 1:2; Lu. 7:27, Elijah, John, etc.; Rev. 1:20; 14:6], that it is preëminently his duty to wash his robes, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. [Rev. 7:14]. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 10:31. Thy prayer is heard, etc.—The prayers and alms of Cornelius had come up before God, Acts 10:4. How few are the prayers and the alms to which such grace is granted! They proceed, in the majority of cases, from a carnal and worldly heart; hence they go the way of all flesh, and remain on earth. But the prayer of faith has wings, with which it soars up to God, and the alms of love ascend to heaven as a sacrifice that is well pleasing to God. (From Leonh. and Sp.).—No prayer ascends to heaven, without bringing an angel down with it. (J. Arndt).—On the connection between the prayers and alms of Cornelius, and his call to the Gospel: I. What was the character of his prayers and alms? II. How was his call connected with them? (Schleiermacher).
ACTS 10:32. Send therefore - and call hither, etc.—The angel directs him to the ordinary minister of the word, for even the tongues of angels cannot, from experience, preach the word concerning the remission of sins (ver, 43), as Peter can. (Stier).—Cornelius is not sent to Peter, but the latter comes to him, for the purpose of intimating that the Gospel was to be sent to the nations in their own habitations. (Bengel).
ACTS 10:33. Thou hast well done that thou art come—a noble welcome given to a pastor on assuming his office: I. If it was the Lord who sent him, Acts 10:28 ff.; II. If the congregation that receives him, is one which earnestly seeks after salvation, Acts 10:33.—We are all here present before God.—This direct and open declaration of Cornelius is wisely and appropriately introduced in public prayers of the church, which precede the sermon. (Rieger).—We could wish that these words were inscribed on every church door, or on every pulpit, so that men might properly consider the purpose for which they should enter the church. (Bogatzky).—To whom is the attendance at public worship, a source of blessings? I. To those who had prepared their hearts at home, in prayer, Acts 10:30; II. To those who come with hearts that earnestly seek after salvation; III. To those who hear and keep [Lu. 11:28] the preacher’s word as God’s word. (Leonh. and Sp.).—The congregation in the house of Cornelius, an image of a congregation with which God is well pleased: I. It is numerous: “We are all here”; II. Devout: “present before God”; III. Desirous of learning: “to hear all things”; IV. Obedient: “that are commanded thee (and us through thee) of God.”
ACTS 10:34. Then Peter opened his mouth.—The opened hearts of hearers, open the mouth of the pastor. (Starke).—This address of Peter, when he opens his mouth, rolls onward like a mighty stream, which, as it were, buries the remembrance of Cornelius and his virtues in the holy stillness of an unfathomable sea. The names of Cornelius and every other individual—the name, the glory and the honor of every man, are extinguished; one solitary name shines forth in this sermon—it is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In place of the works of Cornelius or of all other men, the works and deeds of God in Christ alone are mentioned. All human righteousness disappears as in a deep sea, but that sea is the infinite love of God. (Harless).—Of a truth I perceive, etc.—Let no teacher suppose himself to be so fully acquainted with all that relates to his office, that he needs no increase of such knowledge. It is one thing to know any truth theoretically and in general (as Peter had undoubtedly long before known that God is no respecter of persons), but it is another thing, as Peter here says, to experience that truth in real life or practically, and in its application to a particular case. Thus, the apostle had not previously known that Gentiles could enter into the kingdom of God without circumcision. (From Ap. Past.).—God is no respecter of persons.—I. A terrible saying for all the ungodly among the great of the earth; II. A soothing saying for all the devout among the lowly. (Starke).
ACTS 10:35. In every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.—These words are often misapplied by those who allege that it matters not what a man believes, if he only fears God, and does that which is right, avoids sin, and leads a correct life. The apostle does not, however, here authorize any indifference on the subject of religion (Indifferentism [see above, DOCTR. and ETH. No. 2.—TR.]), but proclaims the universal love of God to all nations, in consequence of which he will have all men to be saved; but then, they must [as Paul adds, 1 Tim. 2:4] all come unto the knowledge of the truth, [and to repentance 2 Pet. 3:9]. He does not say that the man, whose natural feelings prompt him to fear God, to adopt some measures for his salvation, to avoid gross sins, and to lead a correct life externally, is already acceptable to God, and in a state of grace (for he can attain to this only in Christ, Eph. 1:6); but he says that such a man is so situated that he may be brought to God by the word concerning Christ, and be accepted by the Lord, without circumcision.—If Cornelius had already been accepted by God in the state in which he was [before or at the time of Peter’s advent], he would have needed neither an angel nor Peter, neither the Gospel nor the Saviour, neither baptism nor the Holy Ghost. (From Ap. Past.).—Not all religions, but all nations are here placed on the same level. (Bengel).—Peter means to say: ‘I now comprehend that there is no sectarianism in God, and that he does not intend to save the Jews only, or another particular nation, and condemn all others, as I had hitherto so erroneously supposed that He would do.’ He does not ask: ‘Hast thou a certificate? To what congregation hast thou belonged?’ He who hungers and thirsts after righteousness, and seeks it in faith, and whose faith worketh by love, is acceptable to God; that is, he has grace, (for he would otherwise be incapable of doing all this), he is a candidate who applies to the true religion and church, he is not far from the kingdom of God, and to him God will reveal His Son. Faith in the Son of God is, therefore, the only religion which can save. But when we say this, we open the door, not to freethinkers, but to the hungry alone. (Gossner).—Who is accepted with God? I. He who fears Him in humble repentance; II. He who trusts in Him in child-like faith; III. He who does that which is right, in a truly Christian spirit of gratitude and love. (Leonh. and Sp.).—The saying of Peter: In every nation … with him: I. It is neither a charter granted to the infidelity of the world, nor a repudiation of the zeal of faith existing in the church; II. It is, however, an invitation addressed to all who seek salvation, and a warrant for missionary labors among all nations.
ACTS 10:36, 37. Ye know, etc.—It was not necessary in the house of Cornelius that Peter should begin with the elementary principles which Paul afterwards announced to other pagans who were prompted to “feel after God,” by the evidences of his goodness which the rain from heaven and fruitful seasons afforded [Acts 14:17; 17:27]. (Rieger).—Even when we know any truth, it is still necessary that the preaching of the word should remind us anew of it, give us additional assurances, and present distinct aud intelligible explanations. (Starke).—Peace, by Jesus Christ.—To preach Christ, is, to preach peace: I. The substance and purpose, when Christ is preached: (a) peace between God and men, and thus (b) peace among men (Jews and Gentiles reconciled); II. The means employed: (a) the messengers are messengers of peace (Peter, addressing the Roman centurion); (b) the weapons are those of peace (the Gospel, as contradistinguished from the the law, which condemns). (See a similar theme: To preach Christ, is, to preach of peace, discussed in another way, and in his own manner, by Schleiermacher.).—He is Lord of all.—The abundant consolation furnished by our faith, that Jesus, as the Prince of peace, is also the Lord of all: I. His sceptre is a sceptre of peace—hence, we approach him without fear! II. His sceptre is an almighty sceptre—hence, we have no fears for him, or his subjects!—Peace by Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all! This is the most appropriate salutation of a messenger of the faith, who enters the heathen world. Thus his entrance is, I. Friendly, for he comes in the name of a Prince of peace; it is, II. Bold, for he comes in the name of an almighty Lord.—Began from Galilee.—The preaching of peace by the Prince of peace, unquestionably referred primarily to the children of Israel; hence it began in Galilee, and extended throughout all Judea. But the peace which He proclaimed and secured Himself by his death on the cross, was intended for all the nations of the earth, and was also to be a bond of union among them. (Leonh. and Sp.).—How wonderful the progress, and how glorious the victories of the Gospel had already been, by the power of God, since that apparently insignificant beginning in Galilee! Even when the Church shall hereafter rule over the whole world, she never should, and never will, forget this “beginning from Galilee,” or her lowly origin, her feeble childhood, the form of a servant which she received at her birth.
ACTS 10:38. How God anointed, etc.—The miracles which the Saviour wrought during his ministry, were publicly known in the whole country, but the beginning, the annointing with the Holy Ghost at His baptism, attracted no attention, and was, indeed, not generally made known. (Stier):—Who went about doing good—a very beautiful description of the labors of Jesus. Let pastors exhibit this image to those unhappy souls, who regard Jesus rather as an angry Judge, than as a Benefactor and Saviour; and let them thus teach those souls to place confidence in Him. And how greatly the thought can comfort and encourage a witness of Jesus, that he has such a master as Jesus is, who has already so wonderfully demonstrated his power and his love! What power, then, does Satan possess, which a faithful teacher should dread? (Ap. Past.)
ACTS 10:39. And we are witnesses of all things, etc.—Faithful pastors are still the witnesses of all that Jesus both did and suffered, even if they have not seen his actions with the eyes of the body. (Ap. Past.).—Whom they slew and hanged on a tree.—It was through the shame of the cross of Christ that Satan was overcome, and through this the Gentiles were to be converted. Hence Peter does not hesitate to acknowledge before those Gentiles that Jesus had been hanged on a cross. It would be foolish to wish to conceal in our day from unbelieving nations, all that may seem to be contemptible and laborious in the Christian religion. Are we wiser than the apostles and Jesus? (Starke).—Welcome, O Cross, thou sign of the living God, thou sign of the highest triumph! Welcome, O glorious, precious tree! Thou shinest with a greater brightness than that of all the stars, with greater splendor than that of the sun, on those who survey thee with the eyes of faith and love. Once was thou accursed, and thy name was infamous; but thou art now established in glory on the thrones of kings. Who has taken away thy shame, and raised thee to such honor? No other than Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. When the sinful earth cast him off, he was raised up on thee; thou didst receive him, and bear the precious burden of his body; and thus thou wast made the altar on which the spotless lamb was offered, that reconciled earth and heaven. (Eckbert).
ACTS 10:41. Not to all the people, but … to us.—Jesus observes a wise distinction when he reveals himself. The world does not see him in his state of exaltation, because it is not willing to recognize him in his humiliation; he reveals himself to those who love him. (Starke).—The gracious manifestations of Christ in his exaltation, the privilege of believers.—The secret and consecrated hours of believing souls, in their intercourse with their glorified Master. Procul este profani! Such was the language used at the heathen mysteries; it is also applicable to the sacred mysteries of Christianity.
ACTS 10:36–43, (combined). The preaching of the apostles: I. The substance of its testimony—the life, sufferings, and resurrection of Christ; II. The authority by which it is supported—the command of Christ, and the call of all men unto salvation; III. Its object—the salvation of believers through the peace of Christ. (Leonh. and Sp.).—How does Jesus Christ bestow peace, (Acts 10:36)? I. As our Prophet (Acts 10:37–39); II. As our Highpriest (Acts 10:39, 43); and, III. As our King (Acts 10:40–42).
ACTS 10:44. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all.—This is the Pentecost of the Gentiles. (Quesn.).—It is a blessed and cheering sight, when the servants of God can perceive that the word takes hold of their hearers, and that, through it, the Holy Spirit powerfully influences their hearts. (Ap. Past.).—The word concerning the grace of God in Christ, is, properly speaking, the word through which the Holy Spirit enters the hearts of men with his gifts. The preaching of the law, is only a preparatory measure. The pastor who preaches the law with great fulness and assiduity, may, it is true, train his hearers to observe order externally, and maintain a legal propriety of conduct, but he will not infuse spiritual life into their souls, (ib.).—God often anticipates the services of the church (baptism), as he does in this case (by communicating the Spirit), in order to teach us that he possesses sovereign authority, and is not bound by external forms. (Quesnel).
ACTS 10:45, 46. And they of the circumcision, etc.—We should never yield to a feeling of dissatisfaction, when God bestows his gracious gifts on others, but rather rejoice in their happiness, and praise the Lord for it. (Starke).—The works of God in his church, are even yet great and wonderful, and a right view of them will always afford the purest enjoyment: (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 10:47. Can any man forbid water?—The church should never refuse to recognize him to whom God has given the certificate of his Spirit.
ACTS 10:48. And he commanded them to be baptized.—Although God may adopt extraordinary means in accomplishing his designs, the Church is, nevertheless, bound to observe the order which he has prescribed. (Quesnel).—We are never at liberty to despise the ordinary means of grace. (Starke).
ON THE WHOLE SECTION.—The greatness of the love of God in Christ to men: manifested herein, that it, I. Regards no man as common and unclean; II. Seeks out even wanderers, when they inquire after the way; III. Takes compassion on all those who are inclined to hear all things that are commanded us of God in Christ [Acts 10:33]. (Harless).—Full salvation, first of all revealed in Christ; it is only through him that men, I. Acquire a correct knowledge of the Deity; II. Obtain right views of the human race; III. Discover the true way of life; IV. Receive full satisfaction of the soul. (Leonh. and Sp.).—Peter’s visit to the house of Cornelius, an example of that mode of paying pastoral visits, on which the divine blessing rests: I. The preparations for such visits—on the part of the family, an earnest desire after salvation; on the part of the pastor, a holy impulse of the Spirit; II. The topics of conversation—candid avowal by the members of the family, respectively, of their spiritual state; decisive testimony borne by the pastor respecting Christ and His salvation; III. The results—the hearers re-animated and strengthened by the Holy Spirit; the pastor rejoicing in the Lord that souls are saved, and that his kingdom comes in power.—Peter’s journey to Cesarea, a mirror for missions among heathens: showing, I. The divine commission which authorizes them, Acts 10:1–23; II. The joyful tidings which they communicate, Acts 10:24–43; III. The blessed results which they produce, Acts 10:44–48—[Peter and Cornelius: I. The alienation of feeling previously existing (the wretched condition of the world without a Saviour); II. Their providential meeting (the religious duties of each individual); III. The bond of union between them (the benign influence of true religion); IV. Their meeting in eternity (the results of the missionary labors of the church, revealed in heaven).—TR.]
Acts 10:23. The readingὁ Πέτρος [text. rec.] after ἀναστάς, [before ἐξῆλθε], is but feebly supported [by E; without ἀναστάς, by G. II. as in text. rec.]; the proper name was, without doubt, inserted here, merely because one of the ecclesiastical reading-lessons began at this place. [ἀναστὰς, omitted in text. rec., is substituted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf. for ὁ Πέτ., in accordance with A. B. C. D. Vulg. and Cod. Sin.—τῆς, of text. rec. before ʼΙόππης, is omitted by recent editors in accordance with A. B. C. D. E. G. Cod. Sin.—TR.]
Acts 10:24. The singular εἰςῆλθεν, and the plural εἰςῆλθος, are, respectively, supported by authorities of very nearly the same weight [the former by B. D.; the latter by A. C. (—θαν.. C.) E. G. H.] The plural is more probably the later correction, as plural forms, συνῆλθον [Acts 10:23], and αὐτούς [Acts 10:24], preceded and followed this word; hence Lach. and Tisch. have very properly preferred the singular. [Alf. retains the plural of text. rec.—Καὶ, at the beginning of the verse, in G. H. and text. rec. is omitted by A. B. C. D. E., and by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.; all these, with Cod. Sin. and Vulg. (autem), read Τῇ δὲ ἐπ.—TR.]
Acts 10:25. We have an example of the embellishments which, even in the ancient manuscripts, were already affixed to this narrative, in the following addition, found in Codex Cantabrigiensis [or, Bezæ, marked D.], of the sixth century, and also in the Syriac version in the margin:—προςεγγίζοντος δέ τοῦ ΙΙέτρου εἰς τὴν Καισάρειαν προδραμὼν εἶς τῶν δούλων διεσάφηεν παραγεγονέναι αὐτὸν ὁ δὲ Κορνήλιος ἐκπηδήσας καὶ συναντήσας αὐτῷ πεσὼν πρὸς τοὺς πόδας προςεκύνησεν αὐτόν. [Bornemann has adopted this apocryphal passage in place of the usual text. (Meyer).—τοῦ before ειςελθεῖν is omitted by H. and in text. rec., but is found in A. B. C. E. G., Cod. Sin. and some fathers, and is adopted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.—TR]
Acts 10:30. Lachmann, in accordance with some MSS. [A (original).B. C. also Cod. Sin.] and versions [Vulg. etc.], omits νηστεύων καὶ [of text. rec.]; this reading is, however, sufficiently attested [A (corrected).D. E. H], and was probably omitted merely because fasting is not mentioned in Acts 10:2. [Retained by Tisch. and Alf.].—ὥραν after ἐννάτην is supported by only one MS. [H. Vulg.], and should be cancelled. [Omitted in A. B. C. D. and by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.—Cod. Sin. omits both νηστεύων και, and, ὥραν.—TR.]
Acts 10:32. The words ὃς παραγενόμενος λαλήσει σοι, [of text. rec.] are wanting in A. B. [and Cod. Sin.], in some minuscules, and versions [Vulg.], but are sufficiently attested [by C. D. E. G. H.], and were omitted only because they do not occur in the parallel Acts 10:6. [Omitted by Lach., but retained by Tisch. and Alf.—TR.]
Acts 10:33. a. The reading ἐνώπιόν σου, in place of τοῦ θεοῦ, is certainly supported too feebly by the authorities [D. Syr. Vulg.], to authorize us to concur with Griesbach [and Bornemann] in preferring it, particularly as σου seemed better suited to the circumstances, and is therefore the easier reading. [τοῦ θεοῦ of text. rec. with Cod. Sin. etc. is retained by Lach. Tisch. and Alf., with whom de Wette and Meyer concur.—TR.]
Acts 10:33. b. ἀπό is better supported than ὐπό [of text. rec. with G. H.]; the latter seemed to be rather recommended by grammatical principles [comp. Winer, Gram. N. T. § 47, 5. b. and foot notes.—ἀπό, in A. C. D. and adopted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.—Cod. Sin. orig.: ὑπο, corrected: ἀπο].—κυρίου [at the end of the verse] is far more strongly attested than θεοῦ. [The former in A. B. C. E. Cod. Sin. Vulg. and by Lach. and Tisch.; the latter (text. rec.) in D. G. H. Syr. and by Alf.; Cod. Sin. reads ὑπό (corrected ἀπό) τοῦ κυρίου.—TR.]
Acts 10:36. Lachmann, who follows the authority of A. B., and some versions [Vulg. etc.], omits ὅν after λόγον, but the word is decisively attested, and was probably omitted only in order to simplify the construction of the sentence. [ὅν in C. D. E. G. H. Cod. Sin. (orig.) and by Tisch. and Alf.—See EXEG. note below.—TR.]
Acts 10:37. ἀρξάμενον [of text. rec. from B (e sil). G.] is sustained by fewer MSS. than ἀρξάμενος, it is true [the latter occurring in A. C. D. E. H. and Cod. Sin.], but it is, nevertheless, the genuine reading [so Alf.]; the nominative [preferred by Lachm.] does not suit the construction. [Comp. Luke 24:47, where text. rec. and Lach., following A. C (corrected).F. K. M. U. Δ., read ἀρξάμενον, but Alf. and Tisch., following B. C (original). L. N. X., read—νοι, while D. exhibits—νων; see WINER: Gr. N. T. § 32. 7.—γὰρ is appended to ἀρξ. by A. D. Vulg. (enim) and some fathers, but is not found in Cod. Sin.—TR.]
Acts 10:39. ἐσμὲν after ἡμεῖςis, without doubt, spurious. [Found in G. H., but omitted in A. B. C. D. E. Cod. Sin. and by recent editors.—καὶ before ἀνεἶλον is omitted in text. rec., but is inserted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf. from A. B. C. D. E. G. H. and Cod. Sin.—TR.]
Acts 10:42. The authorities, as far as the number is concerned [B. C. D. E. G.] support οῦ̔τος [after ὃτι], instead of αὐτός [of text. rec., and which occurs in A. H. Cod. Sin. many fathers, and is adopted by Alf.]; the former has, accordingly, been preferred by Lach., but as it is regularly exhibited in the context, copyists supposed that it should be employed here also.
Acts 10:48. τοῦ κυρίου [of text. rec.] is, without doubt, the original reading [adopted by Alf. from G. H.]; some manuscripts append, ʼΙησοῦ Χριστοῦ, or exhibit this name without τοῦ κυρ. [as A. B. E. adopted by Lach. The Cod. Sin. reads: προςεταξε δε αυτοις (dative) εν τω ονομ.Ιησ. Xp. βαπτισθηναι.—TR]