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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Acts 10

 

 

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Verses 1-48

The Witness of Peter in Caesarea - In Acts 10:1-48 we have the account of Peter preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the household of Cornelius. The story of Cornelius is unique to the New Testament. Why would Luke have chosen to tell the story of Cornelius? We know that Luke is giving testimony to the first Gentile convert to Christianity. But another answer may be found in The Apostolic Constitutions, a collection of ecclesiastical law that is believed to have been compiled during the latter half of the fourth century. This ancient document states that a man named Cornelius became the second bishop of the church at Caesarea. This may not have been the same person recorded in the book of Acts. But when the names of Zacchaeus and Theophilus are found alongside the name of Cornelius in the same sentence, and when all three names are found to be unique to Luke's writings, one has to believe that it was very likely the same Cornelius. In other words, Luke's Gospel and Acts were a compilation of testimonies of the life and works of Lord Jesus Christ. For Luke to use the testimony of Zacchaeus, the living bishop of Caesarea at the time of his writing, would have fit the way in which Luke was gathering his testimonies.

"Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:--James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord;(5) upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas; after whom the third was Judas the son of James. Of Caesarea of Palestine, the first was Zacchaeus, who was once a publican; after whom was Cornelius, and the third Theophilus." (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 7446)

Cornelius was a Giver- The story of Cornelius is the testimony of how giving is the key to God answering our prayers. Anytime we mix giving with our prayer, God will respond. 2 Corinthians 10:2 tells us that Cornelius was both a giving person as well as a man of prayer. We see these two virtues in other people in the Scriptures. For example, we see this in the story of Hannah. She made a vow to God that she would give her son into the ministry if He would give her a Prayer of Manasseh -child. After years of prayer, God heard her when she mixed giving with prayer.

1 Samuel 1:11, "And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head."

But in order to give alms unto the Lord on a regular basis, we must be able to trust Him with our finances. When we seek God, we come to know Him. We grow in our understanding of His character and faithfulness. When we know Him, we can easily trust Him with our finances by sacrificial giving.

The Household Salvation of Cornelius and His Family - The story recorded in Acts 10:1-48 testifies to the household salvation of Cornelius along with his entire family and servants. We read in the book of Acts how the household of Lydia and the Philippian jailer, as well as the household of Stephanas in the church of Corinth, were also saved.

Acts 16:15, "And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us."

Acts 16:31, "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

1 Corinthians 1:16, "And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other."

It is difficult for us in the western culture to understand household salvation. This is because we as individuals are much less bound to our relationships as a family. But my wife's family, who are Filipinos demonstrated household salvation when her father became a Muslim for a few years. The only member of this family that did not covert was my wife, and that was because we were married. She later brought them back to Jesus Christ, but it was a family decision although the father made the decision. We see in the households of Cornelius, Lydia, the Philippian jailer and Stephanas that their households followed in the faith "from their hearts" in this collective decision to follow Christ. It means that they all gave their lives to Jesus Christ together and were genuinely saved, something that would rarely happen in the more independent Western cultures.

Acts 10:2Comments- Why did God choose Cornelius as the first Gentile to hear the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? We find the answer in this verse when it tells us that he prayed and gave alms to the people. To whom did he give these alms, but to the Jewish people. His prayers were to bless the children of Israel. Three times in this passage we are told that Cornelius gave alms and prayed (see Acts 10:4 and Acts 10:31). These two principles of almsgiving and prayer were so much a part of his lifestyle that Luke records this man's characteristics by these two virtues. God will bless those who bless the people of Israel. This was a promise that God made to Abraham when the Jewish nation was born, and it is still valid today.

Genesis 12:3, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

We see another example of this divine law of blessing in Luke 7:1-10 when Jesus heals the centurion's servant. This Gentile was blessed by God because the Jews came to Jesus and said "that he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue." ( Luke 7:4-5).

Acts 10:3Comments- There are many visions that occur throughout the book of Acts. Peter prophesied this in Acts 2:17-19 as "visions, dreams, prophesies, wonders, signs."

Acts 10:4 — "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God" - Comments- Note a similar description of how our prayers go up to God in the Paul's testimony of the Philippians.

Philippians 4:18, "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God."

Cornelius' name came up before God's throne because of his prayers and alms. In a similar manner Job's name came up before the Lord because of his righteousness ( Job 1:8).

Job 1:8, "And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job , that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright Prayer of Manasseh , one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?"

Acts 10:4Comments- God sent the Gospel to those who sought Him. God will bring bearers of the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who seek Him. Note another example of this in Acts 16:13.

Acts 16:13, "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither."

Acts 10:3-6Comments - The Angel Did Not Evangelize Cornelius- Why did the angel not tell Cornelius about Jesus in order to lead him and his family to salvation? Because God has ordained that men preach the Gospel, and not angels.

Acts 10:12Word Study on "creeping things" - The Greek word ( ερπετό ν) (G 2062) means, "a creeping animal, a reptile." The Enhanced Strong says this Greek word is used 4times in the New Testament, being translated "creeping thing 3, serpent 1."

Acts 10:12Comments- Many modern versions translate only three animals, and not four as in the KJV, following the Greek manuscripts that omit the word for "wild beasts" in this verse. The fourfooted beasts, the reptiles and the birds represent the three major divisions of the animal kingdom. But they symbolize all of the families of mankind as being clean before God.

Acts 10:15 — "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common" - Comments- Through the blood of Jesus Christ, God did not impute the trespasses of men unto them. He now looked at them as clean.

2 Corinthians 5:19, "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."

Acts 10:19Comments- Kenneth Hagin uses this verse as an example of how the audible voice of the Holy Spirit sometimes speaks to us. 165] He says that when the Lord speaks to us in such a dramatic and clear way, it usually means rough waters ahead. This was the case with Peter. For after he preached to the house of Cornelius and they were gloriously saved, he was confronted by the church in Jerusalem as to why he preached the Gospel to the Gentiles. He defends his trip to Cornelius' house by saying, "the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting" ( Acts 11:12). There was no doubt in Peter's heart and mind that he had heard the voice of the Lord. This word from the Lord was what gave him the courage to defend his actions to the church in Jerusalem.

165] Kenneth Hagin, Following God's Plan For Your Life (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1993, 1994), 117.

Acts 10:22Comments- In Genesis 12:3 God told Abraham, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." History records many accounts where God blesses those who bless the Jews, and curses those who curse he Jews. For example, God judged the Pharaoh of Egypt for persecuting the children of Israel. Just as he commanded the Jewish male children to be drown in the river, so was his entire army drowned in the Red Sea. In addition, the firstborn males were killed, and the nation destroyed. Laban acknowledged that his blessings had come through Jacob ( Genesis 30:27). Jesus healed the Roman centurion's servant, who has blessed the Jews ( Luke 7:4-5). God sent Peter to preach the Gospel to the house of Cornelius, a man that blessed the Jews ( Acts 10:22). God promised to reward the heathen according to what they had done to the Jews ( Obadiah 1:15). Jesus makes a similar statement about rewarding those who has done good to His "brethren," which certainly includes the Jews, as well as the Church ( Matthew 25:40).

Genesis 30:27, "And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake."

Obadiah 1:15, "For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head."

Matthew 25:40, "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Luke 7:4-5, "And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue."

Acts 10:22, "And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just Prayer of Manasseh , and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee."

Acts 10:31 — "and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God" - Comments- There came a day when God remembered the gifts that Cornelius had contributed to His people. This act of remembrance reminds us of the story in the book of Esther when the king remembered the good deeds of Mordecai ( Esther 6:1-11). Just as the king remembered Mordecai, so does God have His time and season of remembering us and rewarding us.

Acts 10:31Comments- In Acts 10:31 the angel came to remind Cornelius that his prayer had been heard. We see a similar in story in the book of Daniel when the angel Gabriel stood before Daniel and told him that his prayers had been heard ( Daniel 9:20-27).

It is important to note that the angel spoke of two issues in Cornelius' life. This man was a man of prayer and a man who gave offerings. We cannot buy God's favor, but we can find His favor by the way we give offerings to Him. For example, we read how Solomon found favor with God after having offered one thousand burnt offerings unto Him. That very night, the Lord appeared to Solomon and ask him what He could give back to him in return for such an offering.

1 Kings 3:4-5, "And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar. In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee."

In a similar way, Cornelius found favor with God, but it was connected to his lifestyle of giving offerings unto the Lord.

Acts 10:37Comments- The Synoptic Gospels tell us that when John the Baptist was imprisoned, Jesus Christ began His Galilean ministry and later moved into His Judean ministry. Acts 10:37 clearly refers to this series of events by making a summary statement about them.

Acts 10:38 — "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power" - Word Study on "power" - The word translated "power" in Acts 10:38 is the Greek word "dunamis" ( δύναμις) (1411). The Enhanced Strong says it is used 120 times in the New Testament, being translated "power 77, mighty work 11, strength 7, miracle 7, might 4, virtue 3, mighty 2, misc 9."

Comments- We find this same word used in Luke 5:17 to describe the manifested presence of the Holy Spirit, and in Mark 6:5 to describe the working of miracles.

Luke 5:17, "And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them."

Mark 6:5, "And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them."

Thus, we could translated this phrase in Acts 10:38 as "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and miracle-working power."

Acts 10:38 — "and healing all that were oppressed of the devil" - Comments- Bob Larson, who has one of the most dynamic deliverance ministries today, once said that his ministry is not all about exorcism, but about healing. Delivering a person from demons is about healing. 166]

166] Bob Larson, Bob Larson in Action, on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Acts 10:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/acts-10.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, May 26th, 2019
the <>Sixth Sunday after Easter
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