Read Acts Chapter 10
For a printable version of this study, click HERE.
What stands out to you as you read this chapter?
Are there any words or phrases that you feel are key ideas in this chapter?
What other features do you wish you knew more about (culture, religion, customs, etc.) in order to help
you understand this chapter?
How do you think this chapter fits in the larger story of Acts and the Bible as a whole?
ACT OUT: How does the Holy Spirit want to use this text in your life, for others or for yourself?
Here’s the thing we need to see about Cornelius. He’s a prominent man of high status and character, but
he’a also Gentile (a non-Jew). As the gospel spreads beyond Jerusalem, the note about Cornelius being
devout and generous shows that his heart was ready for the gospel. It doesn’t suggest in any way that
piety and good works are the means by which we are saved. Had that been the case, there would have
been no need to call for Peter (Acts 10:5) who went to preach the gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus to
Cornelius and the other Gentiles with him (Acts 10:34-43).
Peter’s vision in Acts 10:9-16 had prepared him for this encounter. Wisely, God didn’t merely tell Peter,
“salvation is for Gentiles too!” The vision and voice that told Peter to eat non-kosher (unclean) animals is
immediately followed by Cornelius and other “unclean” Gentiles becoming full participants in the
Christian community. For that to happen, the cultural barriers of circumcision and kosher regulations had
to be removed. How wisely God oversees the events that led to Peter preaching to this Roman centurion
and his friends! How unquestionable is their salvation, marked by the gift of the Spirit and water baptism
(Acts 10:44-48). Questions about Gentile inclusion will resurface later in Acts.
Look how carefully God prepared his gospel mission to go beyond Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. In
terms of history and geography, we (the readers) are at the ends of the earth! (See Acts 1:8.) This story
ought to humble us and make our hearts burst with joy, seeing God’s grace in the gospel as it reached
the Gentiles, knowing that God’s intention included reaching us and making us full participants in his
family, a new community of faith.
Prayer: Lord, you overcame racial, social, and cultural barriers to include us in your covenant family by
faith. Help us to bring your gospel to outsiders, that they might be brought into your family by grace.