Acts 10:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 10:2, NIV: He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.

Acts 10:2, ESV: a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.

Acts 10:2, KJV: A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

Acts 10:2, NASB: a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and made many charitable contributions to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.

Acts 10:2, NLT: He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God.

Acts 10:2, CSB: He was a devout man and feared God along with his whole household. He did many charitable deeds for the Jewish people and always prayed to God.

What does Acts 10:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Cornelius is a Roman centurion stationed in Caesarea Maritima, the headquarters of Herod Agrippa I. His job is to protect the king and put down any Jewish rebellion that would threaten Rome's authority over the Jews. But he worships the Jewish God. He is not identified as a proselyte; proselyte men must be circumcised. They must also be recognized as Jews, as Ruth was (Ruth 1:16). Instead, Cornelius is described as a "God-fearer."

Emperor worship and the pantheon of capricious Roman gods left something to be desired for many Gentiles in the Roman Empire. Some gravitated to Judaism on the basis of reason and experience. However, Judaism's invisible God and esoteric practices also tempted people who were merely looking for something mystical. Grifters, like Elymas (Acts 13:4–12) and the Jewish sons of Sceva (Acts 19:11–20), used this spiritual hunger for their own gain. Some Romans became converts to Mithraism and some, like the centurion in Capernaum (Matthew 8:5–13) were drawn to Judaism.

Cornelius is not the first centurion to earn the respect of Jews for his giving nature (Acts 10:22). In Capernaum, Jewish elders came to Jesus on behalf of a centurion, asking that Jesus would heal the centurion's servant. They said, "He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue" (Luke 7:4–5). The centurion showed his faith in Jesus by assuming Jesus could heal at a distance (Luke 7:1–10).