Acts 10:27

ESV And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered.
NIV While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.
NASB As he talked with him, he entered and *found many people assembled.
CSB While talking with him, he went in and found a large gathering of people.
NLT So they talked together and went inside, where many others were assembled.
KJV And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.

What does Acts 10:27 mean?

Peter was in Joppa, near modern-day Tel Aviv, where he had been called in to raise Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36–43). While staying at the home of Simon, a tanner, he had a vision of a sheet filled with different animals. God's voice told him to kill and eat, but he refused since some of the animals were prohibited by the Mosaic law. As the vision faded, the Holy Spirit told him to go downstairs where three men had come for him (Acts 10:9–20).

The men had been sent by Cornelius, a centurion stationed in Caesarea. The next day, Peter and his escorts arrive at Cornelius' house. It's unclear what Peter expected to find, but probably not a house packed with Cornelius' family, household staff, some of his soldiers, and a whole lot of friends (Acts 10:24). Peter certainly didn't expect the Roman commander to kneel before him and worship him (Acts 10:25–26).

When Peter sees the crowd, he begins to understand the vision better. That he had invited the three messengers to stay at Simon's house and eat with them was significant, as Jews did not eat with Gentiles. Still, it was Simon's house, and the food would have been kosher. But now, Peter is in the home of a Gentile. Peter understands the vision wasn't primarily speaking of food, although Jesus had already obliquely declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19). Peter tells Cornelius, "But God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean" (Acts 10:28).

Does this mean Christians should indiscriminately socialize with anyone? Jesus certainly broke tradition by eating with tax collectors and "sinners" (Mark 2:15–17). But when He sent out the seventy-two, He told them to leave any place that rejected their message (Luke 10:10–12). It is good to go where the message of salvation through Jesus is needed, but if people refuse to listen, we need discernment as to how long to stay in their company (1 Corinthians 15:33). Striving to reach others does not require completely ignoring sin (1 Corinthians 5:9–13).
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