Acts 10:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 10:28, NIV: He said to them: 'You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.

Acts 10:28, ESV: And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.

Acts 10:28, KJV: And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Acts 10:28, NASB: And he said to them, 'You yourselves know that it is forbidden for a Jewish man to associate with or visit a foreigner; and yet God has shown me that I am not to call any person unholy or unclean.

Acts 10:28, NLT: Peter told them, 'You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean.

Acts 10:28, CSB: Peter said to them, "You know it's forbidden for a Jewish man to associate with or visit a foreigner, but God has shown me that I must not call any person impure or unclean.

What does Acts 10:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter's statement is harsh, but it is a matter of Jewish survival. Shortly after entering the Promised Land, right after Joshua died, the Israelites started worshiping the gods of the people God meant for them to displace (Judges 2:1–5). This idolatry continued until the nation split into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah—and then it got worse. About 680 years after the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Israel was all but demolished by the Assyrians. About 120 years later, Judah was taken into exile in Babylon. Fortunately, Judah returned, largely intact as a people.

After a few fits and starts, the Jews resolved to serve God alone. God had told them to be a people set apart, noted for their obedience to Him through the Mosaic law. In their zeal, the Jews added to the Law and fought off their foreign oppressors whenever possible. When they couldn't, they made it clear they would not associate with unclean Gentiles. This is why Jesus' accusers remained outside Pilate's house—so they wouldn't get unclean and be ineligible for the Feast of Unleavened Bread (John 18:28), and why the Pharisees scolded the disciples for not washing their hands after leaving the marketplace—who knows where that food had been! (Mark 7:1–5)

It is true that God wanted His people to be apart from the pagan nations and their idol worship, but only for a time, and only so far as it involved those sins. God promised Abraham that all the world would be blessed by his descendants (Genesis 12:2–3), and this can't happen without interaction. Peter begins to understand this now, and he will defend his actions before the church leaders in Jerusalem (Acts 11:1–18). But he will lose sight of it later when the church leaders have opportunity to witness Peter's actions (Galatians 2:11–14).