Acts 10:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 10:3, NIV: One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, 'Cornelius!'

Acts 10:3, ESV: About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.”

Acts 10:3, KJV: He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.

Acts 10:3, NASB: About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, 'Cornelius!'

Acts 10:3, NLT: One afternoon about three o'clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. 'Cornelius!' the angel said.

Acts 10:3, CSB: About three in the afternoon he distinctly saw in a vision an angel of God who came in and said to him, "Cornelius."

What does Acts 10:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A Roman centurion named Cornelius is stationed in the regional capital, Caesarea Maritima. His job is to keep peace and order among the mix of Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles in Samaria and Judea. This is not an easy task; the Jews resent Roman occupation and the occasional sacrilegious acts that the Roman leaders impose on their temple. But Cornelius not only generously gives charitable donations to the people, he worships the Jewish God. His heart has made him the perfect candidate to be the first head of a Gentile household to receive the Holy Spirit.

The ninth hour is 3 pm. This is one of the traditional times that the Jews pray (Acts 3:1). A vision is an experience someone has with God while they are awake. It seems today that God does not typically give visions to those who have ready access to His Word, meaning the Bible. People in cultures that do not have Bibles, like Muslims, seem more frequently to experience visions which lead them to Christ.

Cornelius prays continually, which roughly means throughout the day. He is perhaps like the persistent widow of Jesus' parable (Luke 18:1–8), constantly pleading his case at God's court for recognition. God honors his request. In the vision, Cornelius will hear the angel direct him to send for Peter. Peter will tell Cornelius and his household about the saving work of Jesus. They will immediately complete the intended transition from devout God-seekers to Jesus-followers, fulfilling God's promise to Abraham that the nations will be blessed through him (Genesis 12:3).