Acts 10:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 10:4, NIV: Cornelius stared at him in fear. 'What is it, Lord?' he asked. The angel answered, 'Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.

Acts 10:4, ESV: And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.

Acts 10:4, KJV: And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

Acts 10:4, NASB: And he looked at him intently and became terrified, and said, 'What is it, lord?' And he said to him, 'Your prayers and charitable gifts have ascended as a memorial offering before God.

Acts 10:4, NLT: Cornelius stared at him in terror. 'What is it, sir?' he asked the angel. And the angel replied, 'Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering!

Acts 10:4, CSB: Staring at him in awe, he said, "What is it, Lord? "The angel told him, "Your prayers and your acts of charity have ascended as a memorial offering before God.

What does Acts 10:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The person described here is an unlikely follower of the Jewish God: Cornelius, a Roman centurion. He is praying around 3 pm (Acts 10:1–3). His reaction of terror to the angel who has just appeared is common. Gideon, David, Zechariah, Mary, the shepherds, and the women who followed Jesus were all afraid when they saw an angel (Judges 6:22; 1 Chronicles 21:30; Luke 1:12–13, 29–30; 2:9–10; Matthew 28:2–5), and Daniel fell to the ground in fear (Daniel 8:15–17).

"Lord" is from the Greek root word kyrios. Although Jesus is often called Lord in the New Testament, Cornelius doesn't know much about Jesus yet. Kurios also refers to a human in authority, particularly someone who has sovereignty over another. Although the capitalized "Lord" is often reserved for Jesus, the text is clear that this is an angel and not Jesus (Acts 9:5).

"Memorial" is from the Greek root word mnēmosynon. We tend to think of memorials as honoring or recalling a dead person. In this case, it means something that represents or reminds one of another, living or dead. In the Jewish culture, to have a meal with someone was to show allegiance with them; Leviticus 2:16 suggests that the memorial portion of an offering is God's share of the meal. Neither Cornelius' acts nor his persistence saves him, but the angel paints a nice picture of what he is known for in heaven.