Acts 10:45 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 10:45, NIV: The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.

Acts 10:45, ESV: And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.

Acts 10:45, KJV: And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 10:45, NASB: All the Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had also been poured out on the Gentiles.

Acts 10:45, NLT: The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.

Acts 10:45, CSB: The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.

What does Acts 10:45 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter had just begun telling a roomful of God-fearing Gentiles about Jesus' role as the judge of the world when the Holy Spirit falls on them (Acts 10:30–44). Two days earlier, in the town of Joppa by modern-day Tel Aviv, he had received a vision that softened him to the idea that Gentiles could follow Jesus (Acts 10:9–16). Six Jewish Jesus-followers from Joppa came with him when messengers arrived and requested he come to Caesarea Maritima to speak with a Roman centurion (Acts 10:17–23; 11:12). Now the centurion and his friends and family are Jesus-followers.

Peter is witnessing the Holy Spirit indwell the Gentiles. When he returns to Jerusalem, he will testify to what happened with the six to validate (Acts 11:1–18). Later, he will again confirm that these people are God-fearing Gentiles but not full proselytes—the men are not circumcised (Acts 15:7–9).

The "circumcised" mentioned here are the six men from Joppa; the term is used to refer to Jews. Later, Paul will talk of the "circumcision party" in a derogatory way to mean Jewish Jesus-followers who want to force Gentiles to follow the Mosaic law. Their interference will cause Paul and Barnabas to travel to Jerusalem to get clarification on the requirements for Gentiles (Acts 15:1–5). Men from "the circumcision party" will also temporarily convince Peter and Barnabas to stop eating with Gentile Jesus-followers, much to Paul's frustration (Galatians 2:11–14). Paul will call these legalistic Jews "those who mutilate the flesh" (Philippians 3:2) and tell the Galatians that they should just go all the way and castrate themselves (Galatians 5:12).

That isn't to say the medical/social practice of circumcision is bad. It just isn't required to be a Christian. The wider argument over Christian circumcision hadn't started at this time. Luke—the author of this book—is just distinguishing the new Gentile Jesus-followers, who aren't circumcised, with the Jews, who are.