What does Acts 10:14 mean?
ESV: But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”
NIV: Surely not, Lord!' Peter replied. 'I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.'
NASB: But Peter said, 'By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.'
CSB: "No, Lord! " Peter said. "For I have never eaten anything impure and ritually unclean."
NLT: No, Lord,' Peter declared. 'I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean. '
KJV: But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
NKJV: But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
Verse Commentary:
God has presented Peter with a vision of a sheet filled with different types of animals. Some are clean and some are unclean. In the Old Testament, this distinction does not imply that some foods are evil, or sinful, only that they're restricted. Clean animals include sheep, goat, ox, deer, antelope, gazelle, and finfish. Unclean animals include rabbit, camel, pig, shellfish, carrion, carnivorous birds, and most winged insects (Deuteronomy 14:3–20). The sheet includes birds of prey and reptiles, which are unclean (Acts 11:6). As a Jew, Peter would never think to eat unclean food.

The concept of "clean" and "unclean" is a little confusing. If something is "unclean," it doesn't necessarily mean it's bad or sinful. In some cases, it means it's not fit for the worship of God—like a sacrificial animal with a blemish or a person with a particular type of wound. In others, it means it's not fit for God's people the Jews—like some foods. The differentiation is to remind the Jews to separate themselves from the pagan nations around them; if they can do so with the foods they eat, they'll remember to do so with the gods they worship. Ironically, Peter is staying with a man who is perennially unclean; as a tanner, Simon would regularly touch the carcasses of unclean animals (Acts 9:43).

God is teaching Peter about people. Gentiles are considered unclean because they do not follow the Mosaic law. To eat with them would be to tacitly approve their non-Jewish lifestyle. Jesus has already explained in Peter's hearing that the purpose for unclean food laws has been fulfilled. It is not what goes into a person's stomach that makes them defiled; it is their evil thoughts and deeds (Mark 7:14–23). The literal substance is not the issue, it's the heart of the person who eats (Matthew 15:10–11).

Eventually, as more Gentiles become Christ-followers, the Jewish church leaders will understand that the ceremonial aspects of Mosaic law have been fulfilled—they most certainly have no bearing on Gentiles. They will request that, in order to show grace to their fellow church members who are Jewish, the Gentile Jesus-followers refrain from eating anything dedicated to an idol and anything that was killed without properly draining the blood (Acts 15:20). This spiritual growth and mutual submission should characterize every church.
Verse Context:
Acts 10:9–23 occurs as Peter is in Joppa, after having healed a paralyzed man in nearby Lydda and raising Tabitha from the dead in Joppa (Acts 9:32–43). Peter doesn't know that a Roman centurion who worships the Jewish God is sending three men to bring Peter to Caesarea. The centurion wished to learn what God has planned for him, which he will find is to be saved in Jesus' name. First, God makes Peter understand that Jesus' offer of salvation is as available for Gentiles as it is for Jews.
Chapter Summary:
Peter has been a dominant voice in the spread of Jesus' message to Jews and proselytes. Now he brings the gospel to Gentiles. An angel tells Cornelius, a centurion, to ask Peter to come to him. Peter is praying when he receives a vision of food—including non-kosher food—and God's voice telling him to eat. When the centurion's messengers arrive, Peter realizes the dream meant that Gentiles are no longer unclean. He follows the messengers and tells Cornelius' household about salvation through Jesus. Before Peter can lay his hands on them or baptize them, the Holy Spirit falls on them.
Chapter Context:
Jesus told the disciples they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Oddly, the disciples didn't understand this meant the Holy Spirit would come upon Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles alike. After several years reaching Jews and proselytes in Jerusalem (Acts 1—7) and Samaritans in Samaria (Acts 8:4–25), God calls Peter to bring the message to Gentiles. Peter's witness that Gentiles can be saved (Acts 11) clears the way for Paul's ministry to Gentiles in modern-day Turkey, Greece, and Italy (Acts 13—28).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 5/27/2024 11:26:44 PM
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