What does Acts 10:31 mean?
ESV: and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.
NIV: and said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.
NASB: and he *said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your charitable gifts have been remembered before God.
CSB: and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your acts of charity have been remembered in God's sight.
NLT: He told me, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your gifts to the poor have been noticed by God!
KJV: And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
NKJV: and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.
Verse Commentary:
Cornelius, a Roman centurion stationed in Caesarea Maritima, is explaining to Peter why he asked the apostle to visit him. He is recounting how a few days before, an angel appeared to him.

In Acts 10:4, the angel says, "Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God." The memorial offering is the part of a larger offering that is burned when the rest is given to the priests (Leviticus 2:2–3). Eating together is very important in the culture—Jewish and Gentile. To eat with someone is to publicly identify with them, which is why the Pharisees were shocked to see Jesus eating with tax collectors and "sinners" (Mark 2:13–17).

When the priests burned a "memorial offering," they in effect shared a meal with God. God counts Cornelius' prayers and alms, meaning charitable giving, as the memorial portion of an offering. Peter may remember that Jesus spoke of this. He said that if anyone gives a drink to the thirsty or houses the foreigner or visits the sick, it is if they did so to God. Peter must be surprised to realize God considered Cornelius' giving the equivalent to eating a meal together.

The day after Cornelius' visit with the angel, Peter had been on a rooftop, receiving his own vision. In it, God told Peter that the restrictions on food were lifted. Peter is beginning to understand that if any food is fit to eat, then any person must be fit to eat with—even a Gentile. Soon, he will see that God accepts any person into His fellowship through Jesus Christ (Acts 10:44).
Verse Context:
Acts 10:24–33 describes the onset of the last step of Jesus' command for the disciples: to share His story in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Upon an angel's prompting, a Roman centurion named Cornelius has sent for Peter. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit has been teaching Peter that Gentiles are no longer unclean (Acts 10:1–23). Peter will go to Cornelius and bear witness of Jesus. Everyone in earshot will believe Peter and receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:34–48). The way will be open for Paul's ministry in Syria, modern-day Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece, and Italy.
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 5/26/2024 10:17:39 AM
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